In this vlog, 1Kosmos CMO, Michael Cichon, and SVP of Business Development, Rich Hlavka discuss why Rich Hlavka joined 1Kosmos.

Michael Cichon:

All right. Welcome, Rich Hlavka, Senior Vice President of Business Development. Welcome to the 1Kosmos vlog.

Rich Hlavka:

Hey, Michael. Thanks a lot for having me. I appreciate you including me in this and look forward to our conversation.

Michael Cichon:

Yeah, well, definitely. I’ve been trying to get you on this for, I don’t know, how long you been on board now?

Rich Hlavka:

Just about a couple of months. I know it seems probably longer because of me, but it’s been a while. We both have very busy schedules, so I appreciate you taking the time that we get this done.

Michael Cichon:

Sure. Well, I’ve been trying to catch up to that cloud of dust you’re leaving behind you as you’re blazing the trail here. The reason I wanted to talk to you is, eight weeks removed, it may seem a little bit time warped, but I wanted you to talk a little bit about the reasons why you joined 1Kosmos. What pulled you toward our business? So can you just comment on that briefly?

Rich Hlavka:

Yeah, sure. Whenever you make a change, obviously it’s a big decision, right? And it’s a huge commitment, at least for me. Whenever I go to a company I’m not looking at just a career path, I’m looking at making change within an organization.

Michael Cichon:

You didn’t just leave any mom and pop company.

Rich Hlavka:

Yeah, you’re right. No, and you’re right. So I just actually, I left Splunk, which is a multi-billion dollar company. And even from a market cap perspective even larger with over 7,000 employees worldwide. And prior to that, I became part of Splunk because they acquired a previous company that I was with called Phantom Corporation, which created and invented the entire Security Orchestration Automation and Response space called SOAR, which is now pretty prevalent out there in the marketplace. And we were acquired in 2018, so I was there for about three and a half years with Splunk and really enjoyed the journey. Great products, great people. But yeah, that’s my DNA, that’s where I cam from recently, since 2017 coming forward. Granted, there’s a lot of other history before that.

Michael Cichon:

Interesting. So, one thing that drew me to the company and I’m curious your take on it. It’s the focus on the convergence of identity and authentication, and here’s what I mean by that. If you look at banks, banks have a legal requirement to know their customer. If you look at other private enterprises, they’ve got a requirement to know their employees. They got to identity proof their employees for tax and immigration purposes. But as we see businesses rolling out more and more services online, they’re going through this digital transformation. It occurs to me that they probably need to hold themselves to the same high standard, to not only prove the identity of people coming into the business but to prove it every single time there’s a claim of identity online. Do you agree, disagree, or what’s your take on that kind of short story?

Rich Hlavka:

Yeah. Well, interesting enough, a lot of reasons why you came over are a lot of similarities to the reasons why I’ve made a decision to come over as well. Being involved in cybersecurity and really security being the backbone of my DNA over the last 28 years, I saw a huge transformational process working with all the different MSSPs, GSIs, VARs, VADs, general partners. And just general consumers, banking, finance, healthcare, in addition to just whole data privacy. The first point of exposure that typically I’ve found is phishing emails, and people getting in and somehow spearing into an account and getting into a privileged access account and then taking over the network. And so what 1Kosmos really has done predominantly since their inception was really focus on the technology to ensure that they have a unique blockchain digital ledger strategy that allows for that proofing with Live ID and other types of advanced biometrics that can be leveled up or level down based on the type of certification that you actually want to have. And so, I totally agree that there is that certification and there’s that common place where people need to meet to ensure that that true identity, that the person that you said you hired, the person that’s authenticating, is that right person. And 1Kosmos provides that proof, that identity, time and time again, and there’s really no way to hack it. There’s really no way to get around it. And that’s where the industry is going. And I see a tremendous paradigm shift coming over the course of the next 6, 12, 18, 24 months. And people using passwords is going to be passe. That’s going to be old school. People will start laughing about that going forward, but it’s also just the whole identity proofing as well. Having that digital wall that can be transferred to prove your identity overall, and have that also be done for compliance with GDPR and other privacy issues left and right that we see around the globe. So it’s not just in the United States, but it’s a global problem and a global issue that needs to be resolved, and 1Kosmos, I think, has the first mover advantage in that space. And that was predominantly one of the reasons why I decided to make the move and join.

