Very few people will look back at 2020 with a feeling of fondness. It has been a terrible year that impacted people, families, businesses, and society as a whole.
For the team at Cyral too, this was a trying year in many ways. Overnight, we had to figure out how to become a remote-first organization without being set up as one. The year started with a shakeup among venture-funded startups, and with even very prominent companies reducing their goals for the year, we ourselves implemented a spending freeze out of an abundance of caution. Some of our team members’ families were impacted by this horrific virus, and it certainly impaired the overall lifestyle of almost everyone in the company. The prevalent risk of infection seriously challenged our sales and marketing efforts, preventing any in-person contact with our prospects and customers.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.”
— Charles Darwin
At Cyral we ourselves had to throw our 2020 strategy out of the window, and execute almost solely in response to the changing reality of the market. As we look back at the year, we are simply amazed by how much we had to adapt and how well our team handled the changes.
We moved quickly at the beginning of 2020 to ask the team to work from home and freeze all spending. We spent the majority of our time staying close to our existing customers and ensuring we understood the ramifications of the pandemic on their business. Our entire days were spent listening to customers and prospects, and learning how they were dealing with the crisis. Shortly, patterns started emerging before our eyes.
It became clear that the pandemic was going to force organizations big and small to accelerate their adoption of cloud and Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC). We also saw several engineering teams, with their commute time back in their hands, open to spending it learning about new tools that could help improve their overall workflows. This encouraged us to cement our developer-first Security as Code approach to building the product.
In conjunction with IaC, we saw a massive, accelerating shift in the data engineering stack at companies. The IPO of Snowflake and rising popularity of services like Kafka, Databricks, FiveTran, Presto, and others led to the mushrooming of the Data Cloud, an ecosystem of cloud-first services used to store, process, and analyze data. We embraced our message of Data Cloud Security and saw it resonate strongly with enterprises, at a clip we hadn’t imagined.
As the year progressed, we saw strong, horizontal pull from customers ranging in size from Fortune 1000 organizations to up-and-coming startups. What was really interesting for us was that teams in organizations large and small had the same problems, similar deployment needs, and even the same technology evaluation process—”Just give my team the product and the docs, and we will tell you if we like it.” This deeply influenced our GTM strategy to go broad, and to invest heavily in self-service.
Later in the year, we were lucky enough to attract an additional investment from SVCI and our existing investors. The personal investment from some of the most forward leaning CISOs was a major endorsement of our product, technology and strategy. This was quickly followed by two CISO Choice Awards and the Red Herring 100 award, further validating our business plan and momentum.
All this time that we were building our early momentum in the field, our engineering team continued to crank on the product and our platform. Our team stayed close to all of our adopters, our advisers, and our community members to get their feedback and incrementally make our product more valuable and easier to use everyday.
As we get ready to finally bid adieu to 2020, we are extremely grateful to our customers, partners, advisers, and families for supporting us through this year, and we are extremely excited about what is ahead of us. Let’s cap this note with a 2020-apropos meme reference!