Michelle Wilner: Inspirational Leader Breaking Barriers for Women in Tech

Michelle Wilner

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Currently, web applications are the biggest target for data breaches. Around 40% of data breaches come through web apps. The state of web application & API security has aggressively waned year-over-year. Web apps have on average 12-20 vulnerabilities that make it easy for hackers to breach. Presently, the only way to fix these vulnerabilities is for developers to rewrite application code, which is very time consuming and expensive. These developers require 4-6 months to rewrite the application code.

Furthermore, web applications are becoming more vital with time. Many businesses trust web applications to handle sensitive information. The growing demand for web apps is introducing more and more unpredicted security flaws.

Michelle believes that she can assist in making the internet a safer place with her abilities by virtue of technology, and hence making it her responsibility to do so. She introduced a game-changing platform (PaaS), which fills a severe gap in Web App & API Security by removing the ability for vulnerabilities from being exploited. Thus, eliminating the exposure gap where Web Application Firewalls (WAF) fall short because they cannot protect against business logic flaws and the time it takes for developers to rewrite app code. There is nothing like this fully managed service on the market today.

Providing Game-Changing Proprietary Solutions Globally

VIRTIS is a woman-owned, full-service, client-centric, cybersecurity firm—providing game-changing technology and globally unique solutions & services. Originally established in New Zealand, in 2008, a country known for being early adopters of leading-edge technology, Michelle Wilner (Cofounder and CEO) expanded into the United States in 2016.

VIRTIS taps into some of the world’s most advanced technology before most companies in the US ever become aware. Today, the company is dually headquartered in Los Angeles, CA and New Zealand with regional offices in Houston, Texas and Vancouver, Canada.

Michelle adds, “Proprietary solutions that others cannot deliver on, combined with our outcome-based approach and boutique, white glove customer service, enable us to provide strategic roadmaps, leading-edge technology, and support services to the most technically advanced organizations in the world.”

A Digital Superhero Battling Virtual Villains

Michelle Wilner is making a difference in the cybersecurity industry by being the digital superhero, battling the virtual villains by safeguarding websites, web apps, APIs and frameworks of companies globally from hackers and data breach. She has championed for diversity and inclusion of women and minorities in the workplace, as the industry is comprised of only 11% of women. Women have been highly underrepresented in technology, thus Michelle found inspiration in this career and decided to promote STEM careers and cybersecurity certification paths to young girls. Intercon named VIRTIS Top 50 Tech Visionaries 2019, Woman in IT honored Michelle as 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year. National Association of Women’s Business Owners honored Michelle as 2019 Innovator of the Year. In addition, she has earned recognition from Congress and the US Senate for her innovative technology.

Michelle Wilner QuoteApart from overseeing daily operations of VIRTIS, she is also a mother of twins and a former PTA President. Her work-life balance has helped her manage her career and she credits the same for her success in her journey.

A Huge Supporter of Technology

Michelle states that she is a huge proponent of technology. She has been fortunate to witness how technology has and continues to transform the world. Cybersecurity plays an important role in the way human beings conduct normal, everyday tasks. To explain the cybersecurity risk, Michelle further says, “Currently we are in a cybersecurity crisis. Bad actors have banded together to display a clear and present danger to anyone who wants to use the internet, whether that’s a mom purchasing a crib online for her yet-to-be-born child, organizations where high-value data is being stored, to matters of national security.”

Encouraging Diversity & Inclusion and Promoting STEM

Establishing a woman-owned firm in a male-dominant field was not easy for Michelle. She had to constantly prove herself, which was one of the major hurdles of her journey. Being resilient and fierce kept her focus in her pursuit of making a difference. However, she believes that the cybersecurity crisis is not just a gender problem but a people problem. She stated that by 2020 there will be around three million unfilled cybersecurity jobs. She says, “We need to work together and encourage young people, especially girls, to get involved in STEM.”

Predicting the requirements of the future

Michelle is well aware of the technology trends and uses those to predict mankind’s needs in the future. She highly participates in the development of several new technologies that relate specifically to cybersecurity. These technologies are foreseen to be integral, which can further be defined as the new “best practice” protocols for an organization’s cybersecurity cadence. “I am a cyber-feminist and futurist and as such, I learn from our rich history and apply it to what I predict mankind’s needs will be in the future,” asserts Michelle.

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