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Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Michael DeCesare, CEO of ForeScout (Part 2)

Posted on Tuesday, Oct 10th 2017

Sramana Mitra: What is the expectation? I’m a Cyber Security person inside a large enterprise looking at your dashboard. What is your dashboard alerting me to do or take action on?

Michael DeCesare: Our dashboard is a real-time view. It’s agent-less, so it gets its data across all devices. It’s heterogeneous. It works across multiple network architectures, and it’s continuous. We are constantly looking at every connection on the network. What we do is, we see every IP address. Without that customer having to put a lot of effort into the product, we are able to classify almost all of those devices by the correct bucket. We’re able to show them Windows machines from Amazon instances.

We give them a policy that they put in place about how that device is allowed to behave when it’s on the network. When the Mirai Botnet attacks occurred, our organization had security cameras and they had a rule for those security cameras. As long as that security camera is communicating directly with the server it’s allowed to, we would never be triggered.

The second that that security camera tries to do something that’s not allowed, our policy engine would go into place, and it would either alert that customer that there was an exception or we could go all the way down to the individual port on the switch and take that actual device off the network. We give organizations an opportunity to automate a lot of this.

The beauty of the product is that the customer has the option to automatically quarantine or take that device off the network without being in the middle of it. This is a pretty powerful thing as you look at the threat landscape out there. Organizations want the ability to be able to automate some of those use cases and not have to have a manual at every bit of it.

Sramana Mitra: Given what’s around you and where you draw data from, what is the most likely exit path for Forescout? Is it an acquisition or are you looking at going public?

Michael DeCesare: It’s not something that I’m going to comment on, but our mission is to grow a very successful company and focus on all the foundations inside of that.

Sramana Mitra: How long have you personally been running Forescout?

Michael DeCesare: I’ve been here for almost three years. My background is a little bit non-standard. I came from the sales and marketing world. I started off my career in one of the most lowly positions in probably all of high-tech. I was an inside sales rep for Oracle back at the beginning of my career.

It’s one of my favorite stories. My two telesales cube mates were the CEO of Splunk and the ex-CEO of FireEye. The three of us started in that career together. I ran McAfee for about five years after we sold it to Intel, then I came over two and a half years ago.

Sramana Mitra: The comment I just made about the acquisition path is based on the fact that you did run McAfee before Forescout. Just knowing the kind of financing you raised and the fact that you come from McAfee, I’m assuming that there is, at least, a shot at an IPO. At the same time based on what you just described of where you sit in the food chain, it’s also a reasonable acquisition path.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Michael DeCesare, CEO of ForeScout
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