Lukas Hertig, SVP Biz Dev, talks Plesk, Digicert, security and market changes [Video]

Lukas Hertig here – Plesk Senior VP for business development and true tech geek at heart. I’ve been here for 14 years – Sales, Marketing, you name it. But the technological change in the last 3-5 years has been exponential. And one key strategic move we made is partnering with DigiCert – our partner and sole SSL vendor. Not to mention global premier providers of digital certificates.

They provide trusted SSL for the global hosting & cloud market as well as PKI deployments for the emerging IoT market. Driven to improve online authentication with tailored solutions and build greater trust in identity and digital interactions. Which explains their recent Symantec addition. So recently, DigiCert, quizzed me on all things Plesk, security and hacking. And above all, how to take advantage of current market changes, as Plesk has always done.

Birth & benefits of Plesk – WebOps platform, control panel

You may not know this, but the Plesk automation technology has been around since 2000, just under Parallels at the time. As of 2015, we became Plesk and in 2017, Oakley Capital acquired us. Which gave us opportunities to invest in new ventures when it came to this ever-changing market.

So, in the video below I talk about my Plesk journey from day one to where I am now in business development. Managing relationships with Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Alibaba, DigitalOcean – big hyperscale companies, and the Plesk Extensions ecosystem. I also talk about how Plesk evolved over the years and the strong benefits of using Plesk that attracted partnerships like DigiCert.

How Plesk became even more customer-centric

Our mission is to simply the lives of web professionals, together with our partners. For us, this means helping build, secure and run apps and sites in the cloud. The greatest value we’re giving our users is time and peace of mind. Because they need a quick way to deploy, use and run an app or site – and start making money from it.

I think today, more than ever, it’s about the problems you solve for your customers. And we constantly ask if we are. We take lots of feedback from our customers through UserVoice, Facebook groups, forums, events like WordCamps, and meetings. But there’s always two sides to the coin.

The iPhone wasn’t defined by customers, rather someone thought it’s what we need now. So, I’m convinced that it’s 50% listening to customers and 50% bringing innovation to our web professional, hosting partner and reseller channels.

Security, hacking threats and the importance of SSL for sites

Trust is key. Security brings trust and vice versa. But more importantly, there’s never been a time of so many security threats, automate threats and hacking. Take WordPress – 31%+ of the global market and one of the biggest hacking targets. I was hacked once, years ago. I saw a strange symbol on my website and realized I didn’t keep my WordPress updated, used a plugin with no reputation or protection.

Because our SSL stack’s quite old, it’s complicated to add an SSL certificate inside Plesk. So, we fixed that in two ways. First, with our DigiCert extension, creating SSL in one click, with encryption everywhere. And second, with our new, re-launched SSL stack, including APIs. Together we provide an SSL solution since it’s such an important part of any web server app today.

Why is it important? It’s SEO-relevant for starters. Nowadays, Google will warn customers not to proceed to your site and mark it as unsafe if it’s not SSL-enabled. As I discuss in the clip below.

For web shops and portals, where users leave sensitive info like credit card data, you need premium certificates. These are available through the Plesk DigiCert Extension, where you get insurances included, HTTP2 and more. Then there’s email security where certificates are vital too. Plesk runs over 19 million mailboxes with SSL-enabling functionality.

Where Plesk stands in its competitive environment

There are things that set us apart from competition. One is both an advantage and disadvantage. That we’ve been in the market since 2000. We’re very mature in our skills with many engineers here since the early days. That makes our platform rock-solid and scalable. So, it’s not easy for some to come and do the same so fast.

Our huge security focus also comes into play. On all levels of the OS, with auto-updates for all the components, even those outside of Plesk. The firewall. The DDOS protection. The SSL. The web application firewalls. It’s important to us, especially when working with the likes of WordPress.

I think WordPress is huge for us too as we have about 5 years of development in terms of staging, cloning, safe updates, password protection, multi-site management, and more. Very difficult to develop, but we’ve brought it to a new level.

How to take advantage of market changes

The hosting industry was a different world 14 years ago. So below I’m talking about what it was like, the birth of hyperscalers and how we responded to these market changes and customer problems in the past. Moreover, how challenges became opportunities for Plesk and hosting companies. And finally, my advice on how companies can do the same – and respond to current market changes.

To solve problems in a certain area, you need to put together a set of pieces, like Lego® for a targeted solution. Plesk. SSL. Web stacks. Plesk Extensions. All that stuff are just tools. But understanding your customer and solving concrete problems, that’s you. Whether you’re a hosting company, or other IT channel player. It’s about realizing that and going after that opportunity.

Continuing to educate ourselves on how we can contribute to technology is how we can ensure we all have jobs in the future. Think of the spaces we can move and grow into. We just have to pick it up.

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