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Skybox Security’s Gidi Cohen is a Big Believer in Data-Driven Security

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It’s not uncommon to hear an Uber-like startup – those operating in the so-called “on-demand economy” – announce a massive raise from any number of venture capitalists. But in order to draw that same level of investor trust in other fields (say, cybersecurity), you’ve got to have something really special.

Skybox Security definitely fits into that category. The company, which is led by co-founder and CEO Gidi Cohen, recently announced that it had raised $96 million from Providence Equity Partners.
“We’re big believers of data-driven security,” said Cohen, who sat down with Richard Stiennon for a one-on-one chat during the 2016 RSA Conference in San Francisco. He attributed the investor support to the company’s ongoing growth and success.

“We grew over 50% year-over-year for a few years in a row,” said Cohen, whose company is known for guarding an enterprise’s attack surface (the sum of all threats an organization may face) from malicious individuals. “We’re continuing to do so this year — and in a very profitable way.”

A Different Point of View

Cohen didn’t want Skybox to follow in the footsteps of other startups, which typically grow their top-line while enduring (and perhaps accepting) “a huge amount of losses like it doesn’t matter.”

“It got to the point where there’s actually an appreciation for companies that grow very well but can do it in a competent and efficient way, which is what Skybox has been doing for quite a few years,” said Cohen. “That was very noticeable in the industry and the financial markets.”

Cohen said that in Skybox’s specific space, the company is “uniquely successful” in capturing a significant part of the enterprise market.

“We are winning almost everything we’re competing on, in the markets due to the scalability, the platform capabilities and the visibility we provide,” he said.

Unique Analytics

Cohen is proud to speak about Skybox’s “unique” type of analytics.

“Our analytics is much more about modeling and simulation technologies that can actually put together all of those disparate datasets,” he explained. “There are different silos of data, firewalls, endpoints, vulnerabilities. We put them together with a technology that actually helps the organization understand what is exposed, what’s exploitable, what’s not, and how to deal with that.”

Cohen said that this type of analytics is something that Skybox has been doing for many years.

“We have quite a few patents in the space and it’s a very unique offering,” he concluded.


[IT-Harvest has initiated research into the firewall policy management space. Skybox Security, although it has a broader offering, is included in this research. A market sizing report will be available at]

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Looking at the entire IT security industry

When IT-Harvest was launched we took a stab at cataloging the entire IT security vendor space.  It took six months and a team of five to collect information on 1,200 vendors. We also invested in a developer to create an app which we sold subscriptions to. That effort was curtailed when I joined Fortinet. After relaunching in 2008 we continued to track those vendors but a year ago decided to make a concerted effort to gather and put into categories as complete a list as possible. I presented some of the results at RSA this year on the RSA TV stage:

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Immediately after RSA I began working with friends in Israel and India to cast my net wider. We found 41 total vendors in India and 228 in Israel. Those numbers were published at my new column as an IDG Contributor: Stiennon’s Security Scorecard.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 1.59.59 PMI will be revealing lots of great data about our space in future columns. In the meantime I am using that data to create market sizing reports. Those are available at

And yes, we will be building an app to make our entire database available to subscribers.

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IT-Harvest analysis: Threat Intelligence Market Growing at 84% CAGR. To Hit $1.5 Billion in 2018

IT-Harvest analysis: Threat Intelligence Market Growing at 84% CAGR. To Hit $1.5 Billion in 2018
Birmingham, Michigan March 16, 2016 Technology News

(PRLEAP.COM) IT-Harvest, an independent research firm covering the cybersecurity industry, has published a Market Research Report on the threat intelligence sector. The report includes 21 vendors that research and provide threat intelligence to the enterprise. These include iSIGHT Partners, recently acquired by FireEye, Cyveillance+LookingGlass, Digital Shadows, Intel471, RecordeFuture, and Flashpoint Intel. A growing segment within the space includes the 10 Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) vendors, led by ThreatStream, ThreatConnect, ThreatQuotient, and BrightPoint Security. TIPs collect threat intelligence from multiple sources and integrate with internal data and enforcement technology to maximize the value of threat intelligence.

