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50 Most Trustworthy Companies of the Year 2018

An Interview with Suresh Vasudevan, Sysdig, Inc. CEO: ‘Sysdig is the First Unified Approach to Security, Monitoring and Forensics for Cloud-Native Applications, Including Containers, Across the Entire Software Lifecycle’

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“Companies put their trust in us. We are responsible for the container security of more than 300 enterprise customers in the world’s largest financial institutions, media and cable companies, technology organizations and government agencies.”

From startups to established companies, containers help meet the demands of a modern digital business – supporting massively scalable, portable and fast to deploy apps.

Sysdig, Inc. is the cloud-native intelligence company. It has created the only unified platform to deliver security, monitoring and forensics in a microservices-friendly architecture.

Sysdig’s open source technologies have attracted a community of over a million developers, administrators and other IT professionals looking for deep visibility into systems and containers.

The company’s cloud-native intelligence platform secures and monitors millions of containers across hundreds of enterprises, including Fortune 500 companies and web-scale properties.

Sysdig was established in 2013 and is headquartered in San Francisco.

Suresh Vasudevan, Sysdig, Inc. CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Why was the company founded?

Sysdig’s founder, Loris Degioanni, was one of the co-creators of WireShark, a visibility tool used daily by millions to monitor and troubleshoot their networking infrastructure. In early 2012, he saw the lack of ability to derive adequate insights by focusing on network data as a source of truth as IT infrastructure and applications were moving to the cloud.

Dwelling on these shortcomings led to the insight that became the inspiration for Sysdig. Loris saw that every interaction with a host – application accesses, network activity, file reads and writes and so on – translates into a system call within the kernel. So, if one could find a way to enrich system calls with all the relevant context, and translate those into a stream of metrics that can be analyzed real-time and at scale, there would be a third source of truth – at least as powerful and complementary to logs and network traffic. This is the insight that the company Sysdig was built on.

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Q. How successful was your first project launch? Share the experience.

The launch was extremely successful. When the company was launched, the first offering was sysdig, an open source troubleshooting and forensics tool. The technology was the first of its kind and it filled a massive void, so it was received extremely well. Ahead of the launch, we previewed the technology with several influencers and media - sharing our technology is important to us and we still offer free trials today - so there was a ton of buzz around the launch. The number of first-day downloads far exceeded expectations. About a month after launch, we published Fishing for Hackers (sysdig.com/blog/fishing-for-hackers), which really showcased what sysdig could do. This generated even more excitement for the project and downloads. From there, the company continued to grow; it was sort of a snowball effect.

Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years?

Growing an entirely new market – like containers is a very different challenge compared to establishing yourself in an existing product space. Fewer companies had moved containers into production back in 2015 and 2016. So, not only were we trying to market our technology, but we were also educators on why companies should move to modern infrastructure in the first place (we still play this role today). Security and monitoring in the cloud is much different than it is with virtual machines. Not only were we convincing companies to make a move and to use our platform, we were the people they were looking to for guidance as they navigated this major architectural shift. We still play this role for our customers today.

Adoption of containers and microservices was initially slow. During those early days, we were often asked if containers and microservices were really the future. Now, fast forward to today and our prediction for the future is turning out to be right on. 451 Research predicts the cloud-enabling technology market to grow to $39.6B through 2020, and containers are predicted to be the fastest growing segment of that market at 40 percent. Gartner predicts that by 2020, more than 50 percent of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production, up from less than 20 percent today. It has worked out nicely for us. We started early in the market and we’ve had time to perfect the platform. Now as container adoption is taking off, we have a proven product unlike a lot of the younger companies.

Q. Trust is a difficult attribute to measure and a delicate dynamic to maintain. How do you maintain this with your clients?

Companies put their trust in us. We are responsible for the container security of more than 300 enterprise customers in the world’s largest financial institutions, media and cable companies, technology organizations and government agencies.

With how quickly technology changes in the cloud, it’s imperative we’re constantly talking to our customers and diving into their roadmap so that we are prepared for their next step. Every update we have engineered is based on feedback from our customers. For example, we were hearing from enterprise customers that they liked Prometheus, but it didn’t have the scalability, security and support they needed. From that, our strong integrations with Prometheus were born, same with the Grafana plugin and the same with vulnerability scanning, a feature we added to Sysdig Secure 2.0 after feedback from customers. Trust isn’t something purchased or licensed –it’s built through a relationship and proven results.

Q. Are there any factors that have played key roles in shaping your organization’s roadmap?

Our customers play the biggest role in shaping our roadmap. We spend time getting to know our customers and the ins and outs of their environments. We learn what they need.

We also collaborate internally. We look for insight and suggestions from across the company from leadership and product management to customer success and support, marketing and sales. We want everyone to provide insight because everyone touches the products, customers and the team from a different angle. Everyone has a unique and valuable insight.

We are also constantly doing research into the market, looking at what everyone is doing – open source, enterprises, web-scale companies, etc. We are very aware and obsessed with constantly taking the pulse of what is taking off with real-world usage.

Q. Where do you see your company in a couple of years from now?

We see ourselves continuing to help enterprises make the cloud-native transition. We know the areas that cause pain when moving to the cloud and we also know how to navigate around them, so we see ourselves continuing to be that resource as more companies move to modern infrastructure. Our customers today include many of the world’s largest financial institutions, media companies, cable companies, technology companies and government agencies. We plan to continue to be a trusted partner for these major enterprises while also expanding our Global 2000 partnerships, both in the US and internationally. As a provider of security and monitoring, we are a new type of product, and we plan to be a “must have” vendor for enterprises moving to modern infrastructure.

When it comes to our technology, our roadmap shows more products built a top our Sysdig Cloud-Native Intelligence Platform, enabling us to deliver even more features and integrations alongside our incredibly rich data set.

Leadership | Sysdig, Inc.

Suresh Vasudevan, CEO: Suresh Vasudevan serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Sysdig, Inc. since February 2018.

Loris Degioanni, CTO/Founder: Loris Degioanni is the Founder and serves as the Chief Technology Officer of Sysdig.

“We started early in the market and we’ve had time to perfect the platform. Now as container adoption is taking off, we have a proven product unlike a lot of the younger companies.”

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