Sean Newman has been Director of Product Management at Corero for over three and half years. As well as guiding Corero’s product strategy, he has spoken about DDoS at many industry events over that time and is a regular contributor to Corero’s DDoS blog.
Sean has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Coventry University in the UK. He has worked in the security and networking industry for well over twenty years now, with previous roles including network security Global Product Manager for Cisco, where he joined as part of their acquisition of cyber-security vendor Sourcefire, as Security Evangelist and Field Product Manager for EMEA. Prior to that he worked as Senior Product Manager for endpoint and network security vendor Sophos, after having spent more than 12 years as an Engineer, Engineering Manager and then Senior Product Manager for network infrastructure manufacturer 3Com. Since joining Corero, Sean has used his broad knowledge of networking and network security to further enhance our SmartWall solution.
Take a deeper dive into Sean's life at Corero with the Q&A below:
1. What is your educational and professional background? Do you have any prior experience in DDoS?
I studied Electrical and Electronic engineering in the UK, with one of my first jobs being designing stackable Ethernet switches for the once great 3Com, for those who remember them, before they were acquired by HP ten years ago. Whilst at 3Com, I moved into engineering management before making the switch to product management, which then gave me the opportunity to move from networking to security. For more than twelve years now, I’ve had the opportunity to manage a broad spectrum of security products, from Firewalls, UTMs and IPSs, through to endpoint security and now to DDoS protection. Although some of the products I managed did have some level of DoS protection, it is now evident that was nowhere near adequate to defend against the scale and sophistication of modern DDoS attacks.
2. What is your drive to fulfill your role? What do you like most about your role and why?
I’ve always been fascinated with how things work. So, from my earliest years, I was probably destined to work on new product development in some form or other. Starting out as an engineer satisfied my desire to create new products. However, I soon realized that my real drive was to understand what problems needed solving and to conceive products and product capabilities which addressed those real needs. Once I discovered Product Management, I knew that was where I wanted to be – right in the heart of the business, owning the products and ensuring that real customer needs were being met in order to satisfy those needs and build a successful business.
3. How were you introduced to Corero? What was your initial reaction?
A previous boss, from back in my security days at 3Com had moved to Corero due to the great solution they were delivering for automatic DDoS protection, and was keen to have my product leadership skills onboard. Learning how the DDoS landscape was evolving, and how Corero’s innovation was automatically protecting their customers from it, opened my eyes to an exciting and challenging element of network security that had previously passed me by. When the timing was right for a move, I had no hesitation in joining the team.
4. What are you most proud of that you’ve accomplished at Corero?
One of the things I’m most proud of, so far, is moving the SmartWall product family to be a software-based solution. We still have physical appliances in the SmartWall family but now they are accompanied by a fully virtualized option enabling the exact same real-time, surgically accurate, automatic DDoS protection to be delivered however the solution needs to be deployed.
5. What was most helpful when learning about Corero’s DDoS solutions?
One of the biggest challenges was learning about and understanding the detail and nuances of the attacks themselves. Fortunately, Corero has a wealth of experience in its highly-skilled engineering, SOC and support teams which makes that process a lot easier than trying to figure it all out for yourself!
6. Have you had an “ah-ha” moments using Corero or working at Corero?
Possibly the biggest ah-ha moment was that initial realization of the true scale of the challenge presented by DDoS attacks and how a next-generation approach like Corero’s was required to effectively deal with them and ensure business continuity for those being targeted.
7. What advice would you give to people in your role?
The thing I most enjoy about product management is the variety. It’s the heart of the business and means you get to work with everyone, from customers who use the products, to the engineers who build them, and everyone else in-between who supports sells and markets them. The biggest challenge is making sure you get the correct balance across all these elements, to ensure existing customers remain happy but your business can flourish by attracting a growing proportion of new customers.
8. You're very passionate about sailing - how did you get into it?
I absolutely love outdoor activities in general, such as walking and mountain biking, which is made very easy to enjoy by the fact that I live in a small village right in the heart of the glorious English countryside! However, my absolute favorite activity is yacht sailing, out on the open ocean. I got into it by pure chance, over twenty years ago, when my best friend was invited to crew on a yacht and there was a spare place for me to join him. Since then, we have done a ton of sailing together and more recently with our families too.