How Leela AI builds trust with security-conscious industries
Leela AI’s accelerated path to SOC 2 compliance helped to prove to security-conscious industrials and manufacturing prospects that their confidential data was secure.
Vanta Seamless Audit streamlined finding an auditor for Leela AI - saving them dozens of hours in audit preparation and the audit itself.
By using Trust Reports, Leela AI gives their prospects a live look into their security posture, reassuring them that Leela AI is taking all the necessary steps to maintain security.
"Vanta isn't just about having a piece of paper or PDF file. I feel better knowing that we've gone through the process of improving and changing the way we handle security - we've followed all the guidelines and implemented all the policies in a better way than we would have without Vanta."
Making industrial, manufacturing, and logistics operations more efficient through the use of artificial intelligence
Leela AI was founded in 2019 by three MIT graduates and is based in Newton, Massachusetts. Leela AI uses a novel artificial intelligence (AI) paradigm they call a “constructivist knowledge network”, which helps companies understand and analyze sensor data and video data - giving valuable insights into bottlenecks on factory floors and other obstacles to efficiency.
Their flagship products include the Leela Creator, which is a no-code browser tool that helps customers create new visual intelligence routines or custom activity detectors, and the Leela Viewer, which allows users to generate a visual dashboard and provide insights into cycle times, value streams, and much more. By using Leela AI, organizations gain a better understanding of their inefficiencies and processing speeds while saving money on hardware infrastructure costs.
Overall, the aim of Leela AI is to make industrial operations more efficient through the use of their proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms. Their novel approach solves long-standing AI challenges, such as generalizing from a small sample size and acquiring common sense. This technology is used by manufacturers and warehouses to work smarter and increase productivity in the face of ongoing labor shortages.
Building trust with security-conscious customers in their industry
Leela AI receives sensitive information from prospective customers, such as video footage from private and secure locations. This data contains images of people’s faces as well as proprietary details about manufacturing processes. Thus, proving security and demonstrating trust has long been top-of-mind for Leela AI, so that their prospects can trust that they are handling and accessing their data safely.
Leela AI’s prospects in manufacturing and operations were understandably concerned about how their data is safeguarded and protected. In the beginning when Leela AI was not compliant, they received a uniform response from prospective customers - they told them they’d be willing to try their product, but couldn’t pay until Leela AI was certified or could prove they were in the process of being certified. Otherwise, prospects could not run the risk of working with Leela AI.
Leela AI knew they had to move quickly towards achieving SOC 2 and ISO 27001 so they could gain new customers and retain the ones they had. Unfortunately, their initial attempt did not go smoothly - Leela AI originally chose a competing cloud compliance provider that would have the least impact on their budget, but ended up frequently frustrated by cumbersome software, unstable integrations, and continuous delays with finding them a suitable auditor. With only a short time remaining before their audit, they left their solution and found Vanta.
A seamless approach to security and compliance
After some due diligence and a positive experience with Vanta’s dedicated migration team, Leela AI switched to Vanta. Vanta turned an arduous and time-consuming process into one that was smooth and efficient - instead of Leela AI wading through a list of auditors where each one needed to be manually assessed, Vanta Seamless Audit saved Leela AI’s compliance team an estimated 20-30 hours, matching them with the right auditor for their needs in a fraction of the time.
As their journey progressed, Leela AI only found more reasons to appreciate Vanta’s robust security and compliance solutions. Not only was it easy to manage both ISO 27001 and SOC 2 simultaneously, but Vanta’s dashboard allowed Leela AI to see their compliance status for both frameworks. This meant that Leela AI could see what controls overlapped and what was left to remediate, so they could prevent extra work and easily tell how far they were from compliance.
In addition, Leela AI found Trust Reports to be a valuable way to bring transparency and reassurance to their prospective customers by providing them with a live look into the state of Leela AI’s security posture. As Cyrus put it, “Certifications are important, but they are only a snapshot frozen in time. Vanta’s Trust Reports provides Leela AI and our clients with live, real-time information about our compliance status and security posture. Even if we didn’t need certifications, we now know we objectively have a more secure product.”
Why Leela AI chose Vanta over the competition
Leela AI originally looked at multiple cloud compliance solutions, including many of Vanta’s competitors. They originally went with another because they seemed to be the most cost-effective option.
However, Leela AI quickly learned that what they saved in cost, they paid with their time and a cumbersome experience. Integrating with Leela AI’s infrastructure was difficult and implementing different roles and onboarding paths quickly became a blocker to Leela AI’s growth goals. In addition, their software was not user-friendly or well-designed - they faced issues with Google Cloud Platform adaptors and did not have an easy way to find and update company policies.
Another issue that became apparent was their auditor partnerships - their original provider sent Leela AI a list of auditors, but with no additional information, which meant that Leela AI had to dedicate time and resources to investigate, vet, and choose an auditor. Leela AI ultimately spent 15 hours narrowing down which auditor to use, and only then did they learn that amongst their shortlist of auditors, some were not able to conduct audits for both SOC 2 and ISO 27001.
Leela AI switched to Vanta right before their original audit and found the Seamless Audit package and Vanta’s intuitive user experience met and exceeded their needs in every way. They were quickly matched with a Vanta partner auditor, Prescient Assurance, for both their SOC 2 and ISO 27001 audits. Prescient’s familiarity with the Vanta platform, and other startups like Leela AI, resulted in additional time savings for Leela AI, saving them an estimated 20-30 hours of work. Leela AI loved their experience so much that they are excited to work with Prescient Assurance again for future audits.
Finding go-to-market fit through Vanta
Leela AI successfully became SOC 2 Type II compliant in December 2022. Because of their SOC 2 compliance, they’ve been able to expand their go-to-market motions quicker, specifically with their larger customers and prospects. “I don’t think we’d have any of the business that we have without Vanta,” says Cyrus. Leela AI has now added a focus on international expansion, which led them to pursue ISO 27001 certification to demonstrate trust with international prospects.
Leela AI has saved significant time in maintaining compliance by establishing a good security workflow. They especially credit this to Vanta’s two-way task tracker integration with Jira, which allows their engineers to create and remediate security tasks without having access to Vanta, and keeps them in workflows they’re already familiar with. This in turn has saved their engineering teams precious time on security tasks, which they’ve spent on shipping new features and servicing Leela AI’s growing customer base.