Security Awareness Training for the Masses

Unsecurity Podcast

On this week’s episode of the UNSECURITY Podcast, Evan and Brad are joined by Gabriel Friedlander. Gabriel was looking for a way to bring security awareness training to the masses. He used a similar concept to how marketing teams express complex concepts and sell using 30-second- and minute-long videos to build a training video platform called Wizer. Today, Wizer has free and paid training options and relies heavily on social media to promote good security practices for consumers and businesses alike. Give episode 133 a listen or watch and send questions, comments, and feedback to

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Podcast Transcription:

[00:00:23] Evan Francen: All right. Welcome listeners. Thanks for tuning in to this episode of the Unsecurity podcast. This is episode one 33 and the date is May 25th 2000 and 21. Joining me is my good friend, highly skilled information security expert and a guy. I’m trying to stroke his ego a little bit Brad Nigh. Hi Brad.

[00:00:42] Brad Nigh: Hello, thanks.

[00:00:44] Evan Francen: Right, let’s try to lift you up a little bit. But I’m also really excited for this episode because we’re joined by, you know, really an exceptional person that I got to know uh, maybe maybe a year ago. Uh Gabe Friedlander from wiser. Welcome Gabe.

[00:01:02] Gabriel Friedlander: Thank you very much for those kind words.

[00:01:05] Evan Francen: That’s the truth man. People who know me, yeah. People who know me know that. I don’t, I don’t sugarcoat things. I really do think you’re an exceptional person. I love what you’re doing and wiser.

[00:01:16] Gabriel Friedlander: Thank you.

[00:01:17] Evan Francen: So tell me tell me about you a little bit. I think you know, how did you get from maybe where? Because I think you didn’t you are you exited out of a really successful company and then here we are. You know, starting wiser, tell us about that a little bit.

[00:01:33] Gabriel Friedlander: Yeah, so I exited um, out of observe it. It’s a company that we sold to proofpoint uh, about a year and a half ago, a little bit more I think and it was an insider threat monitoring solution. We were, you know, looking at what people are doing inside the network. We found always, we found stuff, it’s not, it wasn’t necessarily all malicious, but it still put the business at risk. You know, the intent didn’t really matter for the business, you know, if somebody hits you on the road, you don’t really ask what was your intent, You know, you get hurt. So for me it was natural to progress to training people, but in between what happened was so you know, I exited and I had time to sort of like hang out with my family with my friends a little bit more. Um, and I realized that, you know, I’ve been for so long dealing with, you know, cybersecurity and technology and now that I’m talking to my family more about this topic, you know, I realized that I forgot about them, you know, like they don’t have two factor authentication and I hope nobody hears that. Well actually it’s not the best platform to say that, but basically yeah, you know, I haven’t, I realized that they don’t really know a lot about online safety. So I was dealing with companies and not with, you know people and for me I figured out this is a mission that I want to, you know, take on myself, I want, No, I have more free time now I have more resources. Um, let’s take everything that I learned and and take it to the masses. And what I felt is, you know, I’ve used, I’m late to the game with the security awareness space, you know, like 15 years later almost. But I realized that nobody took it to the masses, you know, nobody, it’s all enterprise and it’s all very techie and I know that if my kids or my family or my friends will watch those videos, they will get just bored to death. And for me, I realized, okay, we have to consume, arise it, you know, that’s sort of like my line of thought, how do we make videos? Uh, something that people want to watch security awareness videos. Now, if you think about cyber security in general, there’s really no reason why it wouldn’t be really interesting. It’s like uh, it’s like a crime movie, right? Like it has all the ingredients. What, what’s the difference between that and a James Bond movie just happens in cyber, but everything is the same, you know, Impersonating instead of masks and it’s really a good story that we can tell, but we don’t tell stories were so picky on the details, you know, look here, look there, what about the context, you know, what about the story? So I thought to myself, if we can take it and make it similar to um instagram stories or Tiktok stories, you know, in the format one minute videos short and to the point and believe me a minute is a long time companies do adds half a minute and they’re able to sell, you know, a lot. Why can’t we say something, you know, and raise awareness even half a minute. So this was for me a challenge and that sort of, you know, the things that led me to start wiser and because I wanted to give it to the masses, I actually started with the free version. I said, you know, I’ll figure out, I’ll figure out later, you know, how we will make money out of it. But first of all, let’s see that the basic idea works that people are actually willing to listen two security awareness training videos, let’s start with that. So I created those videos, this format, I started to post them on linkedin. I hired some developers, we started to develop the wiser platform and for the first half year, I think something like that, we had it completely free. We never even, we didn’t even have a paid version and I had customers coming to me and say I want to pay, but I said we don’t have a paid version. It’s only free. People were really confused by that by the way they thought it’s a scam like what tell me I won’t use your free version until I understand your business model. I just can’t, sorry, I love you what you’re doing, but I won’t do that. And I told him, you know, wait, we just got started, you know, give us some time later we introduced the boost version and that’s how we’re making money. And that’s the upgrade version. But the basic free version still exists, it’s about 20 videos. You get a full uh, full blown training system, you have the learning management system, you can track employees, you can see, you know, you have reminders, dashboards, honestly everything that, you know, a company needs to the security awareness. And we published a lot of those videos on social media as well. So I do that, you know, um, every week I published on the premium videos as well, by the way, I publish them on linkedin because it’s really about creating that awareness. And now we actually started doing that also on Tiktok. So we have some videos we created and we’re publishing them on Tiktok and other platforms because the basic idea hasn’t changed. We need to get to the masses. That’s why we also have nothing gated. Almost all of our webinars, Rpgs are guides we even published right now and all of us, 10, of course the 10 videos and it’s completely free, not gated. You know, you go to our website almost 10, you see 10 videos. Um, and that’s something that, you know, I deeply care about. I, I feel that we can make an impact and that that motivates me the fact that I see people responding to it. Well, that’s awesome man, long introduction, sorry for that, but I got

[00:07:22] Brad Nigh: excited. You can tell the passion

[00:07:25] Evan Francen: well and that’s the reason why we have you here. I mean the listeners here, me and brad jabber, you know regularly, I want people to get to know you because I think I love your mission, I think, and for that for the listeners, you haven’t been there yet. The website is wiser dash training dot com and it’s W I Z E R dash training dot com. You should go check it out, get your grandparents, your parents, your kids.

