Stories of successful people are so powerful, just hearing them will change you. I was lucky to have a chat with Atul Shedage, CTO of the cloud security firm Defencely.
Here is the story of a 22 year old village boy, who overcame many obstacles and became India’s youngest CTO. I hope his story will inspire you to follow your dream and work hard for it.
1) Please Introduce yourself to our readers
Good day to you all, I am Atulkumar H. Shedage, just an ordinary guy from an ordinary Indian family. However, to be able to talk to you all, and be here, one must have done something extraordinary or achieved the seemingly unachievable, which takes me to the next part of my introduction.
I was recently designated as Chief Technology Officer at Defencely.Com; an online cloud Security services website where we try to make the internet a secure place for people like you. This is a long story and I am sure that we will talk about it in detail throughout the interview today.
2) How did you get in to security research field? Is it was just a hobby for you or do you considered it as a profession right from the beginning?
Yes, you can call it a mix of both. Initially when I was just at the start of this online security gig, if you’d have asked me this question, I might have said that it was a hobby. I was self motivated, curious and wanted to explore everything there was and is to it in the hacking community.
So the “hobby” turned into passion and eventually it drove me to become who I am today. I am at the verge of creating something new; I can feel it but that would only be possible if I have stayed dedicated and diligently focused alongside the rest of my team mates.
3) What are the happiest moments in your career so far?
The happiest moments are the moments when we are acclaimed by a well known website at their Hall of Fame page. Let’s see: we recently detected a vulnerability at Nokia website. The company was kind enough to acknowledge our efforts, and they thanked us by putting our name in the appropriate webpage, which we call: The HOF section (Hall of Fame).
Now I am mentioning the “kindness” factor is because many webmasters do not acknowledge any 3rd party security company. They will probably send you a courtesy email but that’s about it. Every time we are awarded, we think of it as a special moment.
4) Can you tell us more about Defencely?
Of course, why can’t I? Defencely took off as a seed of an idea. It was almost 7 months ago. I was contacted by Mr. Ritesh Sarvaiya, who is now the CEO and Founder of Defencely.Com. We shared our vision – i.e. to found a company that would provide impeccable services to all kinds of online business owners, which can secure them from all kind of online hacking threats.
Today, we are recognized as Defencely; a cloud penetration security services platform. We work day in; day out to resolve technical issues, bugs, exploits and literally anything that can enable an attacker to compromise a website’s security. The biggest advantage we have at our side is that we not only detect vulnerabilities, but we also fix them on spot.
That being said, a lot of companies go so far as detecting errors, but they are not very good at fixing them. Frankly, we are and always will be better and the most affordable in the industry.
5) What advice you will give to a blogger to secure his website?
As a Blogger, I am assuming that you are just writing for the sake of Blogging. You don’t have a website, and you are using a free source, such as WordPress Blog, or Google’s Blogger Blog. If this is the case, you just have to secure your account through a strong password.
Otherwise, if you are using a website, or a dedicated server to withhold massive traffic load, you are most welcome to contact Defencely anytime soon. I am encouraging everyone to do so is because it is very hard for me to assess the level of your Blog. Only then I will be able to make adequate recommendations.
6) A majority of our readers are WordPress users. Do you have any WordPress specific security advises for them?
Of course, I do. WordPress is not only a famous platform for Bloggers and Business owners, but it is also very much vulnerable to hack attempts. At times, hacking a WordPress website is so easy that the hacker or the exploiter doesn’t have to do much.
- Let’s start with moving your default WordPress Files to new Locations.
- Always Install WordPress Manually because it leaves options for added security and customized file allocation.
- Never use one password for way too long. Change your WordPress Wp Admin password every week and write it down somewhere safe.
- Use HT Access file to ward off unwanted visitors and websites. Many WordPress owners do not even know what an HT Access file is, so I am encouraging you to read a few tutorials through Google, just to warm up to the concept.
- Don’t always rely on plugins. They are good but they are also nasty when it comes to technical weaknesses. Only use reliable/ highly popular plugins and that too when they have been recommended over a couple of thousand times.
6) You handle both professional career and education at the same time. How do you manage your time for both? What are your favorite tools/ software which keep you productive?
I can’t say anything about my favorite tools and software. I am smiling right now, but as a security researcher I am liable to some kind of secrecy. We have high competition factor going on, so I don’t want to go that way where it could give any ideas to anyone.
You are more than welcome to contact me personally via the Defencely ‘About Us’ page if you are interested in knowing tools. For the other question, which is related to my studies, I must confess that it is very difficult to manage studies and work altogether. However, I think that everyone is blessed with 24 hours daily.
Just make a schedule and follow it like clockwork. I have my Masters level exams going on, which makes it a little hard for me to concentrate on Defencely related projects. On the bright side, exams are not going to last forever I’’ be free soon.
If you guys need any kind of extended support from my end do not hesitate to connect with me on FaceBook, Twitter & LinkedIn
7) Where do you see yourself in a few years?
I have been asked this question many times. I am seeing myself on the Defencely panel. In every scenario, we are moving ahead as a company. Right now, since we just took off recently, we don’t have much manpower on board.
In the next 5 or 6 years, I am seeing myself part of a team. However, I will be heading high profile security projects, managing a team of subordinates and doing things for the betterment of the internet population. It is possible when we work as a team; individually, such targets are not achievable 100%.
8) Is there anything else you like to add?
Yes, please work hard. I can say it enough. You are sitting here, reading the interview and probably watching YouTube vids or using Facebook at the same time. Minimize those activities. I know I am just in my 20s and in no position to lecture you.
Take it this way; today life will seem tough and cruel to you. I want you to create a dream or a goal for yourself. Work hard and keep yourself at it. People will start to discourage you, hate you, demotivate you, and even at times your parents will doubt your skills. Never ever give up and you will find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals pretty soon.
Stay blessed and remain successful.