On July 17, this year’s intern class eagerly made our way into an HQ conference room for the long-awaited Origins of Tenable luncheon with Tenable’s co-founder and CTO, Renaud Deraison. After giving us time to settle into our seats with sandwiches and cookies, Renaud began with a brief introduction of himself and Tenable. As creator of Nessus and co-founder of Tenable, Renaud has lived and breathed Tenable since day one.
Many of us were shocked to learn Renaud built Nessus, the product that led to the creation of Tenable, when he was only 17. Since most of the interns are already a few years older than 17, it was really interesting to take age into perspective. (As of right now, none of us have created ground-breaking products, but hey, we’re working on it.) After creating Nessus in 1998, Renaud went on a week-long field trip (without internet connection as we know it today) and when he returned, he had received a lot of positive emails with feedback about his product. As the number of emails steadily increased, he realized he had a product with a lot of potential.
After managing Nessus and attending cybersecurity conferences for a few years, Renaud teamed up with Ron Gula and Jack Huffard to create Tenable. He finished his introduction with a piece of advice about starting a company: “To start your own company, you need to be a little naive.” As young college students, we’re definitely all a little naive. Reframing naivety as an asset helped to bring a new perspective into business for a lot of us.
After discussing the origins of Tenable, Renaud spent the rest of the lunch fielding a lot of our questions. This laid-back, conversational style of meeting was the perfect opportunity to get to know both Renaud and Tenable a little more. Our questions ranged from company and product-specific inquiries to broader questions about the fields of technology and cybersecurity. Renaud’s thoughtful answers helped us to understand how Tenable has evolved through the years, such as the decision to change Nessus from open-sourced to closed-source software. Looking at both the present and into the future, he answered questions about current trends and legislation that could impact Tenable and the field of cybersecurity in general.
More than once, we asked Renaud to predict the future of the field over the next 10-20 years. When asked about his fears, they were surprisingly similar to ones most of us have voiced before: consumer privacy and the collection of data by companies. With that being said, however, he also said he anticipates that, in the future, there would be overall stronger security measures in place to balance the rising collection of mass data.
For a class of interns to have the opportunity to casually speak with the co-founder and CTO of a company definitely breaks with the convention of the average internship. When asked “How much of your success do you attribute to luck?” Renaud answered, “Depending on the day, anywhere from 20 percent to 80 percent.” He explained: with success, there will always be some aspect of luck, but it is equally important to build upon that luck. This piece of advice is sure to carry with us in our future endeavors as we draw closer to the end of our internship. Thank you, Renaud!
Written By: Claire McKenna