Detecting, engaging and responding to cyber attacks : Acalvio

Inspiring Stories

19 September 2016

Detecting, engaging and responding to cyber attacks : Acalvio

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

#inspiringstories@Awfis is an initiative by Awfis Editorial Team to showcase the brilliant business ideas and the journey of our startup member community.

Today, cyber attacks that mainly affect large enterprises have entered domestic homes as well. There are 1000’s of data breaches reported each year and things are not getting better. The worst news in this cyber warfare is that it takes around 200 days before an enterprise even becomes aware of a compromise let alone stopping/preventing it. This is like having a stranger living in your house for nearly an year and you are not even aware of it. Clearly, faster compromise detection is a first problem that needs to be solved before dealing with the attacker.

When large companies like Sony, Target, Home Depot or Cyber Security companies like EMC/RSA or even USA NSA (remember Snow-den?) are unable to protect themselves from cyber-attacks despite their huge investments in cyber security, who will protect individuals from such cyber-attacks like ransom-ware or car hijacking with the advent of IoT?

Acalvio provides Advanced Threat Defense (ATD) solutions to detect, engage and respond to malicious activity inside the perimeter. The solutions are based on Deception and Data Science. Acalvio enables customers to benefit from defense in depth, reduce false positives and provide security.

“I believe, for our own benefit we need to solve/control this thorny cyber security problem and not wait for the existing security companies to solve something they have not solved since the advent of Internet,” says Raj Gopalakrishna who is one of the co-founder and Chief Architect of Acalvio and is based in Bengaluru, while the other co-founders are based in Bay Area. Their team also consists of world class R&D experts as well as enthusiastic engineers.


The inspiration for the Acalvio approach comes from Mother Nature. The simple moth has survived for over 190 million years due to the beautiful concept of Deception. The passion fruit vine has survived for millions of years despite the Zebra butterfly. The immunity system is ever evolving to fight the evolving virus and bacteria. The battles in the natural world over 100s of millions of years show that Deception is the most powerful and proven security technique. As the famous Chinese Military General and strategist, Sun Tzu, once observed – “All Warfare is based upon Deception”.

Acalvio was founded to bring this concept of Deception along with Data Science to Cyber warfare. They want to leverage Deception Technologies to lay traps to detect an attacker, confuse the attacker, slowdown the attack, divert the attacker etc. Acalvio is based on building and selling on premise cyber-security solution (software) to Enterprises and Government. They also offer cloud based solutions in 2nd year.

When faced with tough days, Acalvio knows well to snap out of it and excel. They are well funded by marquee VC’s including Accel Partners and Ignition Partners. In order to completely focus on creating IP driven security software, Mr. Raj along with his team works out of Awfis that takes care of all his ancillary needs helping him run his business smoothly.

Acalvio will change the way cyber attacks are detected and responded. They  will change the security world. They see any and all organization as a potential Acalvio customer as every region of the world and almost all vertical are victims of cyber-attacks.

We at Awfis think that Mr. Raj’s entrepreneurial journey is motivational and we are proud to have such inspiring stories building in our centres!

This story is based on the interview of Mr. Raj Gopalakrishna, Co-Founder – Acalvio by Awfis Editorial Team.

Every startup has a story to tell. Make your own story, begin your startup with shared office space in Koramangala, Bengaluru or business centre in Powai, Mumbai.

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What’s the Buzzword?

Inspiring Stories

14 December 2018

What’s the Buzzword?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Welcome to the world of buzzwords. Popular, catchy phrases that might still retain some of their original meaning when applied in the right context, but which over time have simply become the trend.

Buzzwords are mostly used to impress people or to obfuscate when there isn’t much to say and, yet, a lot must be said. These words often originate in jargon or acronyms. Some words that we can immediately think of include next-gen, snowflake, deep dive, gig, stratcom or wheelhouse. Nodding your head as you read the collection?

Let’s dive deep into this concept and understand where it all began.

Meaning: what’s in a word?

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines a buzzword as ‘a slogan’, or ‘a fashionable piece of jargon’.

How do buzzwords originate? They do not simply appear; they are usually created by a group of people to mean something that they understand, or as a way to generate some hype. More often than not, buzzwords are associated with management and are part a of the leadership lexicon, more commonly known as ‘management speak’.

What this means is when a manager uses a buzzword, most people – subordinates or peers – hear just the word and not the meaning. They apply a context to it, further its popularity by using it themselves in a situation they deem similar.

Their history

Buzzwords were originally used by business students studying at Harvard. In the early years of buzz-wording (see what we did there?), these words were used by students to help them quickly recall terms of importance.

Here are a few examples:

-If his analysis does not highlight the most important problem, he has ‘poor focus’.

-If he fails to emphasize important recommendations, he will be accused of ‘tinkering’.

-If the sequence for the ‘implementation’ of the recommendation isn’t good, it’s a matter of ‘poor timing’

-To succeed, a student must ‘get on top of the problem’.

These terms, and many others, were collated and they soon became popular, and got the moniker ‘buzzwords’.

