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Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Michael DeCesare, CEO of ForeScout (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Oct 12th 2017

Michael DeCesare: The third trend is that a lot of the larger cyber organizations have tried to come out and declared themselves the platform underneath all of the different cyber companies. There’s quite a bit of energy around that.

The reality is that even now, you fundamentally have anti-virus, firewall, BYOP, and all other technologies that are making decisions about what’s good and bad based on their own intelligence but not communicating effectively with the layers of cyber security. I see a lot of energy from companies going into trying and figuring out how to share and to be able to run in a more integrated fashion.

Sramana Mitra: If you were starting a company today, where would you start? What part of this food chain do you see open problems in?

Michael DeCesare: That’s a loaded question. If I were starting a company today, I would start exactly in the space where Forescout is in.

Sramana Mitra: That’s not my question. We work with entrepreneurs who are sniffing around for problems to solve. What pointers can you give them on where to look for open problems?

Michael DeCesare: You have to have an aptitude and understanding of how the anatomy of tech is going down to be able to understand how to protect that. It’s why you see so many of the entrepreneurs in the cyber world from some military cyber background.

You get some practical experience in trying to either be offensive or defensive in trying to protect or attack organizations. It opens up a really strong understanding of the cracks in the armor, so to speak. When I look at some of the most effective companies that are starting off, it really starts with engineer entrepreneurs who really understand a certain problem they’re going after.

Sramana Mitra: I’ve had this conclusion for a long time. You can’t really be an entrepreneur in Cyber Security without deep domain knowledge. What I was fishing for given that assumption is what company to start next?

Michael DeCesare: Understand the anatomy of some of the attacks that we are reading in the world. When you look at Mirai, there are a lot of people who try to understand if all the security cameras are really safe. When you start to look into some of the attacks and you see what is causing organizations the most pain, it becomes pretty obvious what areas to be able to focus on.

The challenge with that is the Cyber Security industry is getting very granular in the business problems that companies solve at this point. There used to be dozens of companies in RSA. Now, there are thousands of companies. Like you said, if folks have that domain expertise and have spent a fair amount of time in their careers trying to stop things, out of that usually comes some pretty cool ideas about businesses that can be started.

Sramana Mitra: Great. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Michael DeCesare, CEO of ForeScout
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