[00:07:53] Brad Nigh: I was looking at it before and I was like, okay, this is actually pretty cool. So I sent it over to our consulting team, all of the CSS and I guarantee you they will spread the word.

[00:08:06] Gabriel Friedlander: So that’s a really cool, I do a lot of things that are outside the, you know, because of the mission. So now we’re doing, for example, for elderly communities. So we’re doing, we just got started, you know, but we’re doing webinar sessions where we train them, you know, remotely through remote sessions and we do those webinars and talk to them and have interactive sessions were all, you know, all the employees are, you know, with the same, this mission and what drives us is like, well we make an impact by doing this.

[00:08:37] Evan Francen: I love that because we’re also very mission driven. So I can I can totally relate to one here saying uh, I think that when we first met, it was about RS to me tool which still has a long, long way to go. And that’s also free. But I think there’s, you know, as we continue to what I’d like to put in that tool, even like after this call is go get references to wiser training, you know, in our platform, you know, for what’s the next step? What’s, where should I go next? Or you know, maybe I didn’t understand what I was reading.

[00:09:13] Gabriel Friedlander: Yeah. You know, the free is important, but we set ourselves on a mission, right? So we’re not creating free but crap. Like the idea was, let’s create free better than paid. So free is just a model. But you don’t treat people that get something for free as, you know, uh less, you know, less better or, or less of a customer, you have to treat them at the same level, you know, so everything we’re doing is is always to keep that level high and it’s not a demo, it’s not a trial. It’s something that, and we grew exponentially like last year alone, almost 9000 organization joined, you know, the wiser platform and it just took off like crazy and it’s because it’s a great product,

[00:10:04] Brad Nigh: you have the, on the head earlier with, you know, so much of the training out there is, yeah, watching people with bad acting, right? Oh no, I didn’t know you could do that? Uh there are a couple of other options that are, you know, a little more fun, but they’re still, you know, half hour 15, 20 minutes and yeah, like you said, I mean It’s tough. We can, when we do the in person training after about 25, 30 minutes, you can see people starting to check out.

[00:10:35] Gabriel Friedlander: You know, we always ask ourselves, will this go viral? So it’s all about entertainment. It’s about, you know, the emotional hook. It’s the same. We think like marketers to some degree, did I capture the person? I know they’re forced to watch it, but I don’t give myself that, you know, that slack, like I’m fine. You know the way we look at this, will they watch it if they’re not forced to, did we capture their attention in the 1st 15 seconds? Did we? You know, it always have to have some tension, you know, some expectation in the movie. That’s why I said, it’s like more like social media videos versus um, you know, just entertainment and fun. You know, it’s so there’s a lot of social media aspects to it. That’s why people share it also on social media, you know, um, they actually watched the videos.

[00:11:27] Brad Nigh: Yeah, that’s awesome.

[00:11:28] Evan Francen: Well, and it’s so cool because you like married security stuff too. Like this personal viral marketing stuff. Right? That’s, I mean you’re a genius and

[00:11:41] Gabriel Friedlander: how you work, What do you think about

[00:11:44] Evan Francen: it? I know, but

[00:11:46] Gabriel Friedlander: the obvious stuff is so genius, why not? You know, we want, what is awareness? We want to raise awareness. We have to think like marketers, we have to capture people’s attention first. If we don’t have their attention, they won’t listen. Even if they’re forced doesn’t matter. Um, so you have to, it’s just like common. I don’t know. I don’t think it’s genius. I think it’s just a different hat that you put on yourself and you tell yourself I don’t, I’m not selling it. You know, it sounds weird, but I’m not selling it to the sea. So as much as I want to sell it to the sea, so I am selling it to the employee that’s who I care about.

[00:12:22] Brad Nigh: Yeah, that’s a, that’s a really good plan and approach

[00:12:26] Gabriel Friedlander: a lot of people are selling features. You know, they’re like, okay, what features do we need? And you know, for me is content is king. You have to have good content. You know, otherwise people who cares about the features, you know, like people are not watching it

[00:12:41] Evan Francen: now. It makes perfect sense. But that’s the thing about so much about what even what we do insecurity stuff like, you know the day to day security dirty things we do. It’s the obvious. You know, when you, when you come across these things you’re like that’s not genius? That’s that’s obvious, but but then why weren’t we doing it? Yeah. And here you’re doing it. It’s like, it’s so cool to see it be

[00:13:05] Gabriel Friedlander: successful. Thank you were just over complicate things because in our hearts where I meet me as well, you know, I mean, I love technology. So we love the aspect of technology, but we forget because most of us are not marketers, you know, in, you know, in in our nature. So we talk technology, that’s what we do. We love it. You know, we’re all passionate about it. So it’s very easy to talk among us technology, but other people don’t care. What can I say? I want them to care, but they don’t.

