Black Hat USA 2023 Preview: How to Get the Most Out of Your Experience
We sat down with Anton Granic, a 25-year industry veteran and Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Avalor, to get his thoughts going into his 15th Black Hat conference on how things have changed, how to get the most of your time in Vegas, and his advice for first time attendees.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey to Avalor.
After 25 years in the enterprise tech industry (17 in security and 8 in infrastructure/hybrid cloud), I can honestly say that I am just as excited today, if not more so, than I was on my first day. My experience with multiple-early stage startups has given me a great perspective on how to build companies and take them to market. I am fortunate to have been a part of five super successful startups. Every experience was unique and every one of them brought me to where I am today - Avalor.
This is an amazing time to be in tech because there are so many creative and exciting technologies being developed. You know you’re in a good place when you’re working for an innovative company with great founders, and makes CSO/CISO and security operations teams’ lives easier, all while demonstrating business value and positive outcomes. Avalor is going to fundamentally change the way CISO’s and their teams manage cybersecurity programs, and interact with IT and the Business as a whole, and I’m incredibly excited to be a part of it!
How many years have you been going to Black Hat USA?
I have been going to Black Hat USA on and off for 15 years. This is my first time back since pre-Covid and the buzz is amazing. Everyone is looking to get back to interacting with their peers, and reconnecting with customers and partners.
What’s been your favorite part of the conference in years past?
My favorite part is always checking out the new technologies. Fifteen years ago, there were only a few players in the security space, and when I joined Palo Alto Networks and brought them to Canada, people were amazed that a “new cyber startup” was trying to make it and disrupt the “big boys.” And boy, did we ever shake things up!
That was a great example of a company that did it right in the early days. I think Palo Alto Networks was the catalyst for a lot of the companies that followed. Startup City (where Avalor is debuting) will be a great experience and I recommend everyone going to Black Hat check it out.
You’ve been on teams at some of the largest, well-known security brands. What’s different about Black Hat when you’re a startup?
Black Hat is a true cyber-tech conference. The focus is on the tech. Of course there will be all kinds of overlapping (overbearing?) marketing by many of the companies there – an overlap in messaging and what they claim to do – but the techies really look to see what is new and what is coming next. That is where Startup City in the Business Hall really shines. I believe there is a record number of new companies debuting this year, so there will be a lot to see and learn.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Without a doubt, getting the word out about Avalor and what we’ve built! The response we’ve had in just our first quarter out of stealth has been incredible.
I can honestly say that out of all the great companies I worked for in the past, none of them have had such a big impact as Avalor has this early in their go to market. I believe that’s because the pain we solve for security teams is real and nobody else has been able to solve it. Everyone I talk to says, “Nobody does this! We have been waiting for something like this for years!”
I’m looking forward to meeting with all the attendees at Black Hat and showing even more people what Avalor’s technology can do.
How can people connect with you & the Avalor team at Black Hat?
The best way is to stop by the booth. We are in Startup City (Booth 400), right beside the lounge. You can also reach us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for one of our events at https://www.avalor.io/black-hat.
What advice do you have for first-time attendees?
Honestly, just enjoy it. Make sure to check out the new companies, listen, learn, and try to connect with as many like-minded people as possible. There is a lot to do.
Also, drink lots of water, and pack Advil.
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