Meet the New CEO of Waratek – Doug Ennis

Waratek’s security platform enables security to scale with modern software development through automating protection and legacy modernisation.

Who is Waratek?

We are not your traditional security company as our roots are in development, specifically low-level (compiler) development. This provides us with an interesting perspective on code vulnerabilities and we have the ability to visualise them in the code runtime. This enables us to fix code vulnerabilities without impacting the performance of the app, making code changes or creating false positives.

What are your first goals as the new CEO of Waratek?

Culture and vision are my first focused goals.

Culture is commonly used as a buzzword and not often defined. Every company says they have a great culture but is that culture a great fit, moving forward, and changing properly with the growing company. Stepping in as CEO, it was very important to understand the dynamics of the current culture and what has driven the core of the company. It also enabled me to find the areas that could use focus to adjust or strengthen. Internally, we are rolling out our culture values during early Q3 and then will publicly display those values towards the end of September.

My second goal revolves around our vision. That vision is to enable security professionals to define the behaviours they need in their organisation’s applications and then leverage our solution for autonomous execution of that behaviour.

How is the transition into the new role going?

Fantastic! I am a firm believer that we learn something new every day and I can definitely say that I am learning. I am also always up for a challenge and not afraid to fail. These two characteristics help guide me and provide confidence when attempting something new. Our Founder and I have found a common thread and way to work very well together. I believe that this has assisted in making the transition smooth and pretty seamless.

Have you faced any challenges so far and if so, how have you resolved them?

Yes, a few challenges have risen up. I had an opportunity earlier this year to hear Michael Dell at SXSW and one of the questions he was asked was what he would tell his younger self. Michael replied: “to be more patient”. In startups, we are moving as fast as humanly possible while wearing the preverbal “many hats”. A small challenge does not really impact that momentum but a larger challenge can completely derail the progression. Thus, Michael’s words remind me to listen, absorb, trust the system and then make well-thought-out decisions. To maintain the momentum does not mean delay but act swiftly with conviction and then move on.

What’s your vision for the future of Waratek?

In the short term, I want Waratek to pioneer and be the market leader in Security-as-Code.

The adoption of DevOps is helping engineering, and while 83% of organisations say that DevOps is or will be used to help speed up deployment, it actually makes security’s job more difficult. There is a focus on “shifting left,” but the answer isn’t moving security earlier in the same process that causes burnout, especially with 85% of organisations reporting a workforce shortage affecting app and system security. Rather than trying to force Security to integrate fully with the DevOps process, Security-as-Code empowers Security teams with the autonomy to work separately in parallel to Development. Through automation, it provides protection in the runtime with zero false positives to address known and unknown vulnerabilities in real-time, with near-zero impact.

The long-term problem we are trying to solve is that currently, the DevOps process of correcting vulnerable or flawed code is reactionary, hence the increase in zero-days over the past several years. As a result, you typically have to wait for something bad to happen before you realise there’s a need to act. In the future, Waratek will analyse the applications’ DNA to spot complex vulnerabilities and layer customer data on top of our patented security engine, that understands at an atomic level the makeup of a vulnerability, to make more intelligent recommendations and autonomously apply just in time Security-as-Code mitigations and remediations.

What’s your favourite thing about your new role as the CEO? 

My favourite part of being CEO is witnessing the monumental shift in the passion and vibe of our employees as they actively participate in building on the vision of being the pioneering and dominant leader in Security-as-Code.

What do you hope your legacy will be?

I hope that I can inspire people to do extraordinary, creative and innovative things while delivering on our mission to improve the lives of security teams through automation and DevSecOps principles.

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