Key findings:

The 2015 threat intelligence market was $190 million and is growing at 85% annually. The TIP space accounted for $61 million and is growing at 84%. In addition the total 2015 market for threat intelligence products was $251 million and is on pace to exceed $460 million in 2016. At current growth rates the market for threat intelligence products will exceed $1.5 billion in 2018.

The seventeen page Market Research Report is available at It provides a guide to the industry and a summary of each vendor’s capabilities.

About IT-Harvest:

IT-Harvest uses a unique methodology to track industry sectors. This human augmented machine analysis is integrating automation with human insight to perform comprehensive market sizing analysis. The Threat Intelligence MRR is the first of such reports, to be followed by: User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA), Firewall Policy Management, Deception, Security Analytics, Cloud Security, and Information Governance.

To contact the author, Richard Stiennon, email:

About Richard Stiennon:

Richard Stiennon is Chief Research Analyst for IT-Harvest, the firm he founded in 2005 to cover the 1,440 vendors that make up the IT security industry. He recently completed a year long effort to categorize all of those vendors. He is the author of Surviving Cyberwar (Government Institutes, 2010) and There Will Be Cyberwar. He is a member of the advisory board at the Information Governance Initiative and principal of TrueBit Cyber Partners. Stiennon was Chief Marketing Officer for Fortinet, Inc. and VP Threat Research at Webroot Software. Prior to that he was VP Research at Gartner, when he was recognized as One of the 50 Most Powerful People In Networking by Network World Magazine. He has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and his MA in War in the Modern World from King’s College, London.

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whiteCryption’s Thorsten Held on Protecting Critical Content and Applications

Thorsten Held, managing director at whiteCryption, is focused on protecting intellectual property with cryptography. His company helps enterprises that need a greater degree of security in the area of digital rights management (DRM). Held sees a need for stronger protection of content and critical apps on all devices.
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“We want to give tools to our customers to enable them to do what they feel is the right approach,” said Held. “We provide a lot of consultancy so we help our customers understand the different options and the different scenarios. Each industry has different requirements and we help customers achieve them.”

Held was interviewed by Richard Stiennon as part of IT-Harvest’s 2016 Video Interview Series, which ran alongside the 2016 RSA Conference in San Francisco. He explained that the majority of whiteCryption’s initial customers wanted a secure DRM solution.

“We help customers harden the DRM implementation,” said Held. “The solution itself is known and defined. The content owners, [such as] Hollywood studios, require an extra layer of security. Our key mission is to make sure DRM providers hide keys in their system.”

Broadening the Platform

whiteCryption recently teamed up with Trustonic to simplify security for mobile and IoT app developers. Trustonic’s hardware-level security is already embedded in more than 500 million smart devices.

“The whole idea is to broaden the platform,” Held said of the partnership. “So many devices do come with some IP on board today.  And how do you close that gap, especially if you’re talking about customer-facing solutions? You definitely want to be sure that there’s no limitation of use.”

Held said it is not merely enough to say that a feature runs on 55% or 75% of the available devices. By combining IP with a software-based solution (like the one whiteCryption provides), “You [get] the flexibility to say that either the application or the features of the application can run on 100% of the devices.”

The Value of Security

Held also spoke about the benefit of relying on partners to deliver deeper integrated solutions than whiteCryption provides on its own.

“I think that’s key for most of the mid-sized companies,” he said. “They either don’t have the expertise or the funds to develop everything themselves, so they are in need of a deeper integrated solution.”

Not all companies know why they want to invest in security, however.

“It’s hard to convince them,” said Held. “We have a price tag, of course, and it’s a license fee. If you understand the value of security and it’s part of your business model, it’s easy [to convince an enterprise].”

whiteCryption’s integrated code protection and white-box cryptography solutions protect software applications at the source code level to prevent against unwanted alteration, intellectual property theft and keep secret cryptographic keys hidden.

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Digital Shadows’ James Chappell Discusses Threat Intelligence, Cyber Situational Awareness, and More

James Chappell, co-founder and CTO of Digital Shadows, knows what large enterprises need to stay protected. He introduced the concept of cyber situational awareness, an all-encompassing take on threat intelligence as it pertains to each customer.

