In our new open-source section, we will be talking with CTOs and VPs of R&D, who will tell us a little bit about themselves and the path they took to get to their position, share professional tips, and answer both professional and silly questions. And this week, our guest is Galit Lubetzky Sharon, CTO of the Israeli startup Wing Security, who discusses the path she has taken, shares tips for young entrepreneurs, and talks about what she does in her free time. So, let’s get started.
Hi Galit. First off, we’d love to hear about your life and the career path you’ve taken up until Wing Security.
“I arrived on the scene at Wing after a 20-year military career in the IDF, from which I retired with the rank of colonel. I enlisted in Unit 8200 back when it was still a SIGINT-based intelligence-gathering unit. My team was among the first to generate breakthroughs in the realm that is currently known as cybersecurity. Back then, we thought we were designing new capabilities using initiatives and taking advantage of the inherent potential of the internet. I was lucky to be in that unit right when we were developing new technologies, initiating operations, and formulating operational concepts that enabled the collection of targeted information.
For 20 years, I’d taken part in the creation of technological breakthroughs and monumental cybersecurity operations that truly exceeded any of our imaginations. Beyond the fact that it was such an incredible privilege to be a part of these efforts, I learned that the sky's the limit, and that there’s no limit to what you can achieve and build if you bring together the right people and define the correct problem. I learned how to listen and comprehend what was needed, and to verify that the solution we were developing fulfilled all our requirements. My experiences in establishing and managing numerous and diverse cyber ventures during my time in the IDF paved the way for me to found my own company upon retiring from the military.”
Tell us a little bit about the product you're developing at Wing Security, and the technology behind it.
“SaaS applications took over our work environments a long time ago, and rightfully so. They help streamline and facilitate work for a wide number of positions in organizations, from human resources to marketing, as well as development and administration. Everyone – and I mean everyone – uses SaaS. It’s a growing network of applications that serve as access points to an organization’s data, and not surprisingly, hackers have noticed this, too. Wing Security is the only company developing a platform that guarantees that these applications will be used safely in a way that does not endanger the organization but also doesn’t prevent it from using SaaS applications and enjoying all the benefits they offer.
We provide a comprehensive solution, beginning with the discovery phase of all the SaaS applications that an organization and its employees use, followed by the identification and analysis of security weaknesses, and concluding with their automatic remediation. Our system locates and fixes all the main security problems that are connected to SaaS, including dangerous connections between applications (app2app), external file sharing, detection of new applications, unique permissions that were given by users and exposing inconsistencies in user actions. The system provides a clear display of which applications are compatible and which applications have a high or low-security rating and allows users to customize their security settings.
Security managers can choose to involve end users throughout the entire process and enable them to be part of the solution. At the same time, the security managers retain full control over what to focus on and at which point to take action, including an option to employ full automation. This is why we get up in the morning – to identify the main problems that endanger our customers’ most sensitive assets, and to close these gaps. As you can see, our goal is quite ambitious, but we believe that a holistic solution, like the one we’ve developed, will be the best solution to the many challenges we’ve identified for secure working in a SaaS environment.”
Tell me about Wing Security’s development culture and work method.
“When Noam and I founded the company and imagined how it would look, it was extremely important to us that it be fun! We wanted to create the company of our dreams, in the sense that it would be technologically challenging and interesting, and no less important, that our office be a fun place to come to every morning, to drink coffee with friends. We wanted to build an amazing, cohesive team that would work together to achieve every goal and carry out every task in the best way possible. Striving for excellence, taking responsibility, maintaining honesty, exhibiting mutual respect, always keeping both feet on the ground, and truly loving what we are doing — these are the values that are most important to us.
I’m thrilled and proud that Wing has turned out the way it has. We are a group of super talented and professional people, and, above all, everyone is wonderful. Beyond the many lines of code that form the basis of our innovative and practical security solution, we are creating true friendships. It’s wonderful and exciting. Here at Wing, we are extremely customer oriented, as is reflected in our organizational structure. We are built in such a way so that we can close short circuits and provide good solutions for our clients in a timely manner. We work in relatively short development cycles — we find that three-week cycles are the most efficient and convenient for us and afford us the proper balance between the planning of tasks and overhead in the analysis of the previous cycle and planning for the next cycle.
We’re really into transparency — we hold synchronization meetings a few times a week, and there’s a place for every employee to express their opinion, share updates about their progress in specific tasks, and consult with other group members. We’re a very open company. It’s important to us that everyone is updated about the status of each client, what’s been working well, and which parts are less successful so that we can pivot quickly when the need arises. We do all of this to be certain that each and every one of our clients is satisfied.”
What interesting and significant breakthroughs or developments have you led that you are proud of?
“We have developed an advanced technology that enables us to discover and analyze SaaS applications in a way that is not intrusive and does not influence or harm the quality of work carried out by SaaS application users. This is a unique technology that without invading the end user’s privacy manages to slowly enable us to collect enormous amounts of data. I am extremely proud that Wing is successfully meeting the challenge of analyzing and processing the huge amounts of data that constructs the complex world of SaaS applications. Our ability to extract and analyze data, and above all, draw the relevant conclusions that will enable effective protection for our clients is extremely significant and interesting to me!”
What tip can you offer to young developers and engineers just starting out in their careers?
“Your foundation must be deep and stable – only then can you begin constructing a tower. Make sure to invest plenty of time and effort in learning proper development, and accumulate more and more hours of experience in planning, developing, and system integration. That’s the correct way to build the right muscles. It’s important to progress to managerial roles once you’ve built up enough hands-on experience. I’m a big believer in management that’s based on deep technological understanding.”
Is there a product you created or code you wrote – something not related to work – that you made for the betterment of society? Do you have any hobbies?
“It’s funny you ask this question since I haven’t had a minute to spare for many years now – my work is intense, and I have four kids at home – but recently I was sitting with my son, who at lightning speed was converting photographs stored on my iPhone from Apple’s compressed format to regular format so that they can be printed using a digital book editing software program. He’s doing this so all our memories from our trips can be captured and added to our collection of travel books.”
Aliens have invaded planet Earth and destroyed the entire Stack Overflow database. What’s the first thing you do?
“Restore everything from our backup, of course…”
What’s your favourite podcast or book you'd like to recommend?
“I read a lot. I love historical novels, especially by Ken Follett. I recently read The Evening and the Morning, which I highly recommend. I love listening to podcasts while I’m out jogging, such as Making History with Ran Levi, which touches on technology, medicine, and politics; a16z; Startup for Startup; and The Next Billion – GGV Capital.
Which songs do you like to listen to while you're coding or working?
“Classical or jazz.”
What are your favourite gadgets?
“My Apple watch – it is a must!”
What’s the first thing you will do after your company has an exit?
“I will drink a glass of champagne to celebrate, and then move on to the next challenge.”
And one last question: tab or space bar?
“Tabs, of course!”