Benu CEO Thinks Big on Securely Connecting Telecommuters

As CEO of Benu Networks, Mads Lillelund has watched the COVID-19 pandemic shape broadband networking, accelerating a shift toward software-defined edge gateways that can serve up connectivity to workers everywhere, from large office buildings to home offices.

Benu is busy positioning itself as a disruptor in this changing market. Nevertheless, Lillelund took time for a recent 4Front podcast to discuss the future of networking and life after the pandemic.

A native of Denmark, Lillelund spent his childhood in Africa and the Middle East but returned to his home country for college. After graduating with a business degree, he landed a job in New York, working in currency trading.

From there, he moved into a series of jobs helping companies recover from financial difficulties before finally arriving at Benu Networks. Originally a network gateway hardware provider, Benu was reinventing itself at the time, moving toward software-based products. The company has since made that transition, with a current lineup that includes a core virtual broadband network gateway (vBNG) plus a lineup of secure access service edge (SASE) products.

The products can be put to work in fixed or wireless gateways, because “it’s the same string of underlying code,” Lillelund says. “So when we bring this fixed network to, say, the 5G side, we’re connecting the two so that service providers can provide the same type of policies to all their users, regardless of the network they’re coming in on.”

Benu’s business is undergoing more strategic shifts due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as the need to securely connect telecommuters has created opportunities for its cloud-based Managed Home Network offering. Overlayed on top of Benu’s vBNG, this solution combines device management, content filtering and integrated security.

As Lillelund looks forward, he thinks the telecommuting trend will continue. Not only that, he says, but “the service providers that can provide a software-centric solution for at-home users will be very clear participants in that trend, because they’re already in the home.”

Lillelund isn’t alone in believing that teleworking will continue after the pandemic has subsided. According to a recent Pew Research report, about 54 percent of workers who transitioned to teleworking during the pandemic would like to continue working from home after the threat from COVID-19 has passed. Furthermore, an online survey of more than 1,000 professionals fielded by LiveCareer found that 29 percent would quit their jobs if they could not continue to work remotely.

“I think if you’re still working from home the next year, or even in the years that follow,” Lillelund says, “you’re going to see some increasingly capable solutions for telecommuting. Even if you go back to the office, or partially back to the office, Benu is going to be in a winning position.”

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