Using these terms meant students could speak with authority, and it seemed that using it was often more important than coming up with the answer.

It wasn’t long before these buzzwords made a strong impact on business culture and today are commonly used in business speak as well.

Present day scenario: what are the suits saying?

Buzzwords in business are a way for people to feel like they are all on the ‘same page’. In fact, many workplaces use specialized jargon that are either particular to their industry or their workplace.

These words are not only a trend, but they are also a ‘ticket of entry’ for individuals within a successful organization.

LinkedIn publishes an annual list of ‘buzzwords to avoid’ while creating resumes – ‘trite, empty words that sound good to the ear but actually convey almost nothing at all’. Some words in the list are: driven, extensive experience, track record, passionate, responsible motivated, creative, strategic, organizational, and expert. Feel like rewriting that resume, don’t you?


It might appear that buzzwords are almost a ‘necessary evil’ used by management to inspire their team, but also to stroke their egos. Often these cross over into pop culture and then into everyday life. With so many avenues for becoming ‘viral’, a buzzword can catch on quickly and be adopted by the entire world rapidly.

5 digital trends to watch out for in 2019

Inspiring Stories

06 December 2018

5 digital trends to watch out for in 2019

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The pace at which the advertising world is changing, it is nearly impossible to keep up with trends. Tech companies are bringing out new innovations rapidly, completely disrupting the way marketing is done today. By the time you feel like you’ve got the hang of one innovation, there are 10 new ones to grasp. It’s like a mythological, multi-headed monster, only in a good way. Maybe.

Perhaps 2018 went by too quickly, but you still have 2019. Use the next few weeks to plan your strategy for the coming year keeping in mind some of the trends that are showing promise. Here are the top 5 trends we suggest you watch out for in 2019.

#1 Authenticity, at all times

Let’s face it; customers distrust advertising. And they can smell dishonesty from miles away. It is therefore critical for brands to be authentic today.

People would rather trust humans than brands. Which is why influencer marketing has been riding high for so long. Customers will ignore an ad, even be blind to it, but authentic content, generated by a real fellow customer, will grab attention immediately.

Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brands. (And this includes positive and negative experiences.) Other customers are more likely than ever to believe that content created by a user is more authentic than one created by the same brand.

Look at what GoPro has managed so beautifully. There are nearly 5000 videos posted online every day with the GoPro hashtag – from skydiving and cliff diving to wildlife videos and eco-friendly initiatives. While their competitors talk about product features, GoPro talks about human emotions like passion, inspiration and awe. It’s all User Generated Content which has found a spot in their customers’ hearts and wallets too.

#2 Voice search is getting popular

Did you know that nearly one third of the world’s 3.5 billion Google searches daily are voice searches?

And that personal assistant devices are leading the way?

As Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant get better at recognizing human speech, they are exhibiting their potential to improve searching for information on the Web. How is this related to marketing?

Let us show you.

A voice search is quite different from a typical desktop or mobile search. When you ‘Google’ on your browser, you get hundreds of pages of search results. And being one of them is really a piece of cake now, pure hygiene, in fact.

Things get really interesting when you ask Siri a question: the results are few; often just one. And if that result is you, then the chances of CTR go through the roof. It is estimated that by 2020, nearly half of all search queries will be voice-based. But it requires work. You need to customise your SEO strategy to include voice search. And this is why you need to start planning for 2019 right now.

#3 Visual search is not far behind

It’s not just voice search that’s rising; it’s got competition.

While several big businesses have been focusing their marketing strategy on conversational queries, others, like Google, Pinterest and Microsoft have been quietly working on developing a stronger competitor in interactive SEO – visual search.

But how does this really work? You could say it’s like a search in reverse. Instead of typing your search query, you just point your phone’s camera at an object to get back text-based information.

What visual search does is that it identifies objects in the image and then searches for related images online. Say you point your phone at your bed. Visual search will give you back information about where you can shop for a similar piece of furniture.

Incredible, isn’t it? This technology is still in the developmental stage as there is a lot of machine learning yet to be done. But it is definitely something that you must keep an eye on.

#4 Have you heard of Micro-Moment marketing?

Despite consumers spending 3-3.5 hours on their smartphones every day, brands are having a tough time getting their attention. Blame it on the overabundance of information today – ads, content, emails, offers, push notifications and the rest. And it never switches off.

Maybe it’s time for micro-moment marketing to step in. What’s that, you might wonder.

Micro-moment is a new type of consumer behavior which usually occurs when a person turns to a smartphone to want to know something or to buy something. Some typical micro-moments are I-want-to-know-something-moment, I-want-to-go-somewhere-moment, I-want-to-do-something-moment or I-want-to-buy-something-moment. It seems users (that’s us) experience ‘micro-moments’ no less than 150 times a day! That’s an opportunity waiting to be tapped.

These are moments when people make snap decisions on what to buy, which restaurant to go to, where to go, etc. which gives a brand few precious seconds to get their attention. Micro-moments are successful when (if) they can offer the consumer the right information right when she needs it.

