In this podcast recorded at RSA Conference 2018, Ajay Arora, founder of Vera Security, and Peter Kowalczuk, President at Canon Solutions America, talk about their recent partnership, challenges related to data security, and the conference.
Here’s a transcript of the podcast for your convenience.
Ajay: Hello everyone, I’m Ajay Arora, founder of Vera Security. Very pleased to be joined by our new partner and friend Peter Kowalczuk of Canon Solutions America. I’ll allow Peter to introduce himself, we’re here at RSA.
Peter: Sure, thank you Ajay, appreciate it and looking forward to having this discussion with you. So, I’m the President of Canon Solutions America, and Canon Solutions America is the wholly owned subsidiary of Canon USA. We’re the direct channel for reselling the Canon devices into the marketplace B2B. We look forward to growing this partnership with you.
Ajay: Awesome, as we are very excited about the partnership and we’ll talk about that in a second. So, Peter, this is your very first RSA, and it must be kind of a whirlwind, so I’ve just always great to hear what your impressions are as a first timer. I would like to hear what’s interesting, what’s surprising, all those different things if you could talk a little bit about that.
Peter: Sure, the RSA show is fantastic, it is my first time here. I think it validates what we’re hearing from our customers and it’s exciting to understand the in-depth nature of security in this environment, and what our customers have been telling us, and why we searched Vera out to partner with us. There’s a lot going on in security, not only from a hardware perspective but intellectual rights and so on, and it really is a critical part for us to partner with and to continue to grow our portfolio of security software and services moving forward. I really like seeing how everything is so integrated here, and the various sizes of the vendors. This is not just the big guys, this is everybody that’s playing out in security, and we look forward to continue to build on our security portfolio.
Ajay: Great, so hey Peter this is up you know Canon is not necessarily a brand that people would traditionally associate with security. You guys are very much on the forefront of that. So, can you talk a little bit about, is this like a more of a recent phenomenon, and also how did this come to be, and then what are your primary security concerns that you guys have over at Canon Solutions America?
Peter: Sure. Primarily we’ve grown up as a document imaging company. And everything has revolved around print or copies and faxing and things like that which is very traditional. As we’ve gotten more involved from an IT perspective, we’ve gotten more involved from a document management software perspective. Our customers are looking to expand and are spending more money on with a digital document. And so, as we create this digital document or help them create this digital document, as our technology helps our customers grow into markets where they never have to be in the past, it gives us an opportunity to support them in a much greater sense from a security perspective. And so, we continue, we’ve hardened our hard drives, we’ve hardened our equipment, we play really well within the firewall. Now we create these digital documents and customers are asking us “OK so how do I secure those?” And so, from our portfolio we looked at that, and we did a lot of research out in the marketplace to find partners that could help support us in our endeavor to continue to provide the best value proposition for our customers. And that’s where we ended up researching your organization and then building that partnership with Vera, and we believe that it provides a critical product for our customers to expand with us.
Ajay: Great, that’s a great overview and so that’s also awesome of segue into how this partnership of ours evolved. As many may or may not know, at Vera we are a data security and privacy company that allows for people and individuals and organizations to secure and encrypt and control who can access all different kinds of digital data. Whether it’s files or emails or what not, be able to track what’s happening to that data, control who can access to it, change any access rights and rights of if someone can copy, print or screenshot all this data. And then eventually kill access to that data anywhere in the world, and I think the fundamental construct is now and whereas the world goes this digital transformation, is that there is still a lot of that data that is digital starts out is in a document format or in a physical format. And so, Canon, you know multifunctional devices MFDs, are a primary way for so many and I think in your case 78,000 customers within the US will handle petabytes of data that are originated in a document format.
As that information gets ingested into your MFDs whether it’s imaging information or classic document information, it will go into a file repository, it will go into something a digital format. And it was interesting talking to you and your organization is that as you said is that there is a lot of anxiety amongst your customers it seems around can once it gets into that digital format, and if while it’s on the servers in an organization, what happens if it leaves? Now, do you have control over that information and as it leaves the organization from the MFD on to the file servers and then into the wild so to speak? So, it seems that the relationship that we’ve gone into, is now a very natural you know partnership or evolution in which once data becomes digitally protected, we can automatically apply those protections to that data, and follow that data wherever it goes. And so, we started this partnership about just a few months ago, after Canon did a pretty rigorous investigation in the market, and we were lucky enough to have become the better of choice to partner with Canon.
So, how do you see Peter amongst your customer base this evolving out? Are there certain kinds of companies or industries that are more inclined for this kind of solution than others? How do you see this growing overall within the Canon Solutions America customer base?
Peter: We do verticalize quite a bit, our field sales organization across the country is focused on specific verticals. And those verticals, we see that there’s an opportunity because data, data breaches and customer data that they have we have to help them work with. We now sell a document management solution called Therefore, which is another Canon product. So, as we become more involved with that whole digital software from the HR perspective, we’re selling Therefore into HR we’re selling Therefore as part of an accounts payable automation project. So, all of that data has credit card information rather than personal information on it. And when that happens, when we’re focused on those types of niches, the security of that digital document is critical. And then the other thing that we’re getting involved with very much so is working with Box and Dropbox, because as our devices are being used to digitize and then collaborate, sending those documents out there, we’re hopeful that our customers are just going to automatically start securing those documents once they scan them. And from that perspective, it becomes part of their automated process, and really secures everything that they’re working with moving forward. So again, the world is expanding for us into digitalization and we’re very focused on helping our customers become better.
Ajay: I would imagine as well, that’s a great overview. I mentioned as well that this gives you a leg up in the world of you know now GDPR, coming out in the next month or so. May 25th, it’s just potentially opening up new markets for you, should provide a pretty significant competitive advantage for you. So, do you think this helps open up new markets for you?
Peter: Yeah, so I mean we’re already getting involved in contract negotiations. Or the customers that have to deal with the European market are asking us “How do we deal with this?”, or requiring us to deal with it in their contracts. And one of the biggest areas that they’re asking us to is how do we audit these documents? How do we audit who uses them, who sees them? What if there’s a leak? And I believe from that perspective bureau provides us that path also to help them. And once they start asking us about it, it’s a natural path for us to bring in well did you know? Did you know about this software? Did you know that there is a better way to secure your documents? That there is a good way to create an audit trail that’s all electronic and you can manage it? And so, I think that’s just going to create an opportunity for us. You know it’s ready, the talk tracks are already there they’re natural. Where before I think everything would have to kind of like pulling teeth getting the customer to think about it. Now it’s in their face. Security, GDPR is in their face and they have to do something.
Ajay: Yeah, I think that’s a great point, awesome point to resonate and probably end on as well. So, Peter thank you so much for joining me here this conversation. We look forward to a very strong and growing partnership for years to come. And again, this is Ajay Arora of Vera security, I’m joined by Peter Kowalczuk of Canon Solutions America. Thank you so much.
Peter: Thank you.