[00:13:36] Brad Nigh: Well, it’s so easy because we, we speak this language and acronyms and all the different things day in and day out. You know, I told us when we moved into our house, you know, the neighbor was asking, what do you do? So I started going off and telling him, you know, here’s all the things. And he’s like, like, okay, stop. Because I’m just a boat salesman. I don’t understand anything you’re saying. And I’m like, oh, it’s so easy.

[00:14:02] Gabriel Friedlander: That’s what we need to remember. You know, we need to talk to people outside our circles, We talk too much among ourselves if we only talk to people outside our circles about what we do will realize how how many, you know, jargon we’re using instead of just simple, you know? Yeah,

[00:14:21] Evan Francen: I love it, man and and the platform is attractive for anybody who hasn’t been uh it’s attractive easy to use, easy to navigate. Um can you mentioned, you know, being 15 years, you know late too the training and awareness game. Yeah, that’s true. But you you took it to a place where it’s revolutionizing it. I think you have others that have been embedded in this community for a long time that are taking noticeable in like wow we we sort of missed the boat on a lot of this,

[00:14:52] Gabriel Friedlander: you know, I honestly hope that others will you know, join because here is the thing here is a funny thing, we target small medium businesses and that’s how when we develop the product, we’re saying to ourselves, you know, okay there is no I. T. Guy in our security guy, we have to train employees, this is sort of our audience, but larger organizations love that too. So they also buy. But the thing the interesting thing is that almost all of our competitors opt out and that’s crazy from the small medium business. They’re like They’re okay 5200 employees minimum to buy our product or there’s a setup fee like so they left us a huge market for grabs and we’re just collecting them every day. We’re selling every day, you know, and fast deals because they’re just out there for grabs. So I’m actually, you know on the one hand I’m thinking my competitors for like, you know opting out, but on the other hand come back honestly because the mission is more important. Look, there’s it’s huge enough for everyone to succeed. I’m not concerned with competition. I want just, you know, the masses to be more aware and I, you know, my belief is we’re going to build a good product and we do a good job will sell, you know, like it’s enough for everyone. So I’m actually calling back the competitors, you know, drop those minimums, those set up fees and just start selling to the S and Ds they actually needed the most.

[00:16:23] Brad Nigh: Yeah,

[00:16:24] Evan Francen: like

[00:16:24] Brad Nigh: You said, Evan, you know, security, there’s there’s enough to go around, it’s gonna keep everyone busy. But I don’t get those people that focus on the top 20% only in the fight over them and everyone else, it’s a

[00:16:39] Gabriel Friedlander: different business model. You know, they have high salaries for sales guys and and they they applaud the million dollar deal. So all the other sales guys want to also, you know, do the million dollar deal and then who cares about, I don’t know, a small dentist office with maybe 10 employees. Like who cares that nobody appreciates that deal. So, and for us, we clap, you know when I close when my cells guys are closing like a two dentist office we’re going to do on boarding for them. It’s the same big customers like why not

[00:17:18] Brad Nigh: that I love hearing that and you know that treating people right doing the right thing. It’s like you know mission before money it’s gonna come, word gets out, they’re gonna tell people. So

[00:17:30] Gabriel Friedlander: yeah. What’s your alternative to like pay google and facebook and all the others for ads to put in people’s face. You know you can, it’s it’s where you put your money. If you get something for free then you’re investing in the community and word of mouth and that’s actually an asset right? When you put money in an ad, once you stop putting money you have zero assets like everything drops. You haven’t built anything. There’s no word of mouth nothing. So just invest in the community. It’s just way, way more profitable.

[00:17:59] Evan Francen: Yeah. I love that. Well. And so how about you know collaborating and working with others in the community. Do you a lot? Do you do like any integrations or anything like that where people have got wiser in their tool or vice versa.

[00:18:18] Gabriel Friedlander: So what we’re doing again we’re a young company. So we did, we started to do that but we’re doing more of that 11 type is actually cyber insurance. So they’re bundling our product into the policy. So you buy a policy and here you go. So the cyber insurance pays us and the customer gets that for free. Um and then we have some kind of integration where the users on boarded. You know when they’re on border to the cyber insurance are automatically on border to wiser and um also the insurance company, if the customer allows them they can see how many people were trained so next year if everyone was trained the premiums will go down because the risk level went down. So there is some nice integration over there. Um other than that we obviously have all the sso vendors you know like locked and all of that, all those type of integrations with HR and with single sign on. Um but we are looking, you know we’re now starting to it’s hard to grow fast by the way. It’s a it’s a it’s a problem. It’s a good problem it’s a good problem. Don’t get me wrong but it’s still a challenge. Right? Like a lot of things are happening you have to grow your your you know your customer success, your support a lot of things. So so many moving parts the past year and and this last quarter was amazing. This quarter is even better but now we’re starting to stabilize and we’re looking to do more integration. I can see a lot of type of integration with DLP vendors with you know because we can trigger in so many ways we can provide training in context think for example let’s say you log in to a new app before logging in. Maybe we can show you how to create a strong password, You know a video like 0.5 min video how to create a strong password before you log in or when somebody did something, you know, out of policy, we can trigger a training. So there’s so many things we can do. Um so I’m really like, I mean I’m bullish about, you know, where this can go and then I don’t know a year or two.

[00:20:17] Evan Francen: Well I think there’s, you know, because even in our own platform, in the security studio platform, we are in december. Um, even rs to me is really limited in its functionality and I think has a long ways to go just to be, I think more effective, more viral. Like you’re saying, uh, it’s the state of North Dakota, uh, you know, made it available to all of their citizens in the state and then put it on there. What is it? Uh, I can’t remember the tagline, but put it on their government website for everybody. We also have a meeting today with the state of Washington. Very cool. What I think what, what I’d like to do is, you know, and maybe after, you know this talk, we can um figure out a way to bring wiser into that discussion to.

