Codenomicon: Technology should be approached from the perspectives of the customer and the end user
Codenomicon develops technologies for the automated testing of the information security of systems.
Using the technology, the customer can expose their systems to different types of simulated attacks and thus discover hidden and previously unknown vulnerabilities and assess their risk level – preferably already during planning. Carrying out similar attacks using people would be slow to implement and expensive and they still could not expose vulnerabilities to the same extent as the solution by Codenomicon.
“Therefore, we provide our customers with automated hackers, automated testing products that allow anyone to discover critical information security vulnerabilities in their software”, summarises Ari Takanen, Chief Technology Officer of Codenomicon.
Potential customers include hardware manufacturers and Web service providers, who value information security as critically important. The most recent growing customer group is the defence industry.
Roots in science
The roots of Codenomicon, established in 2001, are in science and research. The founders of the company worked in a research project by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Oulu on information security. The idea of the technology, which is the foundation of Codenomicon, matured and became clearer as the research project progressed. When the project ended, the idea seemed so promising that the core group decided to establish a company. In a bit over 10 years, the company has grown from a three-person founder group to an international company employing approximately 100 employees. Half of the workforce is international, but product development is to remain strictly in Finland.
The core group, who had acquired their inspiration from the world of science, did not have previous experience in establishing a company, but they were not afraid to take the leap into the business world.
“There’s no hidden science to running a business that would not allow a team of engineers to be successful. The greatest challenges are associated with organising sales and finding sales representatives”, says Ari Takanen.
Forerunners in a young market
The technology solution of Codenomicon was unique to the extent that the first years the company was able to operate without direct competitors. Competitors have not appeared until the last five years.
“We still operate in a very young and quickly growing market. The quality and competitiveness of essential technology is the foundation of all success in the long term. Therefore, you cannot become complacent”, Takanen says.
The business model of Codenomicon is the sale of software products. Services – information security audit for example – act as sales tools, but Codenomicon is not intending to become an actual service provider company.
Quickly to the customer
According to Ari Takanen, the most repeated mistakes of Finnish technology companies are too much focus on the technology itself and taking too much time.
“One should not become too fascinated with one’s technology as valuable as such, but consider it from the perspectives of the customer and the end user. This means good usability, for example, which is too often only considered important on the consumer market and is thus not focused on with professional and B2B solutions”, Takanen says.
“Another typical problem is that the technology is refined and fine-tuned for too long before introducing it to the customer. The aim should be to get the solution to the customer for evaluation as quickly as possible, as this is the only way that true feedback on the functionality of the solution is obtained and the taken course can be changed before it is too late. Perfect is often the worst enemy of excellent.”
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Author: Tommi Niittymies