First came the protocol, then the company. The rest is history.
The founder of SSH, Tatu Ylönen, designed the first version of the SSH protocol after a password-sniffing attack at his university network. Tatu released his implementation as freeware in July 1995, and the tool quickly gained in popularity
Towards the end of 1995, the SSH user base had grown to 20,000 users in fifty countries. By 2000, there were an estimated 2,000,000 users of the protocol. Today, more than 95% of the servers used to power the Internet have SSH installed.
The SSH protocol is truly one of the cornerstones of a safe Internet.