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Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Brett Williams, COO of IronNet (Part 3)

Posted on Wednesday, Feb 12th 2020

Sramana Mitra: If you look at your entire body of competitors, what is the degree of penetration of your kind of technology?

Brett Williams: I don’t have the number on it. Anecdotally, the penetration of this at the enterprise level, is probably 50% to 60%. In the SMB, it’s much smaller. There’s not an offering that can serve them.

For the collective security approach, there’s nobody else attempting to do this in the same way that we do it. Our approach to the collective security is different than anyone else’s.

Sramana Mitra: If you look around from a 30,000 foot level, what do you see as open problems?

Brett Williams: Number one is getting people to see the benefits of the collective security approach and how it outweighs their concerns on competitive advantage and proprietary information protection. We address all of that. That is one of the biggest barriers.

At one level, it’s getting people to see that you can get the advantages of collective security approach without compromising the issues that you’re most concerned with.

The second area where there’re major opportunities to move this forward is in automating more and more of the workload. It’s commonly said that we’re anywhere from a million to two million short to fill these cyber security positions.

As we’re maturing our product, we’re making changes so that it can easily be run at a central security operations center and be administered across many customers. It is a sophisticated approach. We have to be able to have the software and the machines do as much of that lower level triage so that we can preserve the humans for what humans can do.

The second big barrier is how do we apply a variety of techniques such that we can make this affordable and effective for a broad set of businesses who can’t spend millions of dollars on cyber security. We do have the product in a couple of channel partners now.

Sramana Mitra: My question was slightly different though. What I was looking for is not so much what you are doing. I was looking for pointers to what new entrepreneurs could work on.

Brett Williams: They’ve got to figure out how to deal with the pain points that people have around cyber security right now. The top level view is, everything on the market has been compromised in some way or the other.

How do you convey to customers the right mix of capabilities that can protect you no matter what sized business you are. The ability for entrepreneurs to be able to put together the right suite of tools and capabilities to protect the business is a huge opportunity.

Also, that second issue of qualified people. It’s just untenable to think that we can train enough people to deal with the cyber security threat. Being able to leverage technology to do what technology can do to alleviate the human requirement is critical.

The third thing is address the fact that anybody who’s got a cyber security tool in their environment doesn’t suffer from a lack of data. If anything, they’re overwhelmed by the number of alerts and data points that are available. There are a lot of opportunities to help companies sort through that.

The last area remains a perennial problem. I’ve been in this business for the last 12 or 13 years. We have the same problem in government. The private sector is having visibility and understanding of their network. The vast majority of people can’t tell you what their own network looks like. There’s a lot of opportunity there.

Sramana Mitra: Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cyber Security: Brett Williams, COO of IronNet
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