Category: Top Management

Name: Dug Song       

Title: Co-founder and CEO 

Company: Duo Security  

Why nominated: Dug Song co-founded Duo Security in 2010 with a mission to “democratize security” by making cyber technology accessible for the masses, not just the top one percent of companies that boast enormous budgets, culminating in Duo’s exponential growth and acquisition by Cisco Systems in 2018. 

Profile: Song believes that cybersecurity doesn’t have to be intimidating, complicated or difficult. But it does have to be accessible to all. 

Adopting a Zen-like philosophy toward his business – an attitude undoubtedly influenced by his Buddhist monk father – Song has made Duo’s two-factor authentication and application access management solutions to a diverse customer base of more than 10,000 organizations in 100 countries. 

These solutions are designed with people in mind, not machines, and as result, most organizations have experienced a 98 percent reduction in compromised since installing Duo’s technology, which grants access based on the trustworthiness of users and their devices. 

In just the last two years Duo has grown from an employee headcount of 200 to 650 while achieving a billion-dollar valuation in late 2017. 

Song has been a one-man boon for the Ann Arbor, Mich. area, founding Tech Brewery, a co-op/incubator space, and A2Geeks, a non-profit that supports tech and entrepreneurship, in the metropolitan region. He’s also hired a dedicated diversity and inclusion manager within his own company to ensure that quality cyber jobs, much like his solutions, are accessible to all. 

Song’s long list of career achieves include building the first commercial network anomaly detection system, leading the creation of the OpenBSD operating system and OpenSSH. He also co-founded the USENIX Workshop On Offensive Technologies (WOOT) and was a team member on the Honeynet Project, the first organized public attempt to capture and study internet attacks.      

What colleagues say:Dug provides an inspiring vision for what security could be, and in turn energizes those around him… I met Dug when I was just 17 years old after tinkering around in the network of the company he was working for. Instead of being angry, Dug offered me a job, and the rest is history. Dug leads Duo with this same hacker mindset, seeing potential in the untraditional. This culture is at the core of Duo’s… Just like Duo was built for people, Dug invests in people.” 

 – Jon Oberheide, Duo Security co-founder and CTO 

Dug “has a unique combination of expertise, humility, leadership, and empathy. This is central to his ability to build a successful company but also foster a successful startup community here in Southeast Michigan. As a Mexican American woman in the startup space, I personally appreciate his commitment to building a community (and business) that is diverse and inclusive.” 

 – Chris Landa, director at Venture for America