Egemen's Products Are Used by Millions Around the World

#6- Egemen Tas ? Senior VP of Comodo Internet Security
He has developed one of the first antivirus and firewall programs in Turkey, a country which has only recently become familiar with computer technologies. He wanted to give the technologies that he developed a national identity, and so he named the antivirus “Savungan”, and the firewall “Korugan”. He tried to market them, going around to several companies. Some made fun of the names and showed no interest, while some others asked, “Why would I get a Turkish internet security program when there are American ones?” An American company discovered his antivirus and firewall programs, which he had developed in 2003 and tried to earn money with by selling them on his own website.
The company that wanted to grow in this field offered the young engineer an opportunity. And, therefore, yet another case of brain drain took place as he migrated to the Americas because he could not find the opportunity he was seeking in his home country although he had the intelligence, capacity, and the knowledge.  This story that is recounted in a few sentences above is actually a very brief summary of the stories of thousands of engineers having to leave their home lands. Egemen Taş is currently the Vice President of one of the biggest internet security firms in America, which has come such a long way in the field of internet security, and he is in charge of nearly 700 engineers in five different countries. Engineers of the company in India, Ukraine, Romania, China, and, lastly, in Turkey, work under him.

The projects which he had initially developed and could not find a market or an opportunity to sell, and, whose names were made fun of, became the forbearers of the Comodo Internet Security program that he produced in Comodo, the firm where he now works at. The firewall and antivirus programs that Taş developed with his team for Comodo are still being used by more than 75 million people.

Taş says, “If I had continued my occupation within the borders of Turkey, I would have most probably been working in the IT department of a bank.” Having finished Beşiktaş Sakıp Sabancı High School with a first place rank, Taş also entered Bosphorus University Computer Science department with a high degree that was recognized throughout Turkey.

When he started working in a programming firm in Çağlayan, İstanbul in 1996, he conducted a commercial weakness analysis (penetration test), which might have been the first in the country at the time. The program, named SQLExec, which he developed during those years as a result of his work, is still being taught in American software engineering courses as a subject. Consequently, Taş has been listed by the National Security Administration as a professional who has worked in the field of internet security and discovered a shortcoming within the system.

One of the most significant turning points in the young engineer’s life was the period when he used to work at the Turkic World Research Foundation. The head of the foundation, Prof. Dr. Turan Yazgan, was a person with a vision and he had told him what was needed to be done regarding internet security, stating: “Turkey has several gaps in the field of cyber security. India and China are doing it; why can’t we?” Further asserting and saying “Let’s do it, then”, Yazgan also encouraged this young mind to establish a firm. That firm, which was created under TÜBİTAK,  also received support from KOSGEB. And Taş was able to accomplish, by himself, what many countries still cannot reach even today, by developing the Korugan and Savungan (firewall and antivirus) software programs.

He says, “We created maybe the very first firewall and antivirus systems for Turkey but we could not sell them. So, we continued improving. Because there was not an eco-system in a developing country like Turkey which would support such systems. Now, after ten years, we have made the decision, as Comodo, to return to the land where I was born in order to create that eco-system.” Currently, nearly 70 engineers are developing programs at METU Technopark Cyber Security R&D Center. which was officially opened by Comodo in 2014.

The founder of Comodo, Melih Abdulhayoğlu, who had noticed the efforts of the young engineer to sell firewall program online, had also been aiming to enter the firewall and antivirus fields in addition to SSL certification. And Taş was the perfect candidate for his projects. As Taş recounts, “The initial offer had come from the CEO of the firm in an e-mail written in English. I worked in Comodo Turkey for some time, then, in 2006, I transferred to the US office. And, I found myself in a vision that focused on the issues regarding security around the world. It is impossible to be unproductive in a surrounding like this.”

Having started his work in the firm as a team leader, Taş then became the Project Manager; later, the Director; and, finally, he took over the position of Senior Vice President. Working with computer engineers from five different countries on a daily basis, Taş underlines the importance of working with different business cultures for innovation and adds, “You cannot produce some technologies solely in Turkey, in Russia, or in America. For example, antivirus technologies cannot be developed completely with the resources of only one country. If this could have been done, it would have been done in China, however, it has not been possible.”
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07