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The Halo Series: From Stability to Cybersecurity Stardom with Fayyaz Rajpari



In Episode 17 of The Halo Series, Fayyaz Rajpari, CEO and Founder of IntelliGuards, shares his compelling career journey that led him to establish IntelliGuards. This cybersecurity company aims to safeguard against threats with advanced intelligence. Here’s a deep dive into his story and the insights he provides:


Fayyaz's Career Journey

Fayyaz started his career in the late 90s at Allstate Insurance, transitioning from desktop support to joining the cybersecurity team. His hands-on experience across various roles, from security engineering to incident response, laid the foundation for his deep expertise. His career took him through significant roles at Symantec, Mandiant, FireEye, and other top-tier firms, providing him with a comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity operations.


Founding IntelliGuards

IntelliGuards was born from a need to provide mature and advanced security operations. The company was officially founded in January 2022 in Austin, Texas, during the pandemic. Despite initial challenges, IntelliGuards now operates from Chicago and Toronto, serving clients across the USA and Canada. The company focuses on providing high-value security consulting and operations.


IntelliGuards’ Mission and Strategy

IntelliGuards' mission is to make the world a safer place through intelligent people, processes, and technology. They focus on security operations, threat intelligence, endpoint security, cloud security, and security awareness training. Rajpari emphasizes the importance of developing a product strategy that balances short-term and long-term objectives while adapting to changing market conditions.


Customer-Centric Approach

Understanding and prioritizing customer concerns is crucial. Rajpari advocates for a 360-degree approach to product development, ensuring that improvements benefit all customers. Clear communication and responsiveness are key to maintaining strong customer relationships.


Pricing Strategy

Determining a product's pricing strategy involves understanding market demand and customer value. Rajpari highlights the importance of asking customers about their willingness to pay and analyzing competitors' pricing models. Flexibility in pricing and bundling services can help meet customer needs effectively.


Funding and Resources

IntelliGuards is fully bootstrapped, relying on the support of colleagues and an advisory board. Rajpari discusses various methods for securing funding, including pre-seed rounds, angel investors, and venture capital. He emphasizes the importance of understanding your runway and being cautious about giving away too much equity.


Marketing and Branding

Rajpari believes in simple, clear messaging that resonates with both industry experts and the general audience. Self-promotion and a strong online and offline presence are crucial for building a powerful brand.


Partnerships

IntelliGuards partners with companies like StrikeReady, JupiterOne, and Abnormal Security to enhance their offerings. These partnerships focus on automation, cyber asset management, and next-gen email security.


Conclusion

Fayyaz Rajpari's journey from stability to cybersecurity stardom showcases his adaptability and vision. IntelliGuards continues to revolutionize the technology sector by providing game-changing solutions to keep the world safe.


Introduction

[Music] [Applause] Hello and welcome back to the HALO Series. My name is Brooke Brown, Director of Marketing and Events at Halo Consulting. Today, we are joined by Fayyaz Rajpari, CEO and Founder of IntelliGuards. If you're new to this event, Halo hosts monthly virtual round tables covering current trends in the HR Tech and DEI space. Don't forget to check out the Halo mini series where we hear from executives taking a deep dive in a multi-part series discussing what is keeping them up at night. If you enjoyed this content, hit that like and subscribe button to stay up to date on past and upcoming events along with current trends in the DEI, HR, and Tech space by subscribing to the Halo content hub. Our link is in the description.


Fayyaz's Journey

Throughout our session, we will cover a startup's journey through the product management lens from bringing an idea to life and bringing it to market. Let's get started with Fayyaz. Can you share with our audience where you started your career and how it has evolved into starting your own company, IntelliGuards?


Fayyaz: Yeah, thank you, most definitely. I actually started in the late 90s at Allstate Insurance in Northbrook. Back then, I was doing desktop support and ended up getting introduced to Allstate’s cybersecurity team. I started supporting the security team and eventually joined the information security team as a security engineer. That’s where my journey in cybersecurity started, in the early 2000s. I worked on various aspects like wireless security, public infrastructure, identity access management, endpoint security, and incident response when it was still a relatively unknown field.


