Before co-founding Lightspin, CEO Vladi established the comprehensive application security training program at Ernst & Young and initiated the first Automotive Cloud Security team at CYMOTIVE.
An avid security entrepreneur with a career in cybersecurity domains, Vladi Sandler used his experience to start Lightspin – a proactive cloud security platform that protects cloud and Kubernetes environments from unknown risks.
M.R.: You launched a startup right before the pandemic. Upon reflection, what benefits did you experience as a result?
Vladi Sandler: We launched Lightspin in January 2020, mere months before the global pandemic. While at the moment it felt daunting, I now realize there were several key benefits to launching a startup
during that time frame.
First, we quickly gained access to the global market – in person meetings stopped, so I was able to meet via Zoom with the best companies in the world in minutes.
We did more customer meetings and were able to quickly develop personal relationships. We raised
funding during that time as well; being virtual allowed us to connect with VCs all over the
country and alleviated the cross-country flights and additional overhead costs of travel.
We invested in talent and secured an incredible office space for a very reasonable price.
On a personal note, my daughter was six months old when we launched the company. Instead
of being away from home during that pivotal time, I was able to conduct business via Zoom and
be there for my family.
M.R.: As organizations embrace the cloud, what are the pitfalls or security risks they should be
Vladi: Cloud threats are on the rise. At any point in time, sensitive data can move between 2,481 different cloud apps and services, making it a prime target for cybercriminals. Cloud breaches
cost organizations billions every year. Here are the key considerations for modern cloud
● Avoid the compliance checkbox. Most security are compliance-minded as a risk that can
be easily controlled. But checking the compliance box does not mean that your Cloud
Security Posture Management (CSPM) tool is meeting your business’ needs or focused
on securing the holistic cloud environment.
● Maintain tight identity management and access controls. Your organization should
manage permissions and stay on top of all access to critical information. Only key
stakeholders who need access to a particular environment should have privileges. Sally
in accounting should not be able to access highly sensitive HR files. This limits what an
attacker can do, and the number of files that she or he can access. Be stingy with
access controls – especially those related to Privileged Access Management (PAM).
● Protect your data (in the cloud). Deploying a strategic data loss prevention strategy
helps to limit data breaches and protects cloud data from outside threats that can affect
compliance. This will also help reveal and prioritize which cloud data encryption needs
● Know your CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures). This open source, public list
of known vulnerabilities found in applications is available to any member of the public.
Each found vulnerability receives an ID and score based on its impact, type of attack
vector, and potential ramifications. This approach is only beneficial for known risks; not
those lurking in your organizations’ code. Second, relying on CVEs will generate A LOT
of alerts – which can lead to ignored alerts, skipped steps, or alert fatigue.
M.R.: Is security more difficult in the “hybrid cloud” environment, when dealing with
microservices, containers etc.? How should companies approach this?
Vladi: In today’s complex cloud environments, there’s a whole lot that can–and does–go wrong,
leading to suboptimal security. When an attacker looks at your environment, they are looking for
the easiest way inside.
The key to preventing cloud security risks and vulnerabilities is to understand the full context of
events and incidents. This context is what sets the scene and what determines the true
significance of issues. Context provides a full view into the circumstances that serve as the
background for all events and by which the events can be fully assessed.
With Lightspin’s graph-based algorithms and attack path prioritization, organizations can identify
all assets and relationships to effectively protect their cloud environment.
M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sandhill.com