Bizcatalyst 360° Featured Technology Writer Chuck Brooks interviews Jon Loew, CEO of AppGuard
It is no small task to keep up with the news of continued breaches and cyber incursions in both government and industry. Approximately 174,792,250 people have been affected by 1,996 HITECH breaches through July 17, according to an analysis by Health Information Privacy/Security Alert. It is estimated that 46,000 new phishing sites are created every day. The good news, there are solutions to help defend against and mitigate these growing cyber threats. One such company that has an interesting technology that has already been proven in the federal government, is AppGuard. I am pleased to share my interview with AppGuard’s CEO, Media, Technology and Security Executive, Jon Loew.
Thank you, Jon, for your time and thoughts on cybersecurity and your company’s mission. What is the history of AppGuard?
Jon: AppGuard LLC was formed in 2017, combining certain assets and personnel from Blue Ridge Networks along with investments from major Japanese corporations including ANA Airways, Information Services International-Dentsu, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa, DaI-ichi Life Insurance Holdings [TYO:8750], PCI Holdings, and Daiko Denshi Tsushi, as well as others. The Appguard software itself was created to offer an effective solution to the complex endpoint security challenges, ranging from enterprise computers to mobile and IoT devices. Originally sold into the government community, AppGuard is now well positioned to target large private enterprises. Our strong foundation has prepared us for the mission of providing “safety” for the connected world in addition to security. We believe cybersecurity is now a public safety issue, as well as a national security issue.
How are the company and its suite of products unique in addressing endpoint cyber-threats and challenges?
Jon: To the best of our knowledge, AppGuard is the first cyber security company fully funded by large enterprises who each intended to gain access to the technology as customers. Ultimately, endpoint cybersecurity is both a technology and a human problem. AppGuard LLC developers have always succeeded in designing solutions that account for the inherent vulnerability of the human element. Our solutions avoid dependencies on end-users making smart choices, IT/Sec-Ops personnel that are brilliant, or adversaries that stick to the same old tricks. We block everything – even zero-day malware. We require no updates and do not rely on whitelisting or blacklisting. Even if a user on an enterprise chose to inadvertently detonate malware, we prevent it from detonating.
Does AppGuard functionally guard against threats such as ransomware, phishing, and DDoS attacks?
Jon: AppGuard blocks all of the malicious code threats that otherwise keeps CISO’s awake at night. It defeats ransomware threats by defeating attacks at the earliest stages as well as by preventing alteration or deletion of files within designated folders by anything running on an endpoint. Appguard ensures that everything on a system behaves safely – in the way it’s supposed to. Its patented adaptive isolation technology prevents endpoint compromises from all forms of phishing attacks, regardless of what end-users click. AppGuard does not actively block DDoS attacks. But, in as much as DDoS consists of vast numbers of compromised endpoints unleashing massive volumes of data, AppGuard prevents endpoints from becoming part of DDoS attacks.
With the technology behind AppGuard having proved its reliability and value in the public sector, especially the Intelligence communities and DOD, do you see AppGuard as a being a good fit for industry?
Jon: All enterprises face risks from adversaries launching malicious code attacks. We have yet to find an industry that AppGuard doesn’t fit. Enterprises across the business spectrum are waking up to the reality that attackers are no longer targeting only the biggest names out there – they are attacking everyone. Some industries are even mandating the implementation of certain minimum standards for protecting customer, client, or patient data. AppGuard has been protecting some of the most important and secretive data for almost a decade, without a reported breach. Large enterprises need to treat their IP and trade secrets with the same level of care, and their shareholders expect them to do so.
Is AppGuard a global play?
Jon: AppGuard LLC and our parent company Blue Planet-works are providing cyber safety and security services around the globe and we have gained significant traction to date in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. The cyber threats to enterprises are not local, they are global. Search the Internet with the name of a country and the keywords “data breach”. Get ready to scroll down.
Will AppGuard have a capability to secure the Internet of Things and Smart Cities? Will it work with analytics?
Jon: Yes. AppGuard’s world-class engineers and scientists in the U.S. and Japan have been hard at work developing products with partners around the world to protect IOT, smart cities and other connectivity of the future. Smart Cities and IoT share many common challenges such as authentication, which differs from that of end-users connecting to a server. For example, many devices must securely interact with other on a machine-to-machine basis without divulging critical personal information. Also, each device needs some assurance that any device it interacts with is a real device doing what it says it is doing, where and when it says it is. These are just samples of the many different challenges that AppGuard is already solving. All AppGuard solutions feature robust database technology on the back-end, making them valuable contributors to big data analytics endeavor.
What is your vision for AppGuard in the next five years?
Jon: AppGuard will deliver ever more endpoint security solutions for ever more threats, increasingly tailored for ever more markets. On IoT, we will release our first products in 2018 in conjunction with some of the world’s most well-respected enterprises. Our marketing and channel strategies will continue to gain momentum and diversify. I mentioned earlier that we see our company as a safety company. I say this because what once was a small part of our lives is now in almost every part of it. If someone hacked your laptop 6 years ago it was an inconvenience for sure, but with the realization that airplanes, trains, nuclear power plants and the like are all connected – and by definition all vulnerable – we are now dealing with a safety issue. A massive one. We hope to lead the way in dealing with these challenges.
Thank you, Jon, for your valuable insights on cybersecurity and your company. Readers can discover more about the company at AppGuard