Meet Jani Virkkula, our Product Marketing Manager for the EMEA region, whose journey at SSH kicked off with a hint of humor, joining the company on April 1, 2018, often referred to as April Fools' Day.
Before his SSH days, Jani had been working within the telecommunications field, transitioning into marketing from a background steeped in technical documentation.
He heard about our company from a friend who was already an SSHer and fast forward five and a half years later, he still remembers that time like it was yesterday.
“The company that I was working for before joining SSH went through a merger, and I was looking for other opportunities and I thought that was a great time to start a new direction. Back then, SSH was in transition, so we were looking to change things. And quickly after joining, I realized that this is a typical setup for me,” says Jani.
“When you engage in a lot of activities you learn a lot about marketing.”
During his initial days at SSH, his versatile skills were proven to be useful. In a small but ‘fierce’ team, he took on a variety of marketing roles, from content creation and website updates to marketing automation, all while learning more about the technical details. His responsibilities even extended to social media strategy and event management.
“To me, that’s a plus. When you engage in a lot of activities you learn a lot about the different aspects that are related to marketing.
And with that knowledge, you get a better sense of the whole idea of marketing and what is included in it. At the same time, it led to situations where it was difficult to try to run these things in parallel, so everything has its downside.
But it was also satisfying to see that if you can just go through the items one by one, you can accomplish a lot and learn a lot. The takeaway is that we don’t want specialists who are too narrow in their area of expertise. We’d rather have people who have solid core expertise in a certain area but who can also support the team in other ways as well,” argues Jani.
Without a doubt, inspiration is fuel for a writer’s creativity, and Jani knows this fact by heart. Curious to find out where he draws inspiration from when he creates content, I asked him what his main sources are.
“I try to leverage fiction. The challenge with B2B marketing is that it tends to be fact-based, and it may be a bit too much. As marketers, we sometimes forget the emotional side of things. Fictional writing taps into that story mode much better than B2B marketing in general. I follow our competitors within our field, but then I try to expand that outside our own field and see how other companies approach marketing. What kind of stories do they tell?” highlights Jani.
The company's expansion and the gradual addition of talented colleagues marked an essential moment in Jani’s journey at SSH, enabling our company to build a fully functional, global marketing team. With an expansive and empowered marketing team, the horizon of possibilities has broadened for Jani and his colleagues, bringing both the challenge and satisfaction of growth.
“There is a real, functional marketing team that has a global presence in all the main offices and enough people with all the required skills within the team to be able to perform as a fully functioning marketing and communications team.
Looking back, we reached a point where we couldn’t perform at the desired level because of a shortage of people and too many goals to achieve. So, it was great that we started expanding the team and started to build the marketing function almost from scratch,” he says.
Flexibility is a hallmark of the SSH work environment, one that Jani truly values. Employees can be flexible with their work hours, choosing when they come to the office to interact with colleagues and when they work remotely, allowing a harmonious balance between professional and personal commitments.
Overcoming challenges at work
Jani emphasizes the fact that SSH is a mid-sized company with strict hierarchies being unnecessary, and this can occasionally result in a bit of chaos. Different functions may not align perfectly, but the silver lining is that the organization’s compact nature allows for honest discussions and learning from these situations. It’s a statement of the company’s flexibility and adaptability.
“Sometimes we as a company, honestly, we are disorganized. We don’t need to and should not build these strict hierarchies, because that would probably be detrimental to us. But it sometimes leads to us acting a bit chaotic, so different functions are a bit disorganized, and they might have the right general idea, but the practical implementation might vary. But the positive side of this is that we can always learn and correct our course quickly,” he says.
SSH in just three words
In his own words, Jani defines our company as 'hardcore experts', 'future-driven', and 'nerdy'. These terms encapsulate SSH's technical prowess, forward-thinking approach, and passion for technology.
SSH's colleagues, in his eyes, are a source of admiration and inspiration. The breadth of knowledge and expertise found within the organization has made an impact.
Engaging with colleagues at SSH, Jani finds himself in the company of exceptional experts.
“I think most people in this company are mission-driven. They feel like what we do in this company matters in this world. We are defenders of private and secure communications but also making sure that whoever has the privilege to access critical information is also properly controlled and can’t abuse their privilege,” says Jani.
“You’ll be part of a team that believes it’s making a significant impact on the world.”
Concluding his fascinating story, Jani has a strong message for any person who is considering joining SSH in the future.
“You need to know that you'll be part of a team that strongly believes it’s making a significant impact on the world through its mission and dedication to defend organizations and societies against cyber threats and misuse. It’s amazing: when you talk to people in this company you quickly understand that you are likely talking to one of the best experts in their field in the whole world. This is why I mentioned the hardcore expertise because we have these people who really know what they are talking about,” says Jani.
In a nutshell, SSH is a place where flexibility and trust allow employees to strike a balance, and where you’ll be part of a team that genuinely believes in the importance of its mission in the world.
Interested in joining our global cybersecurity family at SSH? Check out our careers page >>>
Alina is SSH’s Junior Communications Specialist, wielding over 7 years of experience as a journalist and content writer across various domains. In 2023, she shifted her focus from media to cybersecurity, where she continues to bring stories to life, craft compelling narratives, and bridge connections.