[00:21:09] Gabriel Friedlander: I would love that. I love that. We’re, we started to do that with some cities um, to create like a citizen page and uh, when we sell to education, we actually come to the education and say, hey, can you, can you put those videos on your website for the students? At least they will have a free. So we’re like, you know, we’re pushing to bundle that in just so we can get to those masses again.

[00:21:34] Evan Francen: Yeah, I love it, man. It’s uh it’s cool because your heart’s in the right place to, you know, so many of the people you work with in this industry, they’ll say that they care, but you know, there is a catch. I mean, there’s a reason why so many people, you know, at the beginning we’re questioning you. It’s because they’ve been burned

[00:21:53] Brad Nigh: before. Yeah,

[00:21:56] Gabriel Friedlander: you don’t think about it. Who would you buy a lemonade from, from? So there’s a kid selling a lemonade and a lemonade stand and there’s a vending machine, right? Like both same product, exactly same price. Exactly. Where do you go to the kid or to the vending machine? Same product, exactly the same price.

[00:22:18] Evan Francen: I’d go to the kid, but if it was an adult, I’d go to the vending machine,

[00:22:22] Gabriel Friedlander: What do you mean? Yeah, Most people would probably go to the kid to support them because there’s a story behind it. You know, like, it’s because of that, why, you know, like they see the kids, they see they understand the intent of the kid is to grow, like, you know, a vending machine is like, you know, they’re like, I’m talking about next to each other. You know, there’s something people buy because of what you do, Not necessarily just the price or the future is like they connect to your story so they need to understand why are you doing what you’re doing. You know that’s really really important. You have to understand for your own company. Like everybody in the company has to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing in order for us to, you know to grow and for people to trust us.

[00:23:07] Evan Francen: We’ve seen right? There are some really there’s some really good tips to I think for CSOS even in a large organization right? If I want to get people to buy in, well I have to connect with them just like you’re saying

[00:23:19] Brad Nigh: actually

[00:23:20] Gabriel Friedlander: yeah that’s something that I’ve posted today about, you know in sales in general, you know facts. There’s a saying I didn’t make it up, facts tell, you know stories sell. So you can, you can say facts all day. See so can say facts all day. But like you said you get to get, you have to get there by in if you want people to actually change behavior and habits so you have to share stories. You have to make it personal. Like why would I care? Oh you know it’s not only about our company, you know, here is how you can protect your facebook account, your instagram account, your kids. You know this is what you can do to protect your kids. Then people start to open up and listen.

[00:24:03] Evan Francen: Yeah that’s great. Yeah that’s cool,

[00:24:06] Gabriel Friedlander: man. Uh, yeah,

[00:24:08] Evan Francen: I just, I just took no pets to compel to that backs tell stories sell.

[00:24:14] Gabriel Friedlander: Yeah, I didn’t make it up, but it’s a, it’s a great, you know, again, there’s so much overlap between marketing cells and security because security is about people, we have to remember. It’s not about technology only have technology or process technology people, but people is a big component when you talk to people, then you have to sell it to them. You have to get to buy in.

[00:24:35] Evan Francen: Yeah, that’s awesome. So what, what’s the, what you mentioned the last few quarters have been just awesome. And I know you’re working on some initiatives to some community initiatives. Can you talk a little bit about some of the stuff you’re kind of doing?

[00:24:48] Gabriel Friedlander: Uh, so yeah, there’s a few things, a few things around one. We call it the safety project. It’s for the elderly communities. Um, again, it’s, and that’s funny because, you know, we want to give so much and it’s actually pretty hard to find people that wanna, you know, want to accept. It’s not like for us, at least it’s not very easy. So we’re reaching out to elderly communities. Uh, you know, different places and we’re offering them those remote sessions and we have volunteers, but right now we don’t have so many. So I’m doing most of them. You know, I had chris roberts also do a few. So hopefully this will grow and uh, we’re talking to a big organization that we can do town halls. It’s like an insurance company and healthcare insurance company. Hopefully through them, we can get to a huge amount of elderly communities. So that’s something we’re doing. Another thing is that we’re doing is we’re creating sort of like, uh, like a Tiktok app, not a ticked up, but you know, like Tiktok stories that you can sort of flip flip quickly and that’s more for kids and families. So we, what we did, we reached out to uh, tiktokers and instagram influencers and content creators in Youtube. Actually, people that have no clue about security at all, but we involve them in this project in order to create videos that people can relate to, you know, the, the younger generation. So this is something that we will release soon as well and hopefully, you know, kids will actually want to watch it when you have another kid talking to you versus me. You know, they don’t care about me. I can talk as much as I want, but they don’t want to see me. You know, my kids don’t want to listen to me.

[00:26:26] Brad Nigh: I will tell you, you’re not alone in trying to get into this. I do the volunteer work with through. I see squares, what is it that I am cyber secure, cyber aware, they change it. But I try to go to schools and you know, the elderly and there there look at you like free training.

[00:26:45] Gabriel Friedlander: Yeah.

[00:26:46] Brad Nigh: What exactly like you said, what’s the catch? I’m like

[00:26:50] Gabriel Friedlander: or I have my I. T. Guy, they’re good or like you know there’s so many and you end up like you have to sell it by the way, free general, you know, when you get something for free, it doesn’t mean that people are there to take it, you know, it costs money to give something for free. People forget it. You know, you don’t just say, hey free and then everybody jumps on the board and I want to have it. You know, there’s a lot of free things that I don’t want to touch, you know.

