Blogging Cage Interview Series (BCIS) has become one of the things which I am loving most at my blog. Not only I am enjoying interviewing industry experts but my readers are always pushing me forward to bring great persons here.
Entrepreneurship is such a subject which cannot be taught. But there are some individuals who have risen above the normal people and became one of the influential force to bring some change in the society.
Website security is such a big concern for online business these days that you have to keep tracking your website at every small instant if you are running a big online business. So this weekend we have Ritesh Sarvaiya who has recently launched new services with keeping security concern in his mind.
He is the person who started his journey in year 2002 when he was just a newspaper seller and now in year 2013 CEO of a great company. He overcame many obstacles in his life and proved the world that nothing is impossible if you have strong dedication and ready to face challenges.
Let's have talk with him.
1. Please tell us about your background and your entrepreneurial journey.
Somewhere in my head, a million things are running around right now. I am ecstatic to be here; I am more than happy to be interviewed by ‘BloggingCage’, but what’s really encircling my thoughts is how I am going to answer your questions.
Let me quote a very golden phrase.
“Your thoughts mature with age; your ideas reshape and it affects your persona.”
Wait, this is my phrase and I am saying it out loud because I have been asked to introduce myself a lot of times before.
So when you are asking me: the Ritesh Sarvaiya of year 2013, my answers will be different from how I used to respond in interviews years ago. Let’s start, shall we? As a matter of fact, if I recall correctly, I was not into computers and IT during the late 90s. It was the age of motor car industry, schools, education – mom wanted you to be a doctor, your dad was always interested in seeing you in the business; that’s how the scenario usually played out.
There I was, a young boy, belonging to a lower middle class family and settled in Mumbai. My father was a small business man. Unlike a typical rags-to-riches story, I will not say that I was very poor and hailed from a distorted financial setup. I had enough to eat, but there was always a hunger; a desire to move on and do something in life. But I did not know what I am going to do, and neither did my parents know at that time.
I was fresh out of grad school. Thanks to my parents’ tough love, I was made to believe that I had to be independent. To all the youngsters reading this interview, let me say that the Sunday Express newspaper was trending at a boom in 2002. What did I do to make money? I started selling the newly launched Sunday Express subscriptions; the classic model and example of door to door sales.
I made my life with the scorching summer sun blazing above my head, finding myself running around selling newspapers and glucose bottles from a Pharmaceutical Distribution Company. It was tough; it was rewarding as well – and that’s where the entrepreneur, who was soon to be known as CEO of Defencely, was born.
Not mentioning a stint at school where I used to teach computer courses to kids would be a careless mistake on my part. Add those teaching skills, that IT field exposure and my real life experience as a door to door sales person, I was hired as an Associate Executive at Reliance Infocomm.Followed by that position, I was working at Wipro BPO, which eventually led me to question myself: why am I doing this and for whom am I doing this?
Listen to me loud and clear: today if you have decided to be on top of the world, you have to quit working for someone else. I am guaranteeing that life will be like a rusty nail driving through your knee, but it will make you shine like a star. I knew what I wanted, and I certainly did not want to pull in a 9 – 5 Job as some executive to help someone else remain a CEO.
2. How you got inclined towards marketing/business?
Like I said earlier, it was the exposure as a s salesperson followed by my experience as an executive during the overall job tenure. Both of these elements became a stepping stone in my marketing and business related endeavors.
It is important for me to bring up my former IT services company:Rikhav Infotech here. I had a couple of friends with whom I decided to found an IT services company. It was 2006; our biggest hurdle was financials. A few people showed faith in our project and I singlehandedly expanded the 350Sq. Ft. office to an 8,000 Sq. Ft. colossal structure. We were among the biggest Indian IT service providers. It was as if someone gave us wings to fly all over the world.
Things took a fall from that point onwards. The company did not survive because of what I'd like to professionally translate as “difference of opinion” scenarios. Anyhow, here I am, back as the CEO of Defencely, India’s unique online cloud security company.
3. India has big potential in cloud security business. What do you think about India’s position today and in coming 5-6 years?
India always had a very bright future in the IT industry. Yeah I know some people will beg to differ here, but tell me if India had a bleak future or tough position in the online industry? We never did; we will never have that. Do you know why? It’s not that as a CEO I am being boastful of something related to the future of computer technology here.
No, there is nothing ostentatious here. I take pride, alongside many others of the industry, because we have all been blessed with talented individuals. Already it is 2013, a new age of the internet, and Generation Z is at the brink of taking over. This blog itself is proof of IT’s success in India, isn't it? Too many readers here, too many aspiring bloggers and startup business owners who will one day be successful in the world. We are innovative and we bring something fresh to the table.
In the next 5 – 6 years, I can say for sure that the future of India in any IT related field, will be damn good. At least, it won't be depreciating from its current state – that much I am sure of it.
4. Website security: A big threat to all online entrepreneurs. How important is it and what are the steps we should take to secure our websites?
