Polarity's Year in Review: What we learned, how we changed, & what we want to accomplish in 2020

Resources Jan 13, 2020

An Interview with Polarity’s CEO, CSO, and CTO

2019 - what a year for Polarity! From big product updates to growing our team to adding 42(!) new integrations, we have a lot to look back on - and even more to look forward to. Get an inside look at Polarity’s 2019 reflections and 2020 aspirations through the eyes of our three Co-Founders: CEO Paul Battista, CSO Joseph Rivela, and CTO Ed Dorsey. (Don't miss their takes on Star Wars vs. Star Trek, either!)


Paul Battista, CEO & Co-Founder

What was your favorite development to Polarity as a product in 2019?
As our customers scaled their deployments of Polarity across larger teams and multiple teams, it became important to offer ways to put users in groups and offer Role Based Access Control (RBAC). I expected this was a security must-do but was pleasantly surprised to see the usability benefits as well. Having access controls means team members have a specialized view of the data relevant to their work.

It also created the opportunity for us to add view-metrics on annotated entities. Previously users would only see the team member who supplied the annotation; now users can see each others' views so they know everyone on the team looking at a given data point.

What cybersecurity trend caught your attention in 2019? What’s your take on it?
10 years ago we saw the focus on collection of data, 5 years ago we saw the focus on processing the data and having machines make sense of it.  In 2019, we see the focus on making the data more accessible across an organization.  Our customers are investing in augmenting the analysts to make the individual and team more powerful. The data tells a story - don’t miss it.

When you look back at Polarity in 2019, you’d say it was the year of...
Hiring and specialization.

What was the most notable shift that Polarity underwent in 2019?
Being a startup, team members often wear multiple hats. As we expanded in 2019 we were able to bring on excellent new team members that are experts in their given area. This specialization levels up our ability to deliver consistent innovation to our customers.

What made you most proud to be Polarity’s CEO in 2019?
When users say they are “lifetime fans” and team members say “this is the best place they have ever worked.”

At the end of 2020, you’d like to say you accomplished...
Making innovation accessible to any enterprise that wants it.

Star Wars or Star Trek?
Blessed me with opportunity, the universe has. Trust the force, I do.


Joseph Rivela, CSO & Co-Founder

What cybersecurity trend caught your attention in 2019? What’s your take on it?
As in every year that has come and gone, trends are seemingly swarming around industry buzzwords. However, in the year past, I was pleased to see the industry's overall focus on cyber security professions - the human element. Specifically, the need to build talent, the need to preserve mental health, the need to collaborate, and new and innovative means to keep skills sharp.

When you look back at Polarity in 2019, you’d say it was the year of...
Heads-Up Display! This is one of the most groundbreaking and innovative technologies we’ve released - and I daresay the industry has seen in quite some time. With HUD, there is no “mystery” for the end user. No proprietary "secret sauce" that is relied upon in weighting an outlier. And industry buzzwords of 2020 need not apply here. HUD is real-time, in-your-face value.

What was the most notable shift that Polarity underwent in 2019?

We’ve stayed true to our strategy and to our mission. While certain features have been reprioritized, there have been no course corrections or departures from the objectives we set forth at the beginning. One feature we didn't anticipate developing was our latest on-demand capability, but that has proven to be a valuable feature in the context of the overall offering.

What made you most proud to be Polarity’s CSO in 2019?
Hearing about big successes and saves within our customers. Many of our customers have the latest and greatest in preventative and detective technology. When Polarity enables security personnel to harness their skills and collective knowledge, and that culminates in the discovery of something they would not have seen otherwise, it brings a smile to my face. This is true for enterprise customers and especially true for our government customers.

At the end of 2020, you’d like to say you accomplished...
Attainability. We want to make it easier for analysts to get Polarity and help them in their mission.

Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars... but the Wrath of Khan is awesome.


Ed Dorsey, CTO & Co-Founder

What was your favorite development to Polarity as a product in 2019?
On-Demand lookups.

On-Demand lookups was a feature driven by both customer feedback and our own observations while working with analysts.  With On-Demand lookups, analysts can choose when and what data to search, giving analysts more control over how they use Polarity to augment their workflows. In 2020, we’ll continue this theme of expanding Polarity’s flexibility to meet the needs of individual analysts no matter what their workflow is.

What cybersecurity trend caught your attention in 2019? What’s your take on it?
Throughout 2019 we saw a significant number of customers turning to automation to help deal with the ever-growing number of alerts to resolve. Whether through home grown systems or commercial Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) platforms, automation was a mantra repeated by security teams large and small.

Automation’s role in reducing false positives and responding to non-targeted attacks gives analysts the time to do what they do best, which is applying human creativity and ingenuity to solve the most challenging security problems within their environments.

As analysts spend more time doing analysis, the importance of tools designed to boost human analytic capabilities, increase data awareness, and reduce cognitive load will increase.

When you look back at Polarity in 2019, you’d say it was the year of...
Integrations. In 2019 the Polarity community developed and released 42 new Polarity integrations in addition to updating 50 existing integrations with new capabilities and improvements. We ended the year with over 90 open source integrations made available to our customers. In conjunction with On-Demand searching and interactive integrations, every customer we meet with can turn on Polarity and get immediate, out-of-the box value by connecting Polarity to an existing datasource through our integration framework.

What was the most notable shift that Polarity underwent in 2019?
In 2019, as the Polarity platform continued to mature and advance, our engineering priorities were able to take a more holistic view on what makes a platform truly indispensable to an analyst. Items such as built-in onboarding, simplifying the user interface and user experience, smartly setting default values, and other refinements are front-and-center as company-wide priorities.  The mindset of creating a zero-onboarding product where any user with any level of experience can pick up Polarity and intuitively begin using the platform has been a notable shift in priority for our team and continues into 2020.

What made you most proud to be Polarity’s CTO in 2019?
Throughout 2019 I was continuously reminded just how customer centric and mission driven our engineering team is. We have a group of engineers that are building a product that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the market, are solving incredibly challenging technical problems daily, and are deeply committed to our customers’ success.

One example in particular stood out for me. We had a customer using Polarity that needed to deploy our platform into a non-traditional environment that we did not officially support. While an easy and unfortunately all-too-typical answer would have been to point out that the environment was unsupported, our Technical Director, Bill Michaels, took it upon himself to lead an effort to stand up a test environment that mimicked the customer’s incredibly unique environment. Within a week our team had built a new Polarity client for the customer that allowed them to deploy and use Polarity.

At the end of 2020, you’d like to say you accomplished...
Nothing beats the incredible feeling of mission accomplished when we have a customer tell us about a success they would not have had without Polarity. As we continuously advance the platform with new capabilities, I’d like 2020 to continue to be filled with those “mission accomplished” moments.

Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Trek. I’d also recommend The Expanse (both the books and streaming series).


You can learn more about our Founders on our About Page.

Join us on LinkedIn and Twitter to discuss what you're looking forward to in the cybersecurity world in 2020 and whether you're a Star Wars or Star Trek fan (let's keep it civil).