Jeff Samuels, OpenDNS CMOBuilding a world-class cloud-delivered security platform requires assembling a passionate, talented team. We recently made a hugely important hire: Jeffrey Samuels, our first-ever Chief Marketing Officer. Jeff is no stranger to the cloud. He previously served as CMO at GoGrid and held leadership positions at Neustar and UltraDNS. Although CMO duties keep him busy, I grabbed a few minutes with Jeff to get his thoughts on where OpenDNS is heading, and how Umbrella is transforming Web security.

You’ve known David Ulevitch (OpenDNS CEO) for many years. Why was it the right time for you to join OpenDNS now?

JS: OpenDNS has reached a point of growth where the very atmosphere is charged with energy. There’s a noticeable shift when you walk in the door; when you talk to customers or any employee – there’s an excitement, an anticipation, the expectation of doing something incredible in the security market. David has already built a tremendous company. He has connected with the right people, the right investors, the right executive team, and amazing employees that are 100% focused on making a difference in the market. The platform the OpenDNS team has been building since 2006 is part of a technology story that’s now flourishing in the enterprise space. I wanted to be a part of that.

What do you think makes Umbrella, OpenDNS’s line of cloud-delivered security solutions, stand out from other Web security solutions?

JS: It’s not just about a product. Our entire approach to security is unique, especially from our competitors. Enterprises of all sizes have security needs that are rapidly changing, and they need to incorporate protection at levels they’ve never seen before. The threats have proliferated and employees are now very mobile. With our cloud-first delivery mechanism, there are two things to consider. First, is ubiquity. Everything that OpenDNS and its Umbrella line offers has a cloud foundation, which is essential to protecting endpoints and end users wherever they are, 24/7. Second, is the level of security we provide. We are equipped to analyze data in real time and utilize our engine to predict security issues and threats as or before they appear. That’s an important technological hurdle we know is necessary to  protect our customers from today’s cyber threats.

OpenDNS has always been an innovative company. Why is our cloud-first approach transforming the Web security space, and where do we go from here?

JS: Put simply, we are now in an era where organizations are always going to need Web security. The work landscape is changing; people aren’t just sitting at their desks. Not everything is going through the firewall, and there are serious threats appearing every day that can harm your enterprise, whether it be malware, phishing, or botnets. Right now, businesses are trying to adapt their existing security technologies to fit this new style of working. With Umbrella, we offer businesses a better way: easy-to-manage security-as-a-service that will protect employees wherever they go. Our technology and platform can address these risks, and the flexibility of the cloud allows us to evolve and face tomorrow’s threats with agility. So from here, we heighten our focus on  strengthening the efficacy and performance of our service, and continue to augment the features and visibility we deliver to customers.

Our team is working on some major releases this year. What is the biggest challenge we have to overcome when it comes to misconceptions about OpenDNS or Umbrella?

JS: OpenDNS is blessed with a tremendous reputation as being a DNS, infrastructure, cloud and security provider to millions. Fifty million end users are benefitting from our services every day. One of our greatest challenges (and opportunities)  is to translate this success to businesses. We have to reinforce the message that cloud-based security services are necessary today and essential for future protection, and that Umbrella enables businesses to secure their end users, end points, and devices globally.

If you could tell potential customers just one thing as they look at the security market, what would it be?

JS:  I would say the most important thing is to educate yourself – about the threats that exist, about the security you currently have, and about the security you’re going to need. Education for us is foundational: making sure our clients and businesses around the world know how to protect themselves and ask the right questions about security.

You can learn more about Jeff and the rest of our leadership team here.

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