In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, establishing trust is fundamental to an organization’s success. While trust takes years to build and only seconds to break, security leaders are tasked with the challenge of authenticating every device, workload, and user to establish and maintain digital trust.
This month, we sat down with Ryan Sanders, Keyfactor’s Senior Director of Product & Customer Marketing, to explore the role of zero-trust in cybersecurity and how it impacts our daily lives. Ryan is passionate about cybersecurity and actively analyzes the latest compliance mandates, market trends, and industry best practices related to public key infrastructure (PKI) and digital certificates. Based in Toronto, Ryan has been an integral member of the Keyfactor team for five years. His team recently launched the Keyfactor Insider Program, which engages customers with relevant product and company news content.
What brought you to Keyfactor?
I connected with a recruiter who told me about Keyfactor and emphasized the company’s momentum. I was already working in the cybersecurity space for a crypto key management company, so there seemed to be a thread of connection. I went to a tradeshow, and from the moment I stepped into Keyfactor’s booth, I knew there was something special here. It was the people – you could tell Keyfactor was ready for big things. The first day I joined was when the company rebranded to Keyfactor from CSS, which was truly a transformative experience.
It might sound cliche, but what stands out most about Keyfactor is the people who are not only incredibly smart in their own domains, but more importantly, they’re accessible and passionate about what we’re doing here.
I joined shortly before Insight Partners took the helm, so it wasn’t long until we were introduced to a new leadership team. Despite the changes, the company culture still remained intact. The new leadership came in, took what we already had, and made it even better, which I personally feel is very rare. I started as Content Marketing Manager and have since moved to a Product Marketing Director and now Senior Director. My growth showcases how the company invests in people and strives for everyone’s success.
What is your role at Keyfactor and how has your team contributed to the company’s success?
I’m currently the Senior Director of Product and Customer Marketing. In my role, I focus on two different audiences: buyers and existing customers.
When it comes to buyers, we work to deliver a compelling message, one that grabs their attention and is easy to digest. Our messaging helps the buyer better understand the importance and value of Keyfactor’s products and what they offer.
On the other end, once they become a customer, we strive to keep them engaged and excited about the products we offer and build on.
In general, product marketing is a very cross-functional role. We work with everyone across the board, from product management and customer success, to the marketing team. I like to consider us “translators.” Everyone speaks a different language. Marketing speaks demand-gen. Sales speaks pipeline. Customers talk about their pain points and challenges, while end-users talk about feature adoption and use cases. We in product marketing act as a translation layer between our products and just about everyone else. We want to speak their language and break down technical concepts into easily understood and relevant messaging.
What does digital trust mean to you?
As a millennial, I grew up during a time when we didn’t have the internet, and suddenly we did, and ever since, it’s changed our lives enormously. There is always something new and evolving that internet connectivity is doing for us. It started with just being able to log into a web browser or live chat with friends, and now, suddenly, we’re able to put on a headset and access the world within seconds.
The level of connectivity is incredible, but it’s created a fundamental problem of trust. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the good and bad actors from each other. From my perspective, we have created this digital world, but we need to establish a level of trust if we want to get value out of it and enjoy the benefits. When I call someone, buy something, or unlock the car, I don’t think about it, but at its core, you’re putting some element of trust into an action. Trust allows us to enjoy the digital world we are creating and growing.
What’s really cool about it is that our customers are behind every one of those digital interactions. Thousands of IT and security teams make it all happen behind the scenes, and the pressure is on them to make every experience seamless and secure. We help them do that.
How is Keyfactor enabling digital trust in a zero-trust world?
It used to be easier to trust. You’d go into a store to buy software, and it comes wrapped in a box (or in your cereal box), never touched. Now, everything is online, and that perimeter of trust is diminished. Keyfactor understands this and puts identity at the core of its security strategy. There’s no denying that a lot can be done when it comes to security. However, one fundamental truth is that identity is at the center of security.
If you leave the office or the house, the walls don’t follow you. The virtual and physical boundaries we set to protect our homes and businesses aren’t enough anymore. But there’s one thing that follows you (and your devices) no matter where you go. Keyfactor provides trusted identities for every device you see, touch, and use and the thousands more devices we don’t see (e.g. servers, cloud workloads, etc.). Using our technology, our customers can authenticate and verify every single machine, providing the baseline of trust that can be built upon when it comes to other pieces of security. Think of it this way – you’re building a house, and identity is the foundation -you can’t build a house without a foundation.
Who inspires you?
There are a lot of people who inspire me, both at Keyfactor and in my everyday life, but Simon Sinek has been a source of inspiration when it comes to marketing.. One of his books, “Start With Why,” transformed the way I think about work and life. Because if we don’t know the “why” behind “what” we do, then there’s no clear purpose for doing it in the first place. Why is the driving force behind everything we do, what and how are just the way we do it and the outcomes we achieve. That goes for pitching a product, leading a team, or even kicking off a new project at work.
Check back next month to get to know another member of the Keyfactor team.