Liron Barak, CEO and Co-Founder of BitDam, has over 10 years of experience dealing with the most sophisticated cyber threats and exploitation techniques. Prior to founding BitDam, Liron served in unit 8200 of the Israeli Intelligence Corps where she managed teams of highly skilled individuals and was responsible for the development of cyber technologies which were used by the entire intelligence community. Liron graduated her bachelor degree in computer science during high school and did here Masters, while serving the army, in Computer Science with specialization in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning
Q: What inspired you to found BitDam and what were the main challenges you faced?
I founded BitDam in 2016 following a long service as an officer in the elite cyber unit of the Israeli Defense Force where I dealt with offensive cyber and with the most sophisticated cyber threats and exploitation techniques.
Dealing with cyber threat development and research, while working closely with most of the security solutions available in the market, I realized that there is still a huge gap in cybersecurity, and particularly in email security. I was keen to leverage my knowledge of how attackers plan their attacks in order to protect organizations and individuals. Founding BitDam, my partner and I agreed that we will apply a totally different approach than any security solution that was known to date.
Q: Did you start the venture alone?
I actually started BitDam together with my partner who served with me for 7 years in the elite cyber unit of the Israeli Defense Force.
Q: In your opinion, what are some key opportunities in the cybersecurity space going forward?
By its nature, the cybersecurity space keeps generating opportunities for innovation al the time.
As long as the cat and mouse game of attackers and cybersecurity vendors continues, there will be more and more opportunities in this field. Attackers are always one step ahead developing new techniques to evade security solutions, so this is an endless arms race.
I believe that the fact that the increase in usage of business collaboration tools other than email poses a great opportunity for cybersecurity vendors. Tools such as cloud drives (OneDrive,SharePoint, Google Drive, Dropbox and box) and instant messaging or video conferencing (Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom) are being heavily adopted but their security is still lacking. It is just a matter of time until bad actors will take advantage of this gap and develop mass attack techniques to penetrate organizations via these tools. As you can imagine, the fact that many employees work remotely nowadays, makes this challenge even more significant.
Q: What's your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
BitDam is a native cloud solution that is hosted on Microsoft Azure. We use a SaaS model while the annual cost is based on the number of users.
As a fast growing startup company, we expand to new markets and verticals in parallel to expanding our product to secure more collaboration platforms. Just recently we have launched two more integrations – with Microsoft Teams and Zoom – which helped grow our business. In addition, we are constantly searching for new promising channels, the most recent channel we have added was the MSP channel.
Q: Do you think luck played a role in the success of BitDam?
For sure! Luck is crucial when it comes to business and entrepreneurship in particular. Luck is far from being all that is needed, but it is definitely important. For example, we get lucky every one and then when there os a new ransomware attack or a breach that hit the news. These usually happen as a result of a malicious email, which we could have prevented. It helps potential customers to understand the value of our solution and helps us get more prospects in our pipeline.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
I hope to succeed in changing the way content-borne security is done. I was disappointed to see the incredible gap in current email security products, even when coming from the leading vendors in the world, such as Microsoft and Proofpoint. My goal is to change the way businesses secure email as well as other content collaboration platforms to allow end-users to click links or open files without worrying that they might be malicious.
Q: If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
I would hire key positions earlier such as VP R&D, director of marketing and so on. In that way, I believe we would be able to run even faster due to their experience as well as their very focused goal and KPIs.
Q: Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
It might sound like a cliche but the women in my life are definitely my role models - my mom, my sister, my mother in law and my sisters in law. They all make me proud and inspire me and always ready to work hard to make their dreams come true.
Q: What are your favorite books?
I use books in order to clean my head, so my favorite books are romantic dramas and not something technical or related to work.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
Listen to your instincts, always! You might be different in this industry, and think about things a bit differently as well, this might be a great advantage that could make you shine.