Ross Garrett is the Director of Product Marketing for Layer 7 acquired by CA Technologies (a Fortune 500 company). Ross is responsible for market strategy and positioning of the Layer 7 & CA security portfolio, and drives solution marketing across various industry verticals. He has almost 10 years of product leadership experience, helping service providers and other large enterprises transform into open platforms and embracing APIs as the leading edge of development and innovation.
Layer 7 is a leading API Management vendor according to The Forrester Wave™ of 2013, and counts more than 300 of the world’s largest organizations as customers of their API Management Suite. Ross is an expert on how to deliver risk-appropriate security across mobile channels to ensure a safe but engaging experience for the end user. Droid Report recently interviewed Ross Garrett about his current role at Layer 7 and discussed API Management and mobile insights.
Droid Report: Hello Ross, CA Technologies acquired Layer 7 last year. Could you tell us more about your current role as Director of Product Marketing for Layer 7 and your initiatives for 2014?
Ross Garrett: Indeed, it has been around 8 months since we completed the acquisition with CA Technologies and in many ways it has been business as usual for the Layer 7 team as we integrate with CA. But 8 months in the API market right now is a lifetime, and we’ve seen various additional acquisitions, investments and product announcements. It’s my job to make sure that CA Layer 7 continues as a thought leader in the space, and is seen as trusted advisors to the customers we serve. From a Product Marketing standpoint, my main focus has been defining CA Layer 7 API Management solutions that offer value and differentiation to specific vertical markets - such as Healthcare, Utilities and Telco. These efforts will continue, and extend in 2014 - especially as we look at accelerating growth in markets outside of North America. Perhaps the single biggest advantage of being part of a larger organization is the reach and scale they offer. CA is a well established and valued software supplier all over the world, and Layer 7 is already reaping the benefits of the relationships we now have access to.
Droid Report: As a speaker at the recent AppsWorld in San Francisco, can you share some insights on your take of the growth opportunities in mobile app security?
Ross Garrett: In the coming months, mobile app security is going to dominate the thoughts not just of product managers everywhere but also our law makers as they seek to define stricter legislation to protect the consumer. The simple truth is that app developers don’t understand security - not really - and not with any malicious intent or mindful negligence. The industry at large looks to the startup community and the disruptive forces within it to lead change and define new paradigms for user experience and productivity. So while they are busy doing that, we can’t expect everyone to be a security expert as well! Unfortunately, the shortcomings here make for headline news, have devastating results for consumer privacy and potentially end up costing a few billion dollars (i.e., Snapchat). So we have to look at ways of making security foolproof, or at least easier to implement and - most importantly - elevate security as a key design consideration rather than a rushed afterthought. CA Layer 7 is helping here with our Mobile Access Gateway product, which provides all the API security and threat protection capabilities, which are not only an essential first step against attacks, but also include a mobile SDK that developers can easily integrate into their applications. This SDK offers Single Sign-On capabilities - limiting the need for passwords, and implements standards-based technologies for provisioning and data transport that secure the data and the device.
Droid Report: In a multi-device universe, why do you feel it is important to deliver a unified access solution across Web, APIs and mobile to improve the user experience when moving across device channels?
Ross Garrett: Today, a typical consumer has many open sessions, for many applications, across multiple devices - and uses the same password for everything. End user behavior won’t change in this scenario, because the security experience is cumbersome and frustrating. Many people today carry 3-4 connected devices around with them all the time - and by interconnecting these devices we can start to realize new security models, which can help provide unified contextual access. We can leverage a wide range of contextual parameters to make more effective access control decisions, such as location, proximity, time, persona, etc. Bringing these things together, we can infer certain contextual states and help make it easier for the user to transition their application sessions from one device to another.
Droid Report: How do you envision APIs transitioning from an early adopter market to a mainstream technology used by enterprises, fostering mobile innovation and developer channels?
Ross Garrett: Arguably APIs are already in the mainstream, and it’s for one key reason. Innovation. We live in a competitive world with new products coming along every day, which promise to threaten long standing and well established businesses. Organizations and entire industries have to think differently about how they remain competitive, perhaps transitioning from competing on Interest Rates or Network Speeds, to new software products that create stickiness and have true user appeal. APIs provide the baseline to support this innovation, and most organizations today are exploring how APIs can help their business, reach new customers, extend the life of existing infrastructure and ultimately innovate faster. According to research that we conducted at CA Layer 7, almost 90% of ALL businesses will have invested in APIs in the next 5 years. The early adopter wave is over.
Droid Report: Is there anything else you feel Android users and the Android market should know?
Ross Garrett: In the area of security, my best advice is to think of security and privacy as differentiating features rather than as essential barriers which are needed for regulatory compliance. Understand what you're asking users to provide, when, where and why you’re asking. In some cases, you might not need that data, or access to all features available via social login, etc - offer users choice.
Layer 7 is a leading provider of security and management products for API-driven integrations spanning the extended hybrid enterprise. Layer 7 has experienced more than double-digit growth for the past five years. In 2011, Deloitte named Layer 7 the 71st fastest growing public or private technology company in North America. Layer 7's products have received numerous industry recognitions. In 2011, Layer 7 was the only vendor in its category to be named both a Forrester Wave Leader and a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader.
We would like to thank Ross Garrett for taking the time for this discussion and Layer 7.