“Our clients are interested in what’s going on around them,” said Chappell. “They want to know what tactics are being used around them and what they should do to align their defenses.”

Chappell recently sat down with Richard Stiennon for an in-depth interview during the 2016 RSA Conference in San Francisco. He provided a unique take on threat intelligence and explained how his company serves its clients.

“The term ‘situational awareness’ comes from the military,” said Chappell. “Just as you might imagine a general stood on top of a hill with a pair of binoculars, trying to work out where to place his assets in the field, and to work out what’s going to come over the horizon at those assets. That’s a good way to look at how you defend a business.”

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Digital Shadows’ James Chappell interviewed by Richard Stiennon

Overloaded Term

Chappell described threat intelligence as being an “overloaded term” that “means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.”

“Part of the market is about data feeds and has some value,” he said. “You can reconfigure the network in response to those.”

No enterprise is afforded the luxury of infinite resources. Chappell understands that every business must figure out how to implement those resources to the best effect, and to do it in a way that’s tailored toward each company’s individual situation.

“If you place yourself in the shoes of an attacker, look at your infrastructure as an attacker would, and then look at the changes in behavior over time, you’re going to learn a lot more,” Chappell explained. “So it’s more context-based — looking at tactics and motivations — and then looking at your own assets within the context of those threats.”

More Attacks

Security breaches are more common and more publicized than ever before. Unfortunately, it could be a while before the situation changes.

“I think we’re working in a much more complicated world,” said Chappell. “Our reliance on technology is going up, it’s not going down. Because of that we’re seeing much more complexity in the attacks.”

In the old days, hackers would initiate DDoS attacks and deface company websites. Now hacktivists steal data and publish it online.

“2015 was the year of extortion, right?” Chappell questioned. “[In] 2016, it doesn’t look like that trend is going to stop.”

If anything, Chappell said hackers have proven that extortion has become a “business model,” ensuring it will continue.

Financial Roots

As far as the company’s history is concerned, Chappell said that Digital Shadows is “very fortunate” to have started out in the financial services sector.

“We did a lot of work early on with Tier 1 banks because they were early adopters of this technology,” he said. “We have actually broadened out much further than this, so now we work with large supermarkets, we work with energy companies, utilities, pretty much anyone in a larger enterprise who’s got a job of defending an infrastructure from a variety of attacks.”

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That’s a Wrap. Until Next Year, RSAC.

My experience at the annual gathering of what seems like the entire IT security industry is different than most. Each year at the RSA Conference in San Francisco IT-Harvest reserves one of the biggest hotel suites in the city and outfits it as a video studio. Our flawless team of videographers at New Leaf Media haul in several carts of equipment, push all the furniture into a corner, hang an elaborate backdrop, and set up for a three-camera shoot.
While everyone else is busy meeting, going to sessions, presenting, and walking the show floor, I am ensconced in our suite from 8 AM to 6 PM recording video interviews with industry executives, technologists, and thought leaders. Over the last six years we have recorded 150 such interviews.  I use them in my own research and embed them in my writing. If you are new to the IT security industry you could get up to speed quickly by watching these. They are hosted at

Here is the complete list of 29 video interviews conducted at RSAC 2016. We will be uploading them over the next several weeks.

Comodo. John Peterson is an old friend. We have interviewed him before. He joined us to talk about Comodo, which in addition to being the largest issuer of SSL certificates, offers PKI solutions for enterprise and endpoint protection for the desktop.

Vidder. I met Junaid Islam, CTO,  for the first time as I interviewed him about Vidder’s PrecisionAccess. Think white listing for access control. Users and their devices are authenticated before being granted access to only allowed applications.

Untangle. Untangle’s CEO, Bob Walters, explained how this UTM vendor is successfully executing on a go to market strategy for SMB; a rare approach in the UTM space where everyone wants to be an enterprise player.

vArmour. Former Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity for DHS, Mark Weatherford, talked to me about VArmour’s security for workloads in the cloud.

CloudPassage. Amrit Williams, CTO of CloudPassage, and fellow alumnus of Gartner, talked about cloud security and protection across multiple platforms.

