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Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Michael DeCesare, CEO of ForeScout (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Oct 9th 2017

We’ve covered Forescout for a while. They’re doing something very interesting in the Cyber Security space, quite an important architecture to track devices plugging into an enterprise network. This is an important company to understand in the sector.

Here are the two past articles: Billion Dollar Unicorns: ForeScout Does Not Want To Go Public Yet and 2017 IPO Prospects: ForeScout Files “Confidentially” that cover their IPO trajectory and maneuvers.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by having you introduce yourself as well as Forescout to our audience.

Michael DeCesare: I’m the CEO of Forescout Technologies.

Sramana Mitra: Forescout is?

Michael DeCesare: Forescout is a Cyber Security company that specializes in the space of visibility, giving customers clarity into what is on their networks. You cannot stop what you cannot see, so having full inventory of those assets is the space that we play in.

Sramana Mitra: Could you actually do a bit of an ecosystem map for us? We’ve covered a lot of companies in Cyber Security. It’s a very crowded space. There’s a tremendous amount of venture activity that goes on in Cyber Security. So when we do Cyber Security stories, this is something that is very helpful in understanding the adjacencies and how exactly you position yourself.

Michael DeCesare: We are in the $30 billion industry of Cyber Security. I came from McAfee. I ran one of the larger Cyber Security companies before I came to Forescout. I do understand your comment about it being very crowded. There’s a lot of venture money, and there are a lot of smart minds who are applying themselves towards the problem of Cyber Security, given how high-profile they are.

What separates Forescout from the pack is that many of the companies that your readers might follow will fall into the area of trying to secure devices that are owned by corporations. When a company buys laptops for its employees or servers for its data centers, there’s a whole security ecosystem that is formed around those devices and those are devices that a company has the chance to buy, sell, and put on its network with the appropriate level of security that it would like on those machines.

What has become an increasingly large problem for the world in the last couple of years is what we would call IoT. All these new devices don’t make themselves applicable towards a lot of the traditional ways that Cyber Security has been delivered. That is the gap that Forescout fills. We go into organizations and our architecture allows organizations to get complete visibility into what is on their network across all of those different asset categories.

Sramana Mitra: What systems do you feed that data into such that that visibility is now actionable?

Michael DeCesare: It’s not necessarily that we feed data into a system. The more appropriate answer would be where do we get that data from. The design of the organization is many of the historical areas within Cyber Security relied on an architecture that was agent-oriented meaning that you can get a very small piece of software on every single device.

We are agent-less. The way that we are able to give them visibility into those machines without requiring that agent is because we speak directly into the network infrastructure. We get our data from Cisco or from whatever network architectures that companies are putting in, and we pull data directly off of those network machines. Our IP is our own dashboard that we give an organization.

It’s our console and that single pane of glass is what gives them that full visibility of everything that is on their network. They can feed that data into other systems, but we don’t just feed data into other systems. It’s actually our own dashboard that runs the product.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Michael DeCesare, CEO of ForeScout
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