I left Allstate in 2010 to join Symantec as a security architect, which was a dream job for me. There, I learned to communicate and present to large audiences and work with sales and product teams. From there, I moved on to Mandiant, which was later acquired by FireEye, and other companies like Octave, Recorded Future, and Gigamon in various roles, including technical, sales, product management, and executive consulting. Over the last few years, I had the opportunity to do some meaningful work, including building security operations centers (SOCs) and leading cybersecurity projects, which led me to start IntelliGuards.


Who is IntelliGuards?

Brooke: That sounds like quite a journey. Can you tell us more about IntelliGuards, who your users are, and your audience in general?


Fayyaz: IntelliGuards is comprised of an intelligence-led team of high-value security consultants focused on high-value partnerships. We work closely with customers and also the people behind the scenes. We intentionally partner with a small group of founders and companies with whom we have strong relationships, making a difference in cybersecurity. We have a research arm focused on cybersecurity tech and we avoid transactional partnerships. Our clients come from various sectors, including finance, tech consulting, and healthcare, and we primarily focus on small to medium-sized organizations that need additional help.


The Mission of IntelliGuards

Brooke: That’s great to hear. What is the mission of IntelliGuards?


Fayyaz: We are hardcore security professionals focused on security operations, threat intelligence, endpoint security, network security, cloud security, and security awareness training. Our mission is to provide intelligent people, processes, and technology to help our customers stay secure.


Developing a Product Strategy

Brooke: Can you discuss your approach to developing a product strategy and balancing short-term and long-term objectives while adapting to shifting market conditions?


Fayyaz: Developing a product strategy is complex. It involves addressing a problem that needs to be solved, having a successful go-to-market plan, and ensuring crisp messaging that everyone understands. Execution is key, and it’s important to prioritize tasks effectively. This involves understanding the market, customer needs, and differentiating ourselves from competitors. Planning is crucial for balancing short-term and long-term objectives.


Improving Based on Customer Feedback

Brooke: How do you prioritize improvements based on customer concerns, and how do you measure the impact?


Fayyaz: Understanding customer concerns and adjusting based on their feedback is crucial. It’s important to communicate with customers, even if you can’t implement their requests immediately. Taking action and responding to customer feedback goes a long way in building strong relationships.


Determining Pricing Strategy

Brooke: What factors do you consider while choosing a product’s pricing strategy?


Fayyaz: Pricing is tough. It’s important to bundle products and services properly and ask customers simple questions like, “Would you buy it, and how much would you pay?” Testing the market and understanding competitors’ pricing models are essential. Flexibility in pricing, such as offering monthly or annual payment options, is also important.


Securing Funding and Resources

Brooke: What methods do you implement to secure funding and support for a startup?


Fayyaz: IntelliGuards is fully bootstrapped, relying on the support of colleagues and an advisory board. When seeking funding, it’s important to sell the value of your product and connect with your audience. Understand your runway and allocate funds appropriately. Be cautious about giving away too much equity and losing control over your company.


Marketing and Branding Strategy

Brooke: Can you highlight strategies for approaching marketing and branding?


Fayyaz: Keep your messaging simple and relatable. Run your messaging by people outside the industry, like your family, to ensure it’s understandable. Self-promotion and having a strong online and offline presence are crucial. Make an impact and stay true to your mission.


Conclusion

Brooke: Is there anything else you’d like to share about IntelliGuards?


Fayyaz: We are very mission-oriented and focused on keeping organizations safe using advanced technology and security experts. We have key strategic partnerships that help us make an impact. Our core team is comprised of experienced professionals from top-tier cybersecurity firms.


Brooke: Thank you so much for your time today, Fayyaz. I wish you and your team great success.


Fayyaz: Thank you, Brooke. It was a pleasure.


For more insights, watch the full episode of The Halo Series: From Stability to Cybersecurity Stardom with Fayyaz Rajpari.

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