[00:27:15] Evan Francen: Right? That’s very true. Well I love the feedback that you gave me a while back to on our own tools. Yes. To me, you know, you, you gave me some good feedback and we’re focused on so many like today, you know, now we’re so focused on state and local government trying to get them, you know, sort of squared away. But you know, there’s a state and local government, you know, filters down to, you know, k 12, it filters down to cities, municipalities. It eventually it filters down to individual people on the street, right? So we have to kind of make that connection all the way through.

[00:27:52] Gabriel Friedlander: Absolutely. It’s uh yeah, like I said, it’s not easy, but I love that, you know, I’m an entrepreneur and hard and for me it’s sort of like to break through the ice and fine for me sort of also again, you know I enjoy the ride. If I didn’t enjoy the ride, I don’t know if I would have done it. So for me that journey is usually more important than the actual goal. So I know that we won’t train, we want to create, you know we won’t train the entire world. Like the goal is crazy, right? Like to make everybody’s security aware. But the journey there is fun. You know every time we see another community getting trained or or more people saying thank you. You know this helped me or send it to my dad, my mom, my kid thank you and all of that. You know it motivates you to do more. So the journey is for me it’s what’s the most in wrote in part.

[00:28:41] Evan Francen: Absolutely. So how when did you start wiser? How long, how about

[00:28:46] Gabriel Friedlander: two years ago we started to actually develop it. Um, and we went to market um last year. Early last year.

[00:28:54] Evan Francen: Okay. It’s crazy how fast Yeah.

[00:28:57] Gabriel Friedlander: How fast you forever. Right? Yeah.

[00:29:00] Evan Francen: Yeah because you go on you because you’re a master at marketing on Lincoln too.

[00:29:07] Gabriel Friedlander: You know what, I enjoy it. It’s not even marketing, its here is the thing, it’s like going to a party and talking to people once you remember that that you’re not there on stage to like teach everybody or you’re just going to hang out with great people and you can pose a question and get responses. And I tell you, I learned so much from people on linkedin. Like I grew exponentially from knowledge point of view from, you know, like my network grew, it’s just amazing. If you just put that hat off, you know, I’m just going to talk to people, then it’s just a different, you’re not there to push your product, you know, you’re there to make an impact and you’re there to talk to people. That’s all it is.

[00:29:52] Evan Francen: Well, you know, it’s on that too, by the way,

[00:29:54] Brad Nigh: I think you’ve nailed it right. Like, that’s one of the things I think we do pretty well is relate to the people, the customers and that’s why we’re we do well. Like, if you treat them, you know as equals and don’t talk down to him, it’s amazing what

[00:30:12] Gabriel Friedlander: happened. And there is no reason to talk down to anyone look social media. People think that well, it is, you know, it’s about lights and views and all that, but it doesn’t help really, except for maybe, you know, feeling good. But if you want to make an impact, you know, You want to talk to people, there is no way around it. You know, people like, and continue, you know, that doesn’t, that doesn’t give you anything, you know, 10 to, you could put a cat on linked in and, you know, a fun one and get a lot of views. And, but what’s the point are you collecting views? Are you collecting conversation meaningful conversation, getting to know people like, what’s the point? Are you going to a party and high fiving as many people as possible or you’re going to a party to have like fun discussions with a few people.

[00:31:00] Evan Francen: Like your insight. I’m gonna, this is gonna be, you know, This is episode 133 and I don’t think I’ve ever listened two. I’ve never listened to one of our podcasts because I don’t like listening to myself, but I think there’s so many good nuggets in this particular episode that I’m gonna go back in west into it. I’m taking notes as well.

[00:31:22] Gabriel Friedlander: Maybe I should listen to myself. I don’t always operate based on what I was saying. You know, we’re all governments,

[00:31:28] Evan Francen: that’s fine because at the end of the day that you’re exactly right. You know, we do the same thing, right? Information security is not about information or security as much as it is about people, it’s always people right in my biggest challenges. Well, there’s lots of things that I don’t, I just don’t have skills, right? Uh but when I watch somebody like you build a company as quickly as you have, that resonates with people. There’s a lot of things I want to emulate, right? There’s a lot of things that I was like, yeah, that’s a great idea because just like you I’m not motivated by money at all. I’m motivated by did I make things better or worse? Uh So yeah I’m gonna steal all kinds of stuff as much as I can from you

[00:32:16] Gabriel Friedlander: again. It’s uh as long as you enjoy the ride, I think that’s what matters most. You know it’s uh its success is on the way and you know I had my share of failures. I can talk about them all day long but that’s you know if you use them as stepping stones if you learn from them and you know you take those failures and you say okay what do I do now to improve then? It’s all good.

[00:32:41] Brad Nigh: I think another thing just listening to you and see watching you react to Evan kind of giving those compliments, you have to tell your humble to you’re not full of yourself, your you know and that has to contribute to your success

[00:32:55] Gabriel Friedlander: uh depends who you ask. But yeah

[00:33:00] Brad Nigh: your kids don’t care

[00:33:02] Evan Francen: right? Well so compare this to like observe IT you were there I think you know according to what you have online 14 years. Uh and you talk about you know enjoying the ride, compare this ride that you’re on right now with that Pfizer to observe it.