Digital Shadows. James Chappell, CTO and co-founder, introduced the concept of cyber situational awareness, an all-encompassing take on threat intelligence as it pertains to each customer.

Illumio. Andrew Rubin, CEO, returns to talk about how Illumine enforce policies across all workloads via a lightweight software agent that is installed in the operating system of any server, VM, or container. It collects network flows and workload information, and programs the native stateful firewall in the host (iptables in Linux, Windows Filtering Platform) to enforce inheritable protections.

Onapsis, the SAP security platform is described by Mariano Nunez, co-founder and CEO.

Cylance. Stuart McClure dropped by to update us on his machine learning informed endpoint protection solution. After two years, Cylance is gaining traction across many enterprises.

Hexatier is the re-branded GreenSQL.  I talked to the newly appointed CEO, Dan Dinnar, about enterprise adoption of cloud database firewalls.

FourV. Casey Corcoran, VP Strategy, described how FourV’s risk management platform calculates risk factors, in real-time, from the flood of existing security and IT systems data.

Flashpoint. Lance James, Chief Scientist, barely took a breath as he described the value proposition and power of mining the Deep&Dark web for threat intel.  Tim Prendergast visited our studio to talk about’s easy to deploy cloud policy management platform.

ThreatQuotient. John Czupak and Ryan Trost tag teamed an interview to talk about Threat Intelligence Platforms (Read more about TIPs in the IT-Harvest Threat Intel Market Research Report just published.)

Fortinet. Once again we talked to John Maddison, Senior VP at Fortinet about their extraordinary growth.

whiteCryption. Thorsten Held, Managing Director, introduced me to whiteCryption’s software HSM. A critical component of trusted communications.

Entrust Datacard. Datacard bought Entrust at an opportune time. I talked with CEO Todd Wilkinson about the growing market for digital certificates for identity.

Gemalto. Jason Hart, VP and CTO, had a wide ranging discussion about hardware HSMs and the wide breadth of enterprise security products at Gemalto.

Barracuda. I talked with Klaus Gheri, VP Network Security, about a new product Barracuda introduced to tie remote facilities back to the head office securely.

Cyren is executing on its strategy to branch out from being purely an OEM provider of URL and reputation feeds to dozens of security vendors. Lior Kohavi  returned to give us an update on Cyren’s stand alone product for advanced malware defense in the cloud.

Solutionary. John Petrie, CISO, talked about the company’s progress since the acquisition by NTT Docomo and future plans to consolidate MSSP services under a global umbrella.

Bomgar. Matt Dirks, the CEO of Bomgar, explained how the company saw an opportunity to expand from a secure remote desktop for customer support to privileged user management.

Vasco. Ken Hunt, a youthful CEO of one of the oldest security companies, described Vasco’s two-factor authentication and digital signature solutions for financial institutions and other industry verticals.

RedSeal. It was a pleasure talking to Ray Rothrock, CEO of RedSeal, once again. He introduced the concept of digital resilience and how RedSeal is building it into their risk management dashboards.

Arbor Networks. It is well worth watching the series of interviews I have conducted with Dan Holden, Director of ASERT, Arbor’s research team. This year, as always, we had a free ranging discussion on the past year’s developments in the threat space and trends he sees in the industry.

RSA Security. I talked with Sanjay Raja, Senior Director of Product Marketing. We had a great conversation about RSA’s product coverage and future plans.

Skybox. This year I talked once again with CEO and Founder Gidi Cohen. Skybox is looking to expand its position in the risk management space aggressively with the help of a recent infusion of $96 million. Ravid Circus chimed in on the technical side.

PhishLabs. John LaCour, Founder, talked about advanced techniques for hardening an enterprise against the scourge of phishing attacks.

Versasec. Joakim Thoren, CEO, introduced me to Versasec’s complete line of smartcard enabling products.

You can imagine that my head was packed full after three days of intensive talks with so many technology vendors. I think I was in a fog by the time I stumbled onto the show floor to see as many exhibitors as possible. I did take 15 minutes to present the results of just completed research on the entire IT security vendor space for RSA TV. Much more on that to come.

Watch this space where we will be posting each of the videos as they come out of post-production. That will give us enough content to talk about until BlackHat when we will be recording more!