We, as ethical hackers, create or see something which goes beyond people's imagination
In conversation with Saket Modi - CEO, Lucideus
As I looked for the tiny, hidden entrance, of an office in SDA market, New Delhi, I wondered what was it that drove a hacker to hack? What could they possibly be so passionate about?
Saket Modi, CEO Lucideus, established his start-up three years ago, and for him, the sky is the limit. With clients across the globe, Lucideus aspires to become a Fortune 500 company within the next five years. Saket started off by training young techies all over India, while they were still in college. This made him discover the potential of his work in India and abroad and he was quick to realize the importance of both competence and knowledge in cyber security. This became his USP going forward.
Who is a hacker?
I asked Saket, how he would define a hacker? His response "Someone who can do something which is not yet visible to others. Sherlock Holmes, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, all of them were hackers, geeks, nerds or whatever you may call them. You create or see something which goes beyond people's imagination. We, as ethical hackers, are being asked to tear our clients' IT Setups down and search for flaws in their system. And then of course we provide end-to-end solutions to fix the flaws and maintain the system accordingly. We eat, drink, sleep, walk, cyber security 24 by 7". Lucideus faces competition from the big four and a few start-up's. Their advantage is that they focus solely on cyber security compared to others for whom it is just one of the many services they provide. Having specialized in cyber security has worked to their advantage.
Changing trends and cyber security
Tearing web and mobile applications down, finding flaws, and helping a client fix loop-holes is all about change. The challenge lies not merely in understanding flaws from a technical perspective, but to see them through the eyes of the customer. That enables one to communicate and implement solutions correctly, and allows to set the priorities straight. New solutions inevitably bring about change and the responsibility of implementation lies with Lucideus in a number of cases. Effective implementation becomes critical, keeping in mind the changing trends in cyber security in India and abroad.
Cyber security is increasingly becoming a boardroom concern. When a company's only asset is online customer data (think E-commerce companies with a typical 5 year break-even period), and when that data is susceptible to being hacked into, then cyber security gains immense importance. Cyber security is rightly on the agenda of cyber businesses and is increasingly taking a larger chunk of their budgets. They want to be sure that they have taken all possible measures to ensure that their businesses are secure.
Building an organization
Saket's expansion plans are jaw-dropping! They plan to move from their current 35-40 people team to almost 90 in the next 12 months. Till date they have had 0% attrition and a 700% year on year growth on an average continuously for the last 4 years. For every job opening, they receive about 250 resumes. As per Saket, the strategy within Lucideus is that each professional needs to be aware of how they will impact the organization. Every individual needs to be willing to learn and grow. They must be able to feel and see the impact they create. In his own words "You have to immerse yourself in what you do. Be in the present at any given moment, so that what you do becomes another dimension of your very own self".
Recruiting talented hackers
As a professional, Saket questions his contribution. How should he measure it? A 700% yearly growth is gratifying, visible contribution he concludes. He goes on to explain that while recruiting talent he is not stuck up about educational qualifications. What he looks for is a burning desire to learn and the passion to make the invisible, visible. For him, currently his focus lies in expanding and building the 2nd, 3rd and 4th line of leadership. He believes that as you go down the organizational ladder, the people ought to be sharper with greater agility. He continually builds his knowledge bank from various management resources and implements new ideas daily. If he stumbles upon any good peoples practices, for e.g. a multinational providing salary on a co-workers' birthday, he along with his HR team go ahead and implement the same immediately. To sum it up, it is about being open to trying new things continually, to make the great dreams of a start-up come true.
Pondering over our conversation and the similarities in our work, I concluded that hacking and change can be looked at as the two sides of the same coin. In both fields the attempt is to make that which is currently invisible, visible. And in both fields it can only be achieved once you dive deep into the unknown.