During an interview, Jean-François Vaillancourt, president of NETsatori, reviews 20 years of practice in the field of networks and cybersecurity. He explains how NETsatori’s new positioning fills the evolving communication needs of organizations and describes the new risks facing modern businesses.
In January 2019, Satori became NETsatori, with a tagline that describes it as the company of “network and cybersecurity experts”. These changes are accompanied by a new Web site and a new logo, but mostly by a new mission and a new positioning, where networks and cybersecurity are on an equal footing. Jean‑François Vaillancourt, who founded the business in Montreal in 2005 with a few geeks like himself — as well as his two cats, as he’s fond of saying — explains how the transformations of our technological environment over the past 15 years have modified NETsatori’s role.
Interview conducted by Renato Cudicio.
Q: The first question is obvious: why did you change the name of the company from “Satori” to “NETsatori”?
JF Vaillancourt: Actually, there are two reasons for this change to “NETsatori”. The main one is that we wished to stress a fundamental change in our role, now that networks have become a central element of every organization’s activities. The “NET” in NETsatori is a reference both to the Internet, or Net, and the networks used by corporations and organizations. Fifteen years ago, when I founded Satori, companies deemed networking and security to be important, but this was when the Internet was still in its infancy, before mobility became a central issue and before the emergence of the cloud.
Today, everything, literally, goes through the networks, and their reliability has become critical. In this context, “NETsatori” takes on its full meaning. The second reason is more “marketing” in nature. Good positioning in search engines is a must. Since the term “satori” is used in a number of fields, most of which have nothing to do with our activities, our company didn’t appear in a prominent position in search results concerning network security, even though our expertise in deploying and securing large infrastructures is widely recognized. The term NETsatori being unique, corporations and other organizations will be able to locate us instantly using search engines.
Q: Every week, new cybercrimes are being reported. Data is taken hostage, strategic assets are paralyzed, the management systems of public companies are destroyed, the list of wrongdoings seems endless. Is this why NETsatori defines itself primarily as a firm specialized in cybersecurity?
JF Vaillancourt: Indeed, organizations, both public and private, are the target of unceasing attacks from multiple sources, and these attacks are increasingly sophisticated. First, there are criminal organizations which have found that cybercrime is less risky and much more lucrative. Then, there are terrorist groups, some of whom are state‑sponsored, who aim to destabilize our institutions and our economy. Industrial espionage has also been greatly facilitated by mobile technologies and the backing up of data in the cloud. Finally, we mustn’t forget the lone wolf, the amateur hacker — who sometimes operates within the organization itself — and who wishes to carry out a stunning blow, or make a pile of cash, by stealing or destroying confidential files. In a nutshell, even though this may seem like a truism, cybersecurity must be a top priority for any organization.
NETsatori can be an important ally in this quest, since almost all data nowadays flows through networks. Our work consists in securing all accesses, controlling activities and, in partnership with companies that specialize in cyberrisk detection, sound the alarm or take more drastic measures if necessary. Our prevention team monitors networks 24 hours a day and works in hand with specialists in countermeasures and forensic analyses.
Q: How do you see the evolution of cybersecurity in the coming years?
JF Vaillancourt: Everything we’ve been discussing over the past several years has become reality! The introduction of artificial intelligence, for example, is not just a fad: it’s the only efficient response to attacks that are extremely subtle, innovative and fast, and that require a reaction speed far superior to that of any human being. Today cybersecurity is ensured by network devices and defence systems capable of reacting in real time and constantly adapting to new threats thanks to machine learning.
The arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT) is further complicating the question, and the proliferation of botnets like Reaper or the recent Torii, specifically designed for the Internet of Things, is not at all reassuring! In the future, we will need to systematically integrate this paradigmatic revolution in architectures and security policies. The spread of cloud computing, associated with mobility and the phenomenon of BYOD, is another element that will require our full attention, because we will need to fight on several fronts since the most modest of end‑points can become a gateway to the network.
Q: You keep mentioning networks, but these need to be accessible, don’t they? Please give us your take on network resilience.
JF Vaillancourt: Network resilience is NETsatori’s other major strength. For starters, the network itself needs to be protected in order to remain accessible at all times, while providing a good level of performance, and NETsatori was founded on the premise that organizations need networks that are both reliable and secure. Therefore, a large part of our job is rather “conventional”: the design, implementation and operation, if required, of wired or wireless network architectures that are robust and capable of transmitting, at lightning speed, the volume of data required by the organization, all the while meeting the highest standards of security.
The proliferation of firewalls and access rights according to the new business applications and new equipment has added a layer of complexity which can impact performance, as well as network security. Since network unavailability is more often caused today by a virus or an unauthorized activity than by physical failure, our activities are intimately linked to an extensive expertise in cybersecurity. This explains, I believe, why our new name and our new signature, “Network and cybersecurity experts”, are relevant in today’s context.
Q: Thank you.