Wow, I am really excited that you touched the subject of website and online security. Probably at the time of answering this question, I am smirking a little because I had been waiting for a while now to discuss the state of online security at this very moment.
You said entrepreneurs are prone to online attacks. No, every single web master, every single web company and yes, it is inclusive of entrepreneurs; they are all exposed to online threats. Take any cyber security survey. Take the example of Lieberman Software Company survey, which I took notice of and talked about at our company’s blog.It is said that millions of dollars have been lost to such threats just because website owners were not careful.
Kulwant, imagine a scenario, you are an inspiration for all upcoming and existing website owners and blog masters. What if due to some pre-existing exploit, aor such other category threat existed in ‘Blogging Cage’ structure, and someone used that “opportunity” to exploit the entire network? I am not giving any ideas here, but merely raising a cautionary point.
Entrepreneurs especially overlook the importance of online security because they think that once a website has been made, it is completely hacker proof. To a lot of entrepreneurs, the term: “hacking” signifies itself as Email or Credit Card hacking. Well, my dear friends, hacking has evolved, in itself it is a million dollar business.
To best overcome anyof your website’s security, I would suggest that you do the needful. The essentials involve, but are certainly, not limited to changing your webmail passwords, developing a habit of encouraging your readers to look after their account security and eventually hiring a professional online web security company, such as Defencely for ironclad solutions.
5. You recently launched Defencely. What is this and how different it is from other online security providing companies.
Defencely was launched as a seed of an idea. I will never be able to forget April 25, 2013 as the day when this first Indian flagship online security company was founded. There are others in this field too, but most of those platforms are headed in the U.S or the U.K.
What is Defencely, you ask? A little over 1.5years ago, and after recovering from Rikhav Infotech incident, I was envisioning online security as an upcoming opportunity in India. Fortunately, I got access to AtulShedage, who is now getting by with the title of youngest CTO (Chief Technology Officer) in India, and is part of the Defencely team.
Initially after meeting Atul, I proposed to the 22 yearkid, the idea of starting an online company that would purely thrive in providing niche cloud security solutions. In other words, we wanted to be the best at guaranteeing online business a 100% hacker proof environment, 100% of the time. Atul was onboard, and hence we embarked on a journey.
Day in; day out, like clock work, we used to work together. It was thousands of email collaborations, hundreds of hours crunched in and that’s how Defencely came to be. How this company is different from other companies is an interesting account of our services.
For instance, Defencely provides solutions to patch up vulnerabilitiesin your website. How rare is that? Today, there are tons of security websites that are housing such services, but it is sad to see that they are doing it with the help of automated scanners. Such services providers are only good for detecting vulnerabilities and that’s about it. If you will ask them for solutions, they will be oblivious to them.
Defencely is offering a complete scanning process that’s 90% based on manual scans.
We do rely on software assistance, but we keep it to a minimal. As soon as we have detected something, we notify the clients of it. From then on, it is a confidential process to help them strengthen their security without any hitches. Our competitive edge also lies in the fact that we are among very few who can point out Zero Day vulnerabilities. I will be talking about that in details, later on in this interview.
6. Too many blogs are getting hacked almost daily. How they can secure their blogs?
It is sad to see blogs getting hacked by and large these days. To tell you the truth, such incidents inspired initiative in me to establish Defencely. Now if you are asking how one can secure his or her blog, the answer can't be summed up in one sentence.
There are numerous steps to ensure your blogs’ security. When was the last time you moved your files from their default locations to new ones? When was the last time you molded your HT Access file, or when was it that you noticed your web mail ID generating spam mail? Such factors, among many others, play a vital role in shaping your security paradigm.
I guess the best way to get started it to hire an online security company. There are some companies, such as Defencely, that don’t charge a lot to their trial level users. In fact, if I talk about Defencely in particular, you can scan any number of pages without any limitations or whatsoever; this is an opportunity that many bloggers are rarely afforded.
7. What are the services which you are providing at your website to secure websites?
Let me start directly with a special service that is known as ‘0 Day Vulnerability’ detection. Among other things, ‘0 Day Vulnerability’ is a field that allows us to sniff any threats that are already existing in a company’s website.
Let’s say, during development phases, the developers accidentally created a script, or left behind trails of a sensitive file directory that no one, except for the attacker, is aware of. In this scenario, our job is to detect that particular vulnerability and point it out as soon as possible. Of course, it is the sole consent of the company owner whether he wants to have the issue fixed or not.
The rest of our services are inclusive of, but not limited to:
- Session Management Tests
- Clickjacking Tests
- Exploit Testing
- Certificate Testing
- Website Structure Analysis & Recommendations
- XSS Vulnerability Testing
I am sure that a lot of you will not be able to understand these technical terms. But I made sure of explaining these at the company’s website. In short, these services are crucial to determining a website’s performance against advanced category cyber attacks.
8. If I talk about promotion then what are the steps you are taking to promote your website, and what are the steps any new-born entrepreneur should take to promote his business.