[00:33:18] Gabriel Friedlander: So first of it’s a very different right? And and by the way that’s important because some people that you know entrepreneurs that give advice to others, you can’t replicate one experience and you know, copy paste it to the next experience, you know, one experiences one experience. And so that’s important, you know, when you talk to somebody, uh, so observe it. First of all, I started with hardly any money, right? Like I, I was okay. I did well before that, but I didn’t have that, you know, uh, luxury to actually like I’m doing now, like I’m funding wiser, you know, so like that’s something that was very hard to do it, observe it even though, so we went to a lot of VCS at the beginning and nobody wanted to invest in us in the early days And we were actually selling so observe it was actually pretty good, we’re making money and we bootstrapped the company for about seven years and got it to about, you know, $10 million dollars of revenues before being capital came in and invested money. And then we grew more and you know, and at the end of the day we sold it, but it was a roller coaster and it was, it took longer and also with observe it, it wasn’t, we talked about insider threat And inside a threat back then we’re talking about 14 years ago when we went to meetings and we spoke about insider threat. People were like, no, no, no, you know, even maybe you’re right about this, maybe it is a problem, but we can’t sell this internally, we can’t tell our employees, we don’t trust them. We can’t. So, you know, I was battling so many fronts, you know, people said, yeah, make sense. But I can’t because of culture. So that was hard. And and and back then we were okay, how do we pivot from this before we got back to insider threat? So we were okay, we hear you. So what about your business partners, all your remote vendors that are connecting to your system, Do you know what they’re doing? And they were like, no, no, there are always to blame. You know, so everybody is blaming the remote vendors, you know, all those that connect from remote. So they were very happy to install, observe it for remote vendors and then they figured out that usually they were fine and they were the problem. So that’s how we sort of like penetrated and got in and and the company eventually grew to the leading company that does inside the fact that, you know, it was an interesting pivot how to get in. Um and it took longer with, with wiser, it’s first of all, okay, so observant was enterprise sell, we knocked on doors, right? Um, with wiser, it’s 100% inbound. So very uh you know, low cost in terms of the sales process. A lot of inbound. So it’s just such a different company in every way, you look at it. You know, observe, it was agent based, you know, very heavy on technology. Very, very, you know, agent colonel level on Lennox, you’re next, you know, uh, windows max. It was crazy. Just think about the support, you know, and to build this. But eventually we moved to the cloud. But again, that’s, you know, that’s through that process With wise, it was built for the cloud, you know, from, from the get go. So we were, we had the advantage to start from the newest technology while my competitor, they started 15 years ago actually have a disadvantage. Right? Um, so look, and it’s a different experience. I think with observe it. I was more, I would say scared a little bit, you know, because it’s all or nothing. And for me wiser was okay. This is, this is about the mission. You know, even if I don’t make money, you know, I, I’m doing okay. You know, I’m fortunate I want to get this to the masses. You know, it doesn’t cost about to operate the free version. We can do it. You know, we’ll figure out maybe whatever, Maybe donations. I was even thinking, you know, maybe people will do it whatever. And it turned out to be the best business model ever. You know, I never thought about it, you know, like that at the beginning, but it turned out to be the fastest growing business model that I can imagine.

[00:37:18] Evan Francen: That’s cool. And it’s fascinating because a lot of times entrepreneurs, you see them sort of replicate, you know, you mentioned

[00:37:26] Brad Nigh: the copy

[00:37:27] Evan Francen: paste copy paste.

[00:37:28] Gabriel Friedlander: Yeah, you can’t, you can’t no change times change, you can’t back then you can’t call cold people anymore. You can, but they won’t answer. You know, it used to work like 10 years ago, you know, we have people on the phone cold calling. People don’t believe in anymore. You know, I don’t want to harass people, but even if you do believe in it, it’s, it’s much harder today, You know, than 10 years ago. So you just can’t replicate a lot of things. Social media wasn’t as strong back then as it is today. A lot of things have changed. You have to adapt, you know, sort of like what you’re seeing in your background. You know, you have to adapt. You have to grow, you can’t think, you know, the first chain and just continue with as if nothing changed.

[00:38:13] Brad Nigh: Well, that’s what we’ve got the incident response plan template out on our website. And it was quickly when I think what whatever, maybe in two weeks, it was the top results when you search it and it accounts for like 80% of the traffic. It’s insane. But yeah, you could put a good quality product out there. Hey, guess what? People are gonna notice it and then who are they going to remember, you know, a fire, I remain

[00:38:43] Gabriel Friedlander: focused on the customer, make sure the customer is happy, it’s your responsibility. Don’t just don’t be proactive. Don’t be like, you know, okay. There’s a support then the time to answer is, you know, four hours. We’re good. No, be proactive. You have to be proactive. You have to make sure they’re, you know, they know what they’re doing and the, and the product is working for them successfully and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. Like what do you need my product for? You know, you can do without

[00:39:14] Evan Francen: Yeah.

[00:39:15] Brad Nigh: Well I know we’re going to be putting out, I hope I’m glad to say that. So uh, we’re gonna start, you know, putting out policy templates and kind of doing a monthly release with a blog about, hey, why is this important? And you know, how can you get buying and compliance because we see so many bad policies.

[00:39:34] Gabriel Friedlander: Yeah.

[00:39:34] Brad Nigh: To start with something simple, easy to understand. It doesn’t have to be an 80 page

[00:39:40] Gabriel Friedlander: document. How do you talk to the end user, talk to the end user? You know, when you do your policy, not only to the sea. So hey, what do you think? You know, I want to talk with one of your employees. Can I send this to them? Can I ask them what they think?

[00:39:54] Brad Nigh: Yeah, we definitely took feedback internally from the, you know, I’ll say back off as people, right. We were creating really the acceptable use because we just put everything that they need in wine and yeah, Okay. Do you understand this? Do you under you know most I think what policies are typically college level if you do the word um whatever analysis and the average reading level in the US is like 8th grade.

[00:40:22] Gabriel Friedlander: Yeah. How you can also how many policies you know how many policies are reasonable for a person to actually remember to follow. So you may have tons of policies that are important. But are you brave enough to tell the customer, you know what let’s just focus on these set of policies. Why? Because this is an amount of information at least for I don’t know stage one You can layer it you know like you know every quarter or whatever. But if you want people to remember anything you know here is the 510 things they need to know they need to take home.