#5 Not just social media, but re-purposed social media

Man is a social animal, which is why there are 3.196 billion of us worldwide, that’s 3.196 billion global social media users! Social media cannot be ignored; it is a basic marketing requirement.

The most popular social media trends today are video, automation, and influencers. But they do not operate in silos; they should not operate in silos. You cannot afford to be the leader on Facebook but ignore YouTube, or vice versa. The key to success is not just social media content, but re-purposed social media content across multiple, relevant platforms.


Marketing trends will come and go, no doubt about that. Some will make a resounding impact, and some will fade away. It is up to you to know when to take notice of a sticky trend, and then to quickly, adapt.

What Steve Jobs Taught Us About Making Stunning Presentations

Business How To’s

15 November 2018

What Steve Jobs Taught Us About Making Stunning Presentations

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Who doesn’t love a good story? A well-delivered narration has the power to keep us enthralled and to inspire us long after the mesmerising session is over.

At some point in our lives we’ve all been witness to talented speakers who have perfected the art of storytelling. And yet no one can really stake claim to the spot that was once occupied by Steve Jobs. One of the world’s greatest corporate storytellers, he has inspired hundreds of thousands of viewers with his spellbinding presentations.

We need more leaders like him, especially when companies are required to launch new variations of their existing products frequently. How can they create a need in an already saturated market?

By inspiring the world; by learning to wow our audiences like Jobs did. (And no, this does not mean imitating his dressing style, although it might help.) This article has handpicked presentation techniques from Steve Jobs’ iPhone launch alone. If you too wish to inspire, entertain and inform your audience, read on:

Express your passion

Steve Jobs was passionate about design. (Anybody who has ever held an Apple device, and there aren’t many who haven’t, knows that.) And his audience saw it too. He came on stage, at the iPhone launch, with a large smile on his face, immediately impressing his audience with his eagerness.

Don’t be afraid of your enthusiasm. If you are excited, your audience will catch on to it and project the same excitement back at you. If you are not passionate about your idea, why would anybody else be?

A twitter-friendly headline

Try the technique that Jobs perfected; create a one-sentence summary of your main message. And use that in every possible place, in every possible way when you talk about your product or idea. When he revealed the first iPhone, Jobs told the audience that ‘Apple will reinvent the phone.’ The same line was carried across news articles and blogs that covered the launch event. The search for this phrase turns up 25,000 links even today.

The rule of three

Time stamp: 1:49 – 2:42

If you observe Jobs’ presentations, you will notice his preference for the number ‘3’. You can see this in his iPhone presentation. Divided into three sections, it even seemed to speak of three different products: a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and lastly a breakthrough Internet communications device. And then he revealed that it wasn’t three, but one product.

You’d agree that a list of 3 things is far more captivating than a list of 2, and most certainly easier to remember than one of 20!

Is there a villain?

We all love a villain, especially one that is going to be vanquished. Highlight a problem, and then offer a solution.

Steve Jobs’ presentation in 2007 did just that. How do you create the need for another mobile phone, that too from Apple? Jobs did that by introducing a problem of smartphones that are tough to use. The solution was the iPhone – simpler, smarter than any mobile device till date.

And then bring in the hero

Don’t just sell your product or idea; sell the benefit, your hero. How does the hero make life better for your audience?

The iPhone introduced the revolutionary multi-touch user interface. You didn’t need a stylus, and it was far more accurate and intuitive than anything that had been seen before.

Simple visual slides

Steve Jobs’ iPhone presentation used all of 21 words across 12 slides and that was in the first three minutes of the presentation. Remember, your PowerPoint presentation is just the trigger; you are the actual presentation.

Tell a story

Build up to the actual event. Entertain your audience with a short anecdote. Use it to relax them and make them more receptive to your final big idea. Tell them a story. It could be a personal incident, a customer moment or even a brand story. This will help move things along effortlessly.

Practise. Practise. Practise.

Many people believe that they can never be as smooth as Steve Jobs. Well, guess what! Steve himself wasn’t as smooth. He would spend hours upon hours practicing and rehearsing on stage so that he would appear polished and effortless on the final day. He knew every tiny detail of his iPhone presentation which is what made it flawless.

Do not read from notes

And when you practise relentlessly, you don’t need notes or a teleprompter. The iPhone launch lasted around 80 minutes; not once did Steve Jobs break contact with the audience to look at any cards. The presentation is an actual conversation with your audience, and it is this connection that makes an impact.

Inspire your audience

Leave your audience with an inspiring thought at the end of the presentation. And tie it back to the ethos at your company. At the end of his iPhone presentation, Jobs said, “I didn’t sleep a wink last night. I’ve been so excited about today… There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ We’ve always tried to do that at Apple since the very, very beginning. And we always will.”


Lastly, have fun!

Don’t take yourself too seriously. When you have fun, your audience relaxes and is more receptive to your ideas. Create fun moments in the presentation, and you will be more memorable. You don’t need to conduct stand-up comedy, but an occasional joke never hurt anyone.

Every presentation is an opportunity to make a stronger connection with your audience. It does require planning, time and some amount of creativity, but the payoff is totally worth the effort.