Promotion stands at the heart of aggressive marketing. Anyone can do that these days, as there are tons of marketing companies on the internet. However, to be able to outshine your visitors’ expectations, you should have already prepared a number of services that are being advertised online.
People are not stupid – pardon the expression here. Visitors will notice your marketing campaigns, no matter if they are as simple as YouTube homemade videos where you talk about your company yourself. They will come to your website, and it is that time that you better have something prepared to show for the company’s hyped reputation.
If you are delivering your services to the dot; you will not need expensive marketing tools. People will automatically start following you through the viral factor. For Defencely, I hired the best in Social Media Campaigns, I knew the level of writers I wanted to establish a company, and lastly, I had AtulShedage, alongside many other brilliant individuals sitting at our side to meet your expectations.
An entrepreneur should never forget that he is the master of his own ship. This is the biggest tip that will help you market your business on the internet.
9. How the idea to start this company came in your mind and what were the difficulties you faced to convert it into reality?
The idea of starting Defencely came to be after seeing the state of online security. I was baffled at how less IT professionals were willing to invest in their company’s security. What surprised me even further was that no one was penetrating this side of the industry to help save businesses from hackers. It was as if companies were literally aching to get a hang of a messiah who could protect them from cyber attacks.
The biggest obstacle was to get experts who would help me reshape the industry through their unique ideas. The Co-Founder of Defencely:, who is also the main CTO, some other individuals and Business Development experts were fortunately found on time. They heeded the call and it was just a matter of putting in the right amount of investment.
Mind it, by investment, I do not mean to stick with monetary concerns as this would definitely discourage startup online business owners from making their dreams come true. By “investment” I want you to challenge yourself. How much time are you willing to spend, to create your website? How much hours of sleep and family reunions are you able to sacrifice?
This kind of investment could take years. Frankly, it took us almost a year to create Defencely. In the end, there is supposed to be no looking back once you have made a decision. It is constant hard word and the right level of hard work that will pay your dues. To convert my dream into reality, I will say this that I was not afraid to take the jump.
I was not afraid to email “that” guy; I was not afraid to call “that Mr. So and So” because I knew it was essential to help me shape my dreams.
10. What growth you are expecting from your firm in coming 5 years?
In the next 5 years, I am expecting Defencely to be on the top of the niche global cloud security business. It reminds me of how I started Rikhav Infotech, with just 4 – 6 dedicated people and how we expanded to 180 employees. It is a mind over matter thing.
In the future, I am envisioning a secure online world for at least our clients, and a robust company thrashing with new ideas and tightest security solutions. I will not forget these days, the past and how the existing team members are already helping me head this company towards our success.
11. Online businesses are in boom. How different they are from traditional business and how can anyone start any online firm?
Though it is very much true that online businesses are on the boom, but there is also a high competition factor. I see youngsters who start with high spirits but quit after a few months, or even days for that matter. For instance, take the example of Blogging.
A friend of friend sees him making money online, so he figures that okay I should start a Blogging Business. This guy starts with a website, places a few ads here and there, as his idea is not to engage users but to make money. In this case, a downfall is imminent.
My recommendations are two:
- If you have decided to create an online company, be it a mere blog, or a website, stick to it. Never ever give up, no matter how much time and effort it takes. Your failures will be teaching your valuable lessons that you are not supposed to repeat later on.
- Never prioritize money – it creates problems rather than solving them. Trust me because as a CEO I know what “money” really means. Your best interests should remain at keeping your clients, online visitors and buyers engaged.
This is what will help you get started in being famous. When you do achieve your goals, don’t let your feet go off the ground. If the latter happens, you will become a slave to the tyranny of time and rude behavior.
12. What we are going to see in future from Defencely?
In future, Defencely will have expanded for sure. We will have more than 50 security experts at the minimum. We will be having a robust detection system that is definitely going to be a plus one for our existing clients.
Above all, we will be covering a lot more vulnerabilities than what we are doing right now. As a matter of fact, I made sure of it that Defencely was already being highlighted at various companies Hall of Fame pages. Microsoft, Google, RedHat, Apple, Zynga, ZenDesk and many others hail us for the level of services that we are providing right now.
If this is the degree of our performance, I believe we will be doing even better in the coming time period. It wouldn’t be over confidence for me and Defencely team mates to suggest that other companies will start taking us as a benchmarking platform in future.
13. Message for blogging cage readers.
To all the ‘Blogging Cage’ readers, I see you as particles of star-dust. You are all unique in your own way, as you have been blessed with talent that is waiting to be tapped. Today as you are reading this interview, some of you will be a huge success in the online world, while others will be successful in real life world.
What matters most is that pitfall do come. There will be obstacles in your life that only you will be able to overcome. Don’t let haters get in your way. Don’t despise others for their success; this will cease your own creative spark. In fact, be inspired to think that, hey this person is doing something online, why can’t I do this?
And don’t forget, “Vision without execution is a hallucination.” So why are you still here? Start working on your vision now.