[00:40:54] Brad Nigh: That’s exactly

[00:40:54] Gabriel Friedlander: like if you give them 100 things even if it’s simply you know they just want every new policy, you know dilute the other one. It’s like marketing every piece of message reduces the overall

[00:41:08] Brad Nigh: Message. Yeah I think our policy template deck is 16 or 17 depending on if you need PC. I but we took all the relevant pieces out of the all the different ones into that acceptable. So they have one document to look

[00:41:24] Gabriel Friedlander: at. Yeah

[00:41:25] Brad Nigh: And just we know nobody’s gonna read 15 policies like yeah come on they’re just gonna sign

[00:41:30] Gabriel Friedlander: and this is the key what you just said are you do if you’re doing it for people to check the box then it doesn’t matter what you’re right. Who cares? Just you know to apply all and that’s it. You know, check I’ll enter that’s the least friction that you can have and people just keep on going. But if you actually want to change their behavior and you want them to understand the policy man that’s way harder. But that’s the path that’s that’s the path that I think you should go.

[00:41:57] Brad Nigh: Yeah. Yeah because they don’t care about you know uh network management or you know some of those encryptions and they’re just going to gloss over anyway so why you didn’t put it in front of them? Yeah just reference it and they can go and

[00:42:11] Gabriel Friedlander: ask questions that they need to. Yeah. Yeah, segmented whatever it is. Yeah. There’s many ways to do that but that’s sort of that and you know going back policies have been there forever. It’s a market that we can disrupt. You know it is right for disrupt but there needs to be a company like yours you know that has this mindset of I actually want people to understand the policy and to care about it. That’s all you know, if you put that hand I want people to care about this.

[00:42:38] Brad Nigh: I think I have to go back and look and do it again because we’ve written it but I think we got it down to like a 10th grade reading level, which for the content is I was really happy. It’s hard, it’s hard to do because there’s technical things you have to know.

[00:42:52] Gabriel Friedlander: Yeah. And you can even give tips, you know why it’s important to do this also at your home, just you know, side notes, you know, things like that. Hey, if you do this at home, you know, So then it’s like always wanted it for me. Oh I can do this at home. I can state with my network, Oh, I can do this here is more because I want to protect my family. I want to protect my kids. You know, all of those policies Are applicable to everyone, not just to accompany our house. You know, with all the smart devices that we have, we have probably like 15 at least smart devices, you know, our agent like our heating system, everything is smart devices today. So we’re like a small medium business. Our house is like a small medium business. It needs to almost operate like

[00:43:30] Brad Nigh: that. That’s a really good point.

[00:43:32] Evan Francen: No man, I’m I’m just sitting here listening and learning man. I’ve I’ve been in this industry for damn near 30 years and I’m like, yeah, good point preacher brother. I want to tell, you know what I want to take this as along with it. It’s good stuff.

[00:43:47] Brad Nigh: Well I think it’s like you said though, you know, you do this all day long and you don’t, especially in our industry, you know, you get home and or you get done with the day. It’s like I don’t want to do this like I need a break. So I would bet that there’s a lot of security people that are not following best practices that they preach and truly believe in.

[00:44:08] Gabriel Friedlander: Yeah, of course. You know like mhm

[00:44:12] Evan Francen: Yeah.

[00:44:14] Brad Nigh: The way he said that it was like, yeah, makes sense.

[00:44:19] Evan Francen: Yeah. I mean I’ve never made the connection between, you know, you have 101,520 devices at home. It’s like a small business in terms of technology, right? So you have to protect it.

[00:44:31] Brad Nigh: I do not mind that these

[00:44:33] Gabriel Friedlander: people should know it. You know, I don’t know if they’re accepting the rest it’s something else, but at least no, you know right now where I know I’m working on a I I asked you know, on linkedin, I crowdsourced, I want to create a guy for you know buying a smart device and putting it in your company and like unfortunately, you know, the real answer is no smart devices secure, you know, you have to treat them that way. And that sort of sucks. You know like there’s so many comments but nobody has like, you know, do this and especially for home like what are you asking people to do to like put a small lab, see where the connections are going. It’s yeah,

[00:45:14] Brad Nigh: you know, but I have a pretty good segmentation, uh you know, all of my IOT is on its own wireless, I can’t talk to anything. My kids are on their own. I have my own personal one for work. But how do you explain that or get somebody who’s not technically adept to go into the router and set up exactly documentation. They’re going to be like example.

[00:45:38] Gabriel Friedlander: No, that’s another start up guys. There’s so many good ideas, there’s so many problems to tackle that, you know that it’s simplicity is just such a great product to be honest. You know, if you bring that simplicity home here is a product where you can easily segment you plug it in. It shows you oh, this is an IOT device will put it there. Oh this is a computer will put it there or ask, there’s so many things we can do to help people and if it’s relatively the same price, they will think opt in, you know? Yeah, I get it. People probably won’t pay more for security but doesn’t have to cost more. Yeah, it has to be, it could be the same router was just, you know, a better interface that supports security.

[00:46:23] Brad Nigh: Well, you know, one of the want those ideas that I have that I just haven’t gotten too, is Is doing some research funding the top five cable modems and researching and putting together and easy to understand step by step, here’s how you change the default password.

[00:46:40] Gabriel Friedlander: Yeah,

[00:46:41] Brad Nigh: if you search that, it’s not easily, you know, you can get lost and we’ve got the wrong sites, so just finding

[00:46:49] Gabriel Friedlander: something or get hacked, you know, you can running a script that will do it for you and then you’re done

[00:46:55] Brad Nigh: right.

