i2Coalition Member Spotlight Q&A: PC Matic
Since 1999, PC Matic has provided forward-thinking cybersecurity solutions for businesses and home customers, and has now added US Government clients to its portfolio. PC Matic’s goal is to achieve zero customer infections and breaches, thus making cybercrime a money-losing proposition. We caught up with Zack Austin, Vice President, Business Development at PC Matic, to discuss modern cyber threats, holistic security, and the power of knowledge.
i2Coalition: Can you give us the elevator pitch for PC Matic?
Zack Austin, Vice President, Business Development at PC Matic: PC Matic provides a zero-trust endpoint security solution through what is called Application Allowlisting. What we’ve done is taken a high maintenance and meticulous method of protection, and made it seamless and easy for any end user. We’ve grown from just a consumer product, to expanding into the B2B and enterprise space. We recently received our FedRAMP authorization, which allows us the ability to protect our federal government. We’ve always been 100% made in America—supply chain risk has always been something that we’ve been passionate about preventing. We take our responsibility very seriously!
i2Coalition: On the PC Matic company website, your team has declared war on “the cyber-mafia”: can you tell us a bit about what you mean by this?
ZA: Our method of protection is proactive rather than reactive, because we believe that in being reactive you’re allowing the hackers, attackers, and cyber terrorists to stay one step ahead. I don’t want to have to predict what they’re gonna do! We take a strict default-deny approach and say “Only allow what we know is good.” We need to be thinking like a hacker in order to protect what is so important to our customers and the nation itself.
i2Coalition: PC Matic has been around since 1999, and it’s safe to say that a lot has changed since then. What impact do you think recent geopolitical events have had on your more recent growth?
ZA: With global tensions rising, we are seeing adversaries kicking into high gear on malicious campaigns such as ransomware. Back then you used to only need one security product and you’d be okay. Now an endpoint requires multiple products, methods, and teams looking to ensure their network’s attack surface is at minimal.
Our endpoint solution has become imperative to layer within existing cyber ecosystems, due to the strict default-deny stance we’ve always taken. The rapid growth we have seen has been a result of the call for industry collaboration to implement Zero Trust solutions, Software Asset Management, and Access Controls.
i2Coalition: PC Matic services home customers, as well as business and government. When growing your service offerings to cover such different sets of needs, what surprised you the most?
ZA: What really surprised me on the business side was that so few people knew where to start. If they were given a threat alert or compliance requirements, they had no idea what Step One would even be. It’s not the users fault when we think about it, because of how much noise is out there. How are they supposed to know what they need specifically? That’s one of the main reasons we joined the i2Coalition, because the education element is such a powerful tool against cyber crime.
i2Coalition: You operate in a multifaceted market. On the business development side, what do you look for in a potential partner?
ZA: I look for a way to offer something that’s actually going to make a difference for the end user. I want to come up with something that is truly proactive and revolutionary—that makes people rethink the way access controls to software and hardware and user identity work, rather than recreating what’s been done a million times. How can we enhance the way your platform functions? A collaborative approach really sends attackers back to the drawing board, and that’s exactly what we want.
i2Coalition: Why did your team find it important to join the i2Coalition?
ZA: If we as an industry don’t fight for Internet freedom, we will lose it. This collaborative effort in this organization is something that PC Matic knew we should be a part of, because we believe in everything that the i2Coalition is doing: fighting for the rights of people and the right to a free Internet. The opportunity to help educate policymakers on technology that affects everyone is such a privilege.
i2Coalition: Which i2Coalition initiatives connect most deeply with your team’s ethos?
ZA: We recently launched our PC Matic VPN, which we’re very proud of. It’s 100% U.S.A.-based, our product and our company being built by Americans to protect America—that’s the tagline! So we are joining the VPN Trust Initiative working group, because we’re starting to see that VPNs are becoming illegal outside of the United States. And that’s wrong. The Internet was built to be free, and now we’re starting to see restrictions put in place within the states. We want to keep this very important product available to everybody and anywhere.
i2Coalition: Where does government policy interface with your work on a daily basis?
ZA: We have day-to-day government clients, but we also work with private-sector clients and end users who have to deal with government-mandated digital protocols. We want to make sure that everybody’s implementing the correct solutions and moving towards a holistic mindset for cybersecurity. That’s where the government and legislative side is so important. They are the megaphone for a message we’re all trying to yell, right? I am one person with this tiny, tiny little voice and they are the giant behemoth with a you know, 1000-watt megaphone able to scream the same thing that PC Matic has been saying for over 20 years, about the importance of identifying threats before having to react to them, and knowing what assets are in your environment and knowing who has the capability to access your most sensitive data.