Today is the modern age of information where an increasingly large number of devices and things are being connected to each other. This makes cybersecurity a highly relevant topic. Data breaches are a common concern for organizations of all sizes today.
This week, we interviewed George Egri, the co-founder and CEO of BitNinja Security. A reliable name in server protection, BitNinja has been protecting servers across the world with its efficient and state of the art solutions. Read on..
J: How did you start BitNinja?
G: I had and still have a web-hosting company. About six years ago, we had many customer complaints because of hacked websites. We tried to combine the different tools on the market to secure our customers’ servers against different kinds of cyberattacks, but it became unmanageable after a while. So, we decided to solve this problem by creating an internal all-in-one solution. This project was the ancestor of BitNinja. We realized that it could be beneficial not just for us but also for the shared hosting industry and the whole Internet. Therefore, we started to establish their resources on BitNinja and on making the Internet a safer place.
J: What kind of products does BitNinja have, and who are they targeted at?
G: We have two products. One of them is ServerProtection. It’s a multi-layered defense system that protects Linux servers and the websites hosted on them against a wide range of cyberattacks. The majority of the attacks are automated, botnet-generated and cause a lot of headaches for the sysadmins and website owners. Our ServerProtection product is an all-in-one, easy-to-use tool for shared hosting companies but can be useful for anyone running a LAMP stack.
Our other product is SiteProtection, which was launched at the end of last year. It defends websites and eCommerce businesses against targeted attacks.
J: Why do you think your product is better than the competitors’ product?
G: BitNinja is building heavily on the user community to secure the servers and websites. There are many excellent professional sysadmins, software engineers, and security enthusiasts among the BitNinja user community. We build our security platform on this user community and empower them with tools to secure their resources and also feed the whole platform. A good example is our IP reputation system. We provide a good basic functionality to greylist IP addresses automatically, but many users also use our toolset to build their own defense system, and the whole community benefits from their work as we auto-elevate suspicious IP addresses to our global lists.
Another example is our malware detection module which also provides tools for our users to add their own signatures. Adding a signature at the user level also benefits globally and makes the whole system more resilient. Our primary strategy is to rely on our users to make the Internet safer together.
J: What was the very first important milestone in the life of the company?
G: I think the first really important milestone was the Seed Round investment. It resulted in a massive boom in the life of BitNinja. Not just the money but also the help of professionals, such as the founders of BalaBit and Ustream. BalaBit (acquired by One Identity) was a startup specializing in developing IT security systems, and IBM acquired Ustream and now runs under the name of IBM Cloud Video. And of course, the second one was the Series A Round last October, and I hope launching SiteProtection will be the next, but we need some time to call it a huge milestone.
J: What was the most recent success in the life of the company?
G: The last one was the Cybersecurity Excellence Awards. We provide an all-in-one cybersecurity tool, and this international awards program proved that! We won in 13 different categories. Almost all of our modules were awarded. We are really proud of it.
J: There was less than a year between the Seed and the Series A round. How fast did you grow in that period?
G: When we closed the seed investment round in November 2019, we were 19. By March 2021, we had 50 ninjas on the team. At the same time, we doubled our income too.
J: You mentioned that your Series A Round was in October 2020. What goals would you like to achieve with this investment?
G: BitNinja has a mission: making the Internet a safer place. And, of course, we have a long-term goal. It is to defend 100 million websites. We want to make every decision keeping these objectives in mind. To reach these goals, we need further investment rounds. After the Series A round, we plan to create a successful go-to-market strategy for our B2C product (SiteProtection) and keep up with scaling.
J: How do you plan to keep this growing?
G: Most of our positions are filled now, and we can manage and develop the ServerProtection related tasks smoothly. On the other hand, we have a new product, so we have to take it to the next level and build a team around this product too. There is huge market potential in SiteProtection, and we believe it can help us achieve our goals.
We plan to open a US-based marketing and sales office because a big chunk of our current users is from the USA. We believe it will help us to achieve a more significant market share in this region.
J: What was the biggest challenge in the life of your company?
G: Long story short. We realized that our competitor overtook us in terms of malware detection. We decided to dedicate more effort to upgrade this module, and now, we have an award-winning anti-malware system.
J: How has the cyber threat landscape evolved over the years?
G: There is not much innovation in terms of cyberattacks. There are many unprotected servers and websites worldwide, so the old methods are more than enough for hackers to reach what they want.
J: What trends are you expecting in the Cybersecurity space?
G: I expect that companies will take cybersecurity more seriously and spend more money on it in the future. I don’t think hackers will invent completely new types of attacks, but their targets and motivation can change. They will probably focus on remote workers much more and try to hack companies through them and crypto mining-related hacks raised in the past years, and I think they will keep growing.
J: What do you do in your free time when you are not running the business?
G: I spend my time with my family. I read a lot, and I am building a domestic robot.