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Well, How Did I Get Here? Why I Joined Duo

CEOs: I’ve seen a few. During my five years as an industry analyst for 451 Research, I sat across the table from more security CEOs than I can count. I listened to their visions; I looked at their slides; I checked numbers; I noted what they didn’t say as well as what they did say. As soon as I met the team of Dug Song and Jon Oberheide, I was impressed by their way of simply talking to me as a human being, rather than as a necessary evil standing in between them and the next conference cocktail party.

When I started using Slack to join personal teams, I discovered that it supported two-factor authentication using Duo, so I tried it out, and I immediately liked it. I’d been using hard tokens for 20 years (and I’m still finding dead ones in the garage), but there was something so satisfying about just touching a green checkmark on my phone.

I’ve seen many user interfaces that were -- shall we say -- “engineering grade,” but this was something that felt good to use. How special is that in security?

Sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that are best. Not driving your enemies before you, and hearing the lamentations of their salespeople, but just clicking on a nice button, having it work, and being treated well. In this day and age, and in this industry, those are rarities.

Yes, I joined Duo because I believe in the greater vision of the company and its founders.

It’s gone well beyond multi-factor authentication and is focusing on bringing more of the security basics -- visibility, integrity testing, enforcement and protection -- into an easy-to-use package that fits into the new cloud and mobile environment, even for companies below the security poverty line.

I believe that if we’re going to improve security around the world, we have to put it within reach of everyone, not just those who can afford to buy one of everything. We have to empathize with customers and understand the constraints they’re working under.

It’s not just what we do; it’s how we do it, and choosing every day to make both life and technology simpler, easier, and more satisfying.

So I knew I had made the right decision when I announced it and got dozens of responses saying, “You’re going to Duo? I love them!” I have the opportunity to change from being a Necessary Evil to making a difference as part of a company that builds connections with its (over 7,000) customers while securing them. That, to me, is the best possible way to kick off 2017.

Wendy Nather

Principal Security Strategist

@wendynather

Wendy Nather is a former CISO in the public and private sectors, and past Research Director at the Retail ISAC (R-CISC) as well as at the analyst firm 451 Research. She enjoys extreme weather changes while shuttling between Austin and Ann Arbor.