Many businesses are beginning to understand the need for machine identity management, but too many of them do not have a machine identity management program. In fact, a recent study found that while 96% of enterprises say protecting machine identities is essential, most enterprises are tracking less than half of the most common types of machine identities on enterprise networks.
Organizations across the world are waking up and realizing their machine identities are not managed, and they are increasingly turning to Venafi to provide this management. “We’re the cybersecurity market leader that recognized the importance of machine identities and invented the technology to protect them,” said Jeff Hudson, CEO, Venafi.
In this interview with The Chief’s Digest, Jeff Hudson, Venafi CEO, shares some amazing experiences and insights about what Venafi does and what its vision for the future is. Let’s take a look at Venafi from Jeff’s perspective.
Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
Venafi’s predecessor company was founded by Russell Thornton and Ben Hodson, both University of Washington graduates, in 1998 after recognizing the security importance of a recent consulting project. The cofounders incorporated the company as IMCentric in Washington State on October 26, 2000.
Early 2005 saw the company’s name change to Venafi: a word created by combining two Latin roots—Vena (vein or root) and Fides (trust or faith). Venafi secures the root of trust—the cryptographic keys and digital certificates that serve as machine identities and are crucial to secure all types of machine-to-machine communication. Jeff Hudson joined the company in October 2010, and the company moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 2013.
How successful was your first project roll on?
Initially, the Venafi Platform was framed as a key and certificate management solution. However, we quickly realized that the management issues around keys and certificates are a symptom of much larger security issues that impact the foundation of trust in enterprises.
Solving certificate-related outages is still a frequent business justification for purchasing the Venafi Platform, but our customers realize immediate value so they naturally increase their reliance on the Venafi platform. With technology modernization and increasing dependence on machines, the number of machines on networks is growing exponentially. Organizations need to create, manage and protect machine identities for secure authentication and communications to keep pace with today’s network evolution.
How do you stay relevant to customer interests and needs in this highly volatile market?
In the race to virtualize everything, businesses need faster application innovation and better security; both are mandatory. Most people see these requirements as opposing forces, but we don’t. We see a massive opportunity for innovation.
Venafi recently acquired Jetstack, a global leader in open-source machine identity management software for Kubernetes and cloud-native ecosystems. Jetstack and Venafi have been working closely together over the last two years to dramatically accelerate the speed of innovation for next-generation machine identity protection in Kubernetes, multicloud, service mesh and microservices ecosystems. We share a vision of how to deliver machine identity management to developers in modern, cloud-native infrastructures.
How has your brand continued to drive innovation in the market?
As the inventor and leading provider of machine identity management, Venafi delivers innovative solutions for the world’s most demanding, security-conscious Global 5000 organizations and government agencies, including the top five U.S. health insurers; the top five U.S. airlines; the top four credit card issuers; three of the top four accounting and consulting firms; four of the top five U.S. retailers; and the top four banks in each of the following countries: the U.S., the U.K., Australia and South Africa.
How do you and your company contribute to the competitive global IT platform at large?
Venafi is the leader in machine identity management for Kubernetes. Jetstack, a Venafi company, is the creator and maintainer of cert-manager, the leading, open-source machine identity management solution for Kubernetes that is downloaded millions of times per week. Venafi also offers numerous integrations for the HashiCorp ecosystem, natively supports Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, and operates the $12M Machine Identity Management Development Fund that offers direct sponsorship to developers who create new, innovative solutions for enterprise security and DevOps teams.
Do you have any new products ready to be launched?
We recently debuted Venafi Zero Touch PKI, a cloud-based, turnkey solution that delivers no-touch, fully automated modern PKI. With Venafi Zero Touch PKI, users can eliminate the effort, expense and risk of traditional PKI, while still providing the speed and control enterprises need to be successful.
Many internal and legacy PKI solutions require massive consulting investments to implement and maintain. Venafi’s new solution is a simple and fast way to replace these antiquated systems. Venafi Zero Touch PKI creates and integrates root and intermediate certificate authorities (CAs) and maps them to an organization’s needs. This solution was designed and delivered by the inventors of machine identity management, with the security and integrity of services in mind. The new solution is also seamlessly integrated with the Venafi Trust Protection Platform.
Knowing the Leader
Jeff Hudson, CEO
Jeff Hudson is the CEO of Venafi, the market leader and category creator of machine identity management. As a key executive in four successful high-technology startups that have gone public, Jeff has over 25 years of leadership and management experience in information technology and security management.
Jeff has spent a significant portion of his career developing and delivering leading-edge technology solutions for financial services and other Fortune-ranked organizations and government agencies.
“Venafi invented the technology that provides the visibility, intelligence and automation needed to manage machine identities in the world’s largest, most security-conscious companies.”