Meet the Team: solution and industry forecast with the Head of Product


Meet the Team Andrius blog cover

Product is the epicenter of any company, and NordLayer is no exception. Its performance, development, and promise to customers are the staples that help us grow as a service provider. The driving force behind it belongs to the product team led by the Head of Product Andrius Buinovskis

Although his time is always in high demand, he spared us a few moments to answer some questions about the product roadmap and the future of network security. Andrius shares his perspective on evolving threats such as phishing and the rise of ransomware syndicates exploiting human vulnerabilities through social engineering. 

Let’s dive into an insightful interview with Andrius to gain perspectives on projected challenges and how NordLayer is advancing solutions to stay ahead of rapidly evolving cyber threats.

Andrius, as an industry expert, what projections do you see for the future of network security? Will it bring something new, or will the industry continue in the previous years’ direction?

From what we can observe in the market, the future of network security is on a trajectory of rapid advancement, much in line with recent years but accelerated significantly by artificial intelligence (AI). This acceleration will not necessarily introduce wholly new directions but will enhance the speed and sophistication of developments within existing trends. Here are a few projections:

Projections of persistent threats

  1. Phishing attacks (Voice, SMS, email). Phishing remains the cornerstone of cyber threats, continually evolving and targeting countless victims every second. Its persistence and evolution make it a primary concern. As technologies advance, so do the methods of phishing attacks, becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect.

  2. Ransomware and malware. The ease with which bad actors can now access ransomware and malware "as a service" underscores the growing threat landscape. These tools have democratized cyber attacks, making it easier for attackers to launch sophisticated attacks without needing extensive technical know-how.

  3. Misconfigurations and low awareness. In third place, the human element—misconfigurations and a general lack of awareness about potential threats—remains a significant vulnerability. Social engineering exploits these weaknesses, tricking individuals into compromising security through seemingly harmless interactions.

How do these projections relate to cyber threats? What security strategies/practices could best help prevent them?

The tendencies observed in the cyber threat landscape confirm that cyber threats are evolving and becoming more sophisticated and widespread. 

The consistency of fundamental challenges like phishing, ransomware, malware, and human error vulnerabilities underscores the dynamic nature of cyber threats. Integrating AI into security strategies signifies a significant shift, suggesting that while the core types of threats may remain stable, their complexity and the methods to combat them must rapidly evolve.

To effectively counter these threats, a two-way approach is necessary:

  • Reducing misconfigurations and enhancing awareness. The first line of defense is to address the human element.  This involves dedicating time and resources to minimize misconfigurations through rigorous system checks and enhancing the cybersecurity awareness of all individuals within an organization.  Educating users on the potential threats and how to avoid them can significantly reduce the risk of successful attacks.

  • Adding additional layers of security. Implementing solutions like NordLayer adds an essential layer of security.  Products that provide secure network access, data encryption, and threat monitoring can greatly enhance an organization's defense mechanisms against evolving cyber threats.

While cyber threats continue to grow in sophistication, focusing on foundational security practices—eliminating misconfigurations, raising awareness, and layering security solutions—remains key to preventing them. This approach addresses the current threat landscape and prepares organizations to adapt to future developments in cybersecurity.

How do NordLayer's plans align with industry trends?

NordLayer's strategy aligns directly with industry trends while also carving out a unique niche in the cybersecurity landscape. 

It's critical for us to stay up-to-date on trends and understand where the industry is heading. This knowledge informs our product development, ensuring we're keeping pace and anticipating future needs.

However, to truly stand out and add value for our clients, we recognize the importance of offering something more—something different

This is where innovations like the NordLynx protocol come into play. NordLynx is a prime example of how we differentiate our offerings. As potentially the fastest protocol available, it underscores our commitment to meet industry standards and set the new ones, providing our clients with superior speed, security, and reliability.

Our plans are twofold: align with industry trends to ensure relevance and forward-thinking, and innovate beyond the expected to deliver unique value propositions like NordLynx. This approach allows us to address current market needs while also setting new benchmarks in cybersecurity excellence.

Tell us about your typical workday here at NordLayer.

My workday combines leadership, exploration, and strategic planning to drive NordLayer forward. Thus, the days are primarily centered around meetings, which means that each morning I'm going over my calendar to prepare. This preparation involves clearly understanding the day's topics and what I aim to achieve in each meeting.

My main focus areas are:

  • Supporting my team's growth and helping them achieve our goals. This involves guidance, problem-solving, and ensuring everyone has the necessary resources.

