MarTech Interview with Purandar Das, Co-Founder and President at Sotero

Data is what drives marketing and sales today and as sophisticated data practices come into play, it is becoming more crucial for marketers and business leaders to focus on improving their data security and data privacy policies and standards; Purandar Das, Co-Founder and President at Sotero shares a few tips:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Purandar…We’d love to hear more about your journey through the years and what inspired Sotero?

The journey has been incredible. I have learned so much, both from the opportunities and the organizations that I have worked for as well as the many, many people that I have been associated with. I like to say that everyone that I have worked with has taught me something.

I grew up in India and moved to the US for school. Adjusting to a new country and a new system was challenging at the beginning. But it taught me to be independent. I was fortunate to get started working for a company that was looking to change its technology stack and migrate away from its legacy tools. I’ve been equally fortunate to work for a manager that believed in me and the team. We had a blast, we worked long hours, overcoming challenges, but more importantly, solving problems that seemed insurmountable. I was also fortunate to be a part of two seminal moments in the technology industry.

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The internet boom as well the startup ecosystem explosion. Watching that made me want to start my own company as opposed to being a part of a larger organization. I was lucky to meet my Co-Founder Shanthi Boppana who shared the same vision and passion that I did. So, in 2017, we finally took the leap and started our own company. The fact that we chose to focus on data protection, a problem that really hasn’t been addressed well in a time when data rules, makes our journey even more satisfying and timely.

In what ways do you feel today’s business heads across functions need to be focusing on better company data protection practices?

Data is what drives most organizations. Whether it is data that relates to customers, subscribers, product, research or finance, organizations are completely dependent on data. It has been proven over and over again that highly successful organizations are those that leverage information within the data they collect or generate. Most organizations wouldn’t hesitate to acknowledge that protecting their data is critical. Historically, organizations have focused on protecting data that relates to their operations and communications. Protecting consumer or customer data has been lacking. Whether it is by design, budgetary constraints, or even a lack of real penalties, protecting data has been a miss, as witnessed by the enormous breaches and data losses. Business leaders must prioritize data protection practices for two simple reasons, protecting the business and building trust amongst their customers. Enabling the organization to prioritize data protection through awareness and support via budgets, resourcing and prioritization is critical.

What are some of the top data security concerns surrounding online B2B businesses today?

The biggest concern is how to protect both operational and intellectual property from being compromised. In a world where connectivity is the enabler for business, it is no longer sufficient to focus on one or two operational platforms to protect data. Data protection strategies must be holistic and enable the control and governance of data everywhere and all the time. Data protection needs to extend beyond an organization’s traditional borders whether data is located in the cloud, with a third party service provider or with a partner. Organizations need to be in control of their data no matter where it is. A single breach or incident is sufficient to cause substantial, if not irreparable harm to a business(Sotero).

We’d love to hear about the future of data security for online businesses and other regulated sectors – what platforms and technologies will be more in demand to drive the needed protective measures as data threats evolve?

Security is one of the major areas of thought and concern for any business in any sector. As much as security is framed in the context of a defensive capability, as it should be, it is an equally big concern when it comes to business innovation and evolution. A vast majority of the services and enabling technologies have already moved online (to the cloud). Adopting these capabilities and integrating them into an existing technology ecosystem is critical for businesses to stay competitive and innovate. There is not a single sector that has not been impacted by the emergence of a pure cloud play solution via an existing service or product. This evolution is also stressing legacy systems that service many businesses today. As much as the adoption of technology is critical, so is the security related to that adoption and migration. Traditional premise-based security frameworks fall short when systems move to the cloud. Also, security products that were designed many years ago don’t stand a chance against the sophistication and technology adoption by bad actors. A holistic capability that enables organizations to protect data everywhere, all the time is critical. This security framework will also be one that enables organizations to maintain control and visibility to their data regardless of where it is at any point in time.

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A few data protection best practices that you just don’t see brands doing enough of?

Simple things really…the most basic one is assuming that your data is secure when it is out of your control in a third-party environment. That could be the cloud, a partner, a vendor, or a service provider. Assuming that a third-party will keep your data secure while you as the data owner are still responsible for any adverse events is a problem. Focus on securing one or two siloed platforms. Most organizations don’t realize that the same data that is available in any number of instances within the organization is not protected. Another area is assuming that network or perimeter security is sufficient. Breach after breach has demonstrated that perimeter security alone is insufficient. Lack of granular control over data access is another. Not having the governance or control frameworks makes it impossible to identify and stop data leaks.

Some last thoughts and takeaways before we wrap up?

Protecting data and information is key to the long-term health and growth of a business. Traditional reliance on legacy approaches, technology and cyber insurance are no longer sufficient. Aggressive, holistic planning coupled with executive level support for investments in security and privacy are critical for any organization to survive and grow. Infusing new thought leadership and revolutionary security technologies will be the key as to why some organizations will thrive and others will fail.

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Sotero

Sotero offers the first field-level, universal data protection platform, which scalably encrypts data at rest, in motion and in use, across on-premises and cloud data stores. Enterprise, SaaS and data platform providers choose Sotero to protect their operational databases, secure cloud data access, and safe data analysis and sharing with partners and across international borders. The company is backed by Gutbrain Ventures, Boston Seed Capital and PBJ Capital.

Purandar Das, President, Co-Founder as well as the Chief Security Evangelist of Sotero (www.soterosoft.com) has focused on using technology to solve business problems. Throughout his career, Purandar has been working on utilizing technology to solve complex business challenges. He adopts a pragmatic approach that enables business to leverage technology to achieve business goals and power growth.

Purandar started Sotero with the conviction that today’s data protection was deficient and that a better approach was needed to protect data. He is a firm believer that security, where the core focus is not the data, is not a viable option. Purandar is a graduate of Texas A&M University (MS – Mechanical Engineering) and Bangalore University (BS – Mechanical Engineering) and is based out of Massachusetts.

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