Rohit Dhamankar sees cybersecurity as a sophisticated, high-stakes game. The 20-year cybersecurity veteran looks to solve ever-evolving industry challenges by blending strategic and tactical maneuvers at Alert Logic by HelpSystems. Dhamankar has worked at startups and multinational organizations alike but knows he does his best work in an open, innovative culture.
History of Alert Logic
Founded in 2002, Alert Logic is the only managed detection and response (MDR) provider that delivers comprehensive coverage for public clouds, SaaS, on-premises, and hybrid environments. HelpSystems acquired the company in 2022, making it a cornerstone of its cybersecurity portfolio.
“The security industry has grown really complex in terms of the attacks and constant threats that a lot of customers are facing,” Rohit says. “There is definitely a need for managed security services, for somebody to be constantly vigilant to make sure there are no threat actors sitting inside environments, no active breaches or data and brand loss, etc. That's Alert Logic's primary focus, to provide industry-best managed detection and response.”
From Alert Logic to HelpSystems
“HelpSystems has grown a very comprehensive cybersecurity portfolio,” Rohit says. “One of the pieces HelpSystems was looking for was a company that would help with managed detection and managed services, as well as provide a platform for integration. And these are both strengths that Alert Logic brought to the table.”
Rohit’s Cybersecurity Journey and Expanded Leadership Roles
In 1997, Rohit left his native India to pursue a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Texas at Austin. Part-way through, he got an internship at Cisco’s Network Security research group. This turned into a full-time role in 2000, launching his career in cybersecurity. He joined Alert Logic in 2018 and finds himself on the threat intelligence team at HelpSystems four years later. “I am super excited about the role I have now within HelpSystems,” Rohit says. “I have always looked for a role that crosses multiple products and portfolios, and I'm eager to look at a bigger portfolio and see what we can do with this overall rich portfolio for our customers.”
Like Rohit, many Alert Logic team members now are integrating with HelpSystems and taking on expanded responsibilities. “There's more opportunity to oversee and perform at a different level than just at Alert Logic,” he says. “That has been an exciting journey for a lot of people.”
Building Threat Intelligence in a Changing Cyber Environment
Rohit says many cybercriminals have moved from amateur, script kiddie status to highly organized crime organizations, which requires not only vigilance, but also a strong blend of strategy and tactics.
“It’s a constantly evolving cat-and-mouse game. As you start detecting the adversary techniques, they evolve newer techniques, so that's what the research team looks at,” he says. His team determines whether they need to leverage data science or query-based analytics to solve the latest challenges. “That's the core value customers are looking for from any security products – keeping them constantly safe.”
Rohit stresses that because the security landscape changes quickly, companies must be tactical and strategic at the same time. This means using available tools and resources and not always waiting for the next “weapon” or feature to be developed.
“If pitchforks are available to you, you need to go and battle with those pitchforks with the threat out there today!” he says. “That's the tactical. But learning from that experience and saying, ‘OK, the next time a similar situation happens, I need to be more prepared and figure out innovative ways to defend against this class of attack.’”
The Acquisition Process
Rohit appreciates the disciplined approach HelpSystems uses to guide acquisition activities and welcome new team members. “I have been through acquisitions where it almost looked like, after the company was acquired, they didn't know immediately what to do,” he says. “However, the HelpSystems process is very streamlined as far as what's expected in the first 30 days, the next 30 days, etc.”
“When we were going through the process of acquisition, it was clear that our cultures were aligned to each other,” Rohit says. “It seemed like a very similar and open culture where I was welcomed with open arms. They were very friendly, helpful, and humble. When we build that as the culture from the ground up, it helps people do better, be more collaborative, and look at more innovative ways of solving problems together. That's what makes or breaks a company eventually.”
The two organizations also shared similar core values. Like HelpSystems, Alert Logic is “customer obsessed.” “We do design thinking to solve customer problems in an innovative fashion,” he says. “We are looking at operational excellence and at the same time we pride ourselves on our ownership of the solution.”
Scrappy Startup Teams and Enterprise Mentality
A veteran of startup companies, Rohit says, “There is a different sense of innovation in a startup. There is a certain camaraderie and enthusiasm about building something new, doing something different and cutting edge.”
He thinks it’s important to bring this mentality into enterprise structures as well. “When I heard [CEO] Kate Bolseth and others talk about “scrappy teams,” that's exactly what came to my mind,” he says. “Even though it's a bigger company, you’re still approaching a lot of these solutions in a start-up way, and that's one of the great things HelpSystems is working to cultivate and promote as part of the culture.”