Features, Insight, Interviews

Finger on the Pulse, Interview with Pulse Secure executive

CNME Editor Mark Forker secured an exclusive interview with Abdul Rehman Tariq Butt, Regional Sales Director at Pulse Secure at GITEX Technology Week 2020, to find out about its recent acquisition by Ivanti, the capabilities of its end-to-end Zero Trust framework – and what ultimately differentiates the company from its market rivals.  

Abdul Rehman revealed that Pulse Secure as an organisation did question whether attending GITEX Technology Week 2020 was the right thing to do, but he admitted that on reflection it certainly was, and highlighted how the company had enjoyed a hugely productive week at the conference.

“It was tricky for us due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19. However, we took the decision to participate, and I can categorically state that it was the right decision for us to come here. We showcased our Zero Trust network access portfolio and our work from home solutions, which in this current climate have been extremely important in supporting our customers in terms of securing their employees that are working remotely. Pulse Secure is a market leader in providing solutions that are empowering our customers to enable their workforce to work remotely and we are delighted at the feedback we have received from our customers that have visited our stand this week”, said Rehman.

One of the universal challenges for many industries was securing their employees to work remotely at the onset of the pandemic, but this is where Pulse Secure excelled by leveraging its suite of solutions to empower its customers to maintain its operations.

“The most important thing for us was we did not want to only focus on what applications and networks users were getting access to, but to determine how secure it all was. In some cases, there were people using an iPad that had their children’s games on it, and they were trying to access finance applications on it too, so we had to make sure that the access to that application was secure on that device”, said Rehman

The Regional Sales Director also pointed out that the visibility it can give its customers on their devices is one of the key differentiators it has compared to its market rivals.

“Pulse Secure has established itself a market leader because we provide visibility on the devices remotely as well. We can give a detailed overview to the CIOs and the CISO’s and provide them with information in relation to what users are connecting, when there connecting and what they are connecting to and normally for this you would have to use multiple solutions, but in our case at Pulse Secure it is a single pane of glass we provide”, said Rehman.

He added that they have a suite of products and which include work from home network connectivity VPN, all the way up to the advanced and enterprise suite which gives you the full bouquet of products including visibility and control.

Zero Trust is a term that is dominating the cybersecurity ecosystem and there is a growing consensus amongst security experts that a Zero Trust approach is the right model for enterprises to adopt in this data-driven digital age.

Pulse Secure has garnered huge traction with its end-to-end Zero Trust framework and Abdul Rehman outlines his definition of Zero Trust.

“I use a very simple analogy when I am describing Zero Trust. For example, if you walk into a government office complex here in the UAE, they take your Emirates ID to authenticate you, and then they to proceed double-check whether you have a meeting or not, and then they give you a badge and grant you access, now that is in my opinion a perfect example of Zero Trust. There is absolutely no trust at all”, said Rehman.

Abdul Rehman pointed out that it’s important to strike a fine balance when implementing a robust security strategy as you don’t want to impinge and impact on the experience of end-users.

“We believe in Zero Trust in a very simple way. If I am not the right user to connect to a certain application or network, then sorry but we will not let you in. The beauty of Pulse Secure in this entire infrastructure setup is that we don’t compromise on user ability. When the security is very robust then it’s the end-users that suffer, but we try to keep it simple and we have a single client whether you are in the office or outside the office. That client is providing the Zero Trust connectivity and that differentiates us hugely compared to our competitors and their offerings”, said Rehman.

The success of Pulse Secure since its entry into the market in 2015 has been meteoric, and this was reinforced following the decision by global IT behemoth Ivanti to acquire the company along with MobileIron in September of this year.

“Ivanti acquired two companies in the one transaction, so in addition to Pulse Secure they acquired MobileIron, and the thinking behind that was 1+1+1=10. It is not just one company under Ivanti, we are now part of what we call a security solutions division. We will be focusing purely on how we can secure the end users, but Ivanti has a huge portfolio of really amazing products like neurons and their asset management system, which are eventually going to tie up with what we do and provide a complete ecosystem to the customers”, said Rehman.

The dynamic IT executive concluded by revealing that he believes there will be a lot of activity from a product perspective in the first two quarters of 2021.

“I think in the next 3-6 months you will see a lot of news coming out of the Ivanti product team on how Pulse Secure customers can take advantage of Ivanti, and how Ivanti customers can take advantage of Pulse Secure”, said Rahman.

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