[00:46:57] Evan Francen: Mhm. Good

[00:46:58] Gabriel Friedlander: stuff, good

[00:47:01] Evan Francen: stuff. Well, I want to tell users again how to get to you gave its uh wiser, W I Z E R dash training dot com, yep, Go go check it out. I highly recommend it. I’m gonna I’m going to spend some more time with it myself

[00:47:20] Brad Nigh: today. I’m gonna send it to my kids and then I’ll testimony

[00:47:24] Gabriel Friedlander: so for that I thank you very much for your support guys. I really appreciate it. And I always, you know, you know, I I enjoy talking to you. What can I say? You know, we remember that last year we spoke and you know, we should do it more, should do it, let’s do this. You know,

[00:47:40] Evan Francen: absolutely, I look forward to doing more with you and uh you know, I’ve been intending to um you know donate some time to, you know, some of the causes that you’re, you know, working on. It’s just things get away from you, but you know, I need to make a recommitment to that because I want to align myself with good people who are in this for the right reasons. We need more of that in this industry. We need less, get money at all costs. We need more. Let’s help people.

[00:48:10] Gabriel Friedlander: Yeah, by the way they go hand in hand, if you if you do good and your help and you and people understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, you also be, you know, naturally you will do better also in from business, it’s all about, you know, that’s different, you know, topic, you know? But you can align your business model to work with good, you know, doing good doesn’t mean doing less money, it doesn’t contradict each other. You just have to have that right business model. And I think uh it, you know, if you’re doing good money, you can do more good as well, you know? So

[00:48:46] Brad Nigh: it’s true about building those relationships and trust, right? Like at the end of the day, that’s what you said it, I mean, to work with someone, you have to trust them and like,

[00:48:58] Evan Francen: oh things yeah, you got to be credible. You gotta be trustworthy and I need to like you.

[00:49:06] Gabriel Friedlander: Mhm.

[00:49:07] Evan Francen: Yeah. So don’t be a jerk actually do what you say, you’re gonna be able to do and you know, don’t take advantage of people.

[00:49:15] Brad Nigh: It’s not hard

[00:49:18] Gabriel Friedlander: for the money, does that, you know, taking advantage is, you know, thinking short term, it’s, you know, it’s it’s

[00:49:24] Brad Nigh: just

[00:49:27] Gabriel Friedlander: work, we live in communities, you know, we that’s how we survive working with people, right? Like, you know, that’s how it is.

[00:49:36] Evan Francen: We have to surround ourselves with the grill. I mean, well this is going to be the, honestly, this is going to be the first episode I think I’ll go back and listen to because I want to pull more nuggets out of it because you were so aligned and why we’re in this business. And I want to learn more about, you know, what’s making you successful so that, you know, we can march right alongside and and have a better impact on the community together.

[00:50:00] Gabriel Friedlander: I would love to collaborate more and you know, uh yeah, we should touch this again and, and, and think about what we can do together. You know, we’re definitely are, we have a lot of overlap. So this is something that we can, you know, both work to do better.

[00:50:15] Evan Francen: I agree. 100%. Alright, well, thanks. Thank you again, Gabe. So awesome that you joined us for this episode. I think our listeners are going to give up a ton of value out of this. Uh any shout outs for anybody this week. You got any shout outs, you want to give Gabe

[00:50:33] Gabriel Friedlander: uh, you know, I’ll give it to the community. Honestly, the community is amazing. I don’t want to like shout out on, you know, one or two persons because I’m gonna leave so many behind, but I can’t express how thankful I am to the community, like you said, I haven’t been for so long in the community, it’s only about a year and a half. Um and you know, people like you and others, I learned so much. Um yeah, as much as I talk a lot about security, you know, I actually came from an entrepreneur background and you know, with doing observe it, I did inside a threat mostly. So when I shifted to wiser, I just learned so much, you know, from those webinars and and and so many smart people, I just, you know, I’m people thank me, but I’m really thankful to the community because I’m getting so much out of it.

[00:51:24] Evan Francen: That’s awesome man, awesome.

[00:51:26] Gabriel Friedlander: Thank you. Thank you community.

[00:51:28] Evan Francen: There you go brad, you gotta shut out.

[00:51:31] Brad Nigh: Uh you know, I’ll just, I’ll take the easy route and agree with Gabe on that one. That’s a really well

[00:51:37] Evan Francen: said there’s no creativity in that bread. Come on, okay, I get it. I’m gonna give a shout out to my wife actually celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary earlier this year.

[00:51:49] Gabriel Friedlander: And I, you

[00:51:50] Evan Francen: know, there’s that saying that old saying that, you know, something that’s too good to be true, probably isn’t sure it’s not good in this case. It actually is both. You know, we bucked the trend on that. She’s an amazing person who uh keep honestly has kept me alive and kept me out of jail, so shut up to her. Mhm. All right, well, thanks for the great conversation guys. Uh if you have something that you’d like to tell us, this is for the listeners feel free to email the show at If you’re the social type socialize with us on twitter, I’m @EvanFrancen Brad’s @BradNigh. How about you? Gave, what do you

[00:52:30] Gabriel Friedlander: want people to find out? I’m on LinkedIn.

[00:52:32] Brad Nigh: Um

[00:52:34] Evan Francen: yeah.

[00:52:34] Gabriel Friedlander: Gabriel Friedlander, awesome.

[00:52:36] Evan Francen: Yeah. If you don’t know where that is, you’re not only did so because I love your stuff there too, man, it’s just great. Uh yeah, that’s it. We’ll talk to you guys next week.