Michael Cichon:

Yeah, I’d have to agree, and this is not happening in a vacuum. If you look around, other companies, Microsoft, is talking about distributed identity. Analysts, Gartner, they’ve been talking about it for a while. We’re talking about it now even more in deeper and more sophisticated terms. But when you kind of look at the authentication problem, the issue, I think in the past we’ve kind of tried to prop it up with two factor authentication, send people codes. And I think if you really kind of clean sheet this thing out and you analyze what the problem is, from my perspective, the problems trace back to this identity problem. And, again, companies are doing this, they’re just doing it in a very inefficient way. So this digital transformation, the company in a whole, might call for digital transformation of this one function. Great. So identity proofing, one thing. Was there other things that kind of drew you to the company?

Rich Hlavka:

Yeah. Overall, when I’m looking at an examining company, I do a lot of back checking at the same time the company is back checking on me. And the technology is probably the most important thing and also making sure that you’re solving a customer pain point in addition to your regulatory pain point and also securing that company to make sure that they won’t be heading up into the headlines of the Wall Street Journal. But really it’s a corporate culture and it’s the foundation of the company.

And so when I was going through this interview process, I met with the advisory board, which is really the who’s who of everyone from NSA to cybersecurity command from DHS. Really just a tremendous amount of knowledge in addition to the private sector, a lot of banks, healthcare and so forth. But more importantly on the executive side with our founder, he’s had several successes. He knows what he’s doing. He knows how to run an organization. And it felt natural. It felt like what I was doing when I joined Phantom and the tremendous leadership team that we have there amongst others that I’ve done in the past. And when you have that opportunity to work collectively with a company, available to be a pillar within that organization and help that company grow where we can actually have some fun, build great technology, but more importantly, you also employ a lot of people over time and change their career paths. That to me is extremely rewarding and that’s what 1Komos was able to present to me was the culture, the technology, solving the customer pain, and certainly just the growth in the general market.

Michael Cichon:

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, listen, I appreciate you sharing this and I hope you don’t mind I interjected some of myself in here. I don’t get all the time to talk to you. We do have our weekly meetings and I got to say, I’ve learned a lot from the way that you present your material, the way you talk through kind of some of the business strategies that you’re deploying. So always appreciate you there. Welcome to the team. Before we sign off, any final parting shots, any final thoughts like to share about why you joined?

Rich Hlavka:

You know, simply put, no regrets, right? Since the point of my first start to now where we’re growing, I’d like to say exponentially, but we’re growing extremely quickly, both from a people headcount in addition to just an over our ARR, quarter over quarter, year over year. And also our customer local count is growing. So I’m really enthusiastic about what the future holds. We’ve been making some vast improvements. We’ve been listening to our customers. We’ve been making tweaks to the products and we keep that same mentality and we try to keep the same culture in place. 1Komos will be a great company not only to work for, but a great company to also to invest in as a customer. Because when you’re investing into a product, you’re actually investing into that company as well to make sure that they’re going to live up to what they’re telling you that they can do. And I think 1Kosmos can do that.

Michael Cichon:

Yep. That’s great. Kind of a back to roots story for you. So, that’s amazing. Listen, I really appreciate you spending time with me today. Good luck. Welcome to the team. Safe travels out there.

Rich Hlavka:

Thank you. You too. You take care and be safe out there in San Francisco. I think they still have lots of fires, so be safe. Cheers.

Michael Cichon:

Thanks, Rich.

Rich Hlavka:

You’re welcome.