  • Engaging in market discovery activities to understand our industry better, identify opportunities, and anticipate challenges.

  • Developing strategies to bring our plans to realization. This means turning insights and objectives into actionable steps and ensuring we move in the right direction.

Andrius, you and your team seem well-positioned to help organizations layer up advanced security solutions. What work experience have you brought? Compared to previous roles, how is NordLayer unique to work at?

I've navigated various industries and roles throughout my career, from banking and telecommunications to health insurance, e-commerce, and cybersecurity. I've worn many hats, starting as a programmer and eventually moving up to high-level managerial positions, but the common thread has always been my focus on IT.

Its comprehensive approach to cybersecurity sets NordLayer apart from my previous experiences. It feels like a culmination of my diverse background, where every aspect of my past work converges. 

Here at NordLayer, our services aren't just another product on the market. They're essential tools that any company, regardless of size, will need to safeguard their data and protect their employees. 

NordLayer stands out because it intersects necessity and simplicity, making it a unique and compelling workplace. It's not just about responding to the market's current demands but anticipating future cybersecurity needs, making our work both challenging and incredibly rewarding.

Provide an overview of your product team and its dynamics: structure, roles, and responsibilities.

If we look at the market, it’s typical that the product team stands between business and engineering. However, at NordLayer, the product team is the one that shows the direction and encourages all others to follow.

This team, consisting of product managers and product owners who are well aware of UX/UI trends, market research, and engineering perks, is critical in defining and advocating for our vision. 

The essence of our team dynamics revolves around a strong belief in our products and the ability to make them appealing and useful to our clients and even our team so they feel confident about the product. It's about creating technically proficient products that resonate well with our users and employees, ensuring that our offerings are attractive and beneficial.

You and your team are responsible for the product and its further development. How do you define which direction to choose?

Choosing the right direction for product development involves a blend of analytical and strategic considerations. Here's how we approach it:

  1. Historical demand analysis. We start by looking back at what our existing clients have requested. Understanding the needs and feedback of those who already use our services gives us a direct line to what's working and what could be improved or expanded.

  2. Market projections. We then shift our gaze forward, analyzing market trends and projections. This helps us anticipate where the industry is headed and what needs might arise in the future, ensuring our product remains relevant.

  3. Competitor portfolio analysis. Knowing what's out there is crucial. We meticulously examine our competitors' offerings to identify gaps in the market we can fill and to understand how our product can offer unique value.

  4. Current technical and capacity capabilities. It's essential to match our aspirations with our abilities. We assess our current technical resources and capacity to ensure that our chosen direction is feasible and sustainable with our available resources.

  5. Internal insights and expertise. Finally, we tap into our team's wealth of knowledge and experience. Leveraging our internal insights and expertise ensures that our decisions are not just data-driven but also infused with the practical wisdom of our seasoned team members.

By integrating these factors, we aim to make informed, strategic decisions that steer our product development in a direction that meets current demands, anticipates future needs, and capitalizes on our unique strengths.

You most recently released Cloud Firewall and Device Posture Monitoring features, a massive improvement in network security offering. So, what’s next? How does NordLayer’s roadmap look for 2024?

For 2024, NordLayer is set on a path of continuous improvement and innovation. Our recent launches, Cloud Firewall and Device Posture Monitoring, significantly enhanced network security. But we're not stopping there. Our focus for the upcoming year includes two main areas:

NordLayer near-future focus
  1. Enhancing existing services. We're committed to refining and enhancing our current offerings. This means looking into how we can make our existing services more robust, user-friendly, and effective in addressing the evolving needs of our clients.

  2. Advancing network visibility tools. Recognizing the critical importance of visibility within network environments, we're doubling down on developing tools that offer deeper insights into network activities. Visibility is key to making informed decisions, securing networks, and mitigating both internal and external threats efficiently.

In addition to these focal points, we're also eyeing expansions into the upmarket with several strategic implementations:

  • Public API for service control. We plan to introduce a public API that allows for the automated control of our services. This move aims to cater to more sophisticated needs, enabling seamless integration and automation for our clients.

  • Other integrations. Recognizing the diverse ecosystem in which our clients operate, we're working on developing additional integrations. These efforts are intended to ensure NordLayer fits smoothly into our clients' existing workflows and systems, enhancing security without compromising efficiency.

In essence, NordLayer's roadmap for 2024 is about deepening the value we provide to our clients through improving existing services and strategic advancements. Our goal is to remain at the forefront of network security, offering solutions that are not just cutting-edge but also tailored to the complex needs of modern organizations.

Thank you.

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