Dylan James: I recently sat down with ForeScout CEO Mike DeCesare to chat about visibility, orchestration and going public. Here’s a recap of our discussion.
Mike so many vendors are talking about IoT visibility. What does that mean to you?
Mike DeCesare: Let’s back up about 10 years to understand the trend. Organizations for the better part of the last 20 years, since the invention of the internet, have been able to control every device that comes on their network. With the start of the iPhone 10 years ago this year, and through the explosion of IoT devices, those same IT departments now have to deal with a whole bunch of devices on their network that they do not control, and they cannot mandate anything being on those devices. So, when people talk about IoT, they’re talking about a new trend in high tech where all of these devices are coming online, causing new security and visibility challenges for organizations.
Dylan: Speaking of new trends, guys just recently launched ForeScout CounterACT® 8. Tell me a little about what’s new on the technology front for you guys.
Mike: Our mission as a company is to be the de facto standard for visibility across the extended enterprise. We see a real opportunity for us. If organizations don’t understand 100% what is on their network, then they can’t be confident that they’re securing all assets that can be harmful. So, when we look out across ForeScout CounterACT 8, it was a major, major level of innovation to come out of our organization. We now can scale to over two million devices in a single installation, which makes us very uniquely qualified to solve the problems of the largest governments and businesses around the world. But we also came out with technology that makes us a much more substantial player in what you call the OT (operational technology) space. When you look at an organization, we like to refer to them in terms of IT (informational technology) and OT. The data centers and campus and servers being in the IT bucket, and the industrial control systems and similar business-use cases in the OT bucket. Organizations see that as one giant network. We now give them the ability to play an equal role on both sides of that equation, which is very useful.
Dylan: That’s awesome. And another big part of that is the orchestration strategy that ForeScout has with all of your partners. Share a little about ForeScout’s orchestration strategy.
Mike: The number one use case that people come to ForeScout to solve is answering that question of “What is on my network?” But the challenge is, once they understand what’s connecting, the solutions become very fragmented. Unlike any other area of IT, the moment a new innovative company develops something, there’s a very high likelihood that large organizations will adopt it. Because it’s a first mover advantage against an ever-growing bad actor in the world that’s trying to break into those organizations. But what you’re left with is a very fragmented industry of a lot of different best-of-breed technologies that don’t speak to each other.
Our approach towards orchestration is a little bit unique from the way that other companies use the word “orchestration.” In the sense that we contract with folks to be the de facto standard for visibility. We do that through our own IP, integrations, and network infrastructure. Once that’s in place, there’s a lot of other products, whether in the vulnerability management space or anti-virus, that in some way either share the visibility we have about those devices or allow organizations to actually take action on those devices.
Dylan: Fantastic. So, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask you a little bit about your IPO experience on Nasdaq. ForeScout is one of our younger companies that we’ve welcomed to the market, in October 2017. Congratulations again, what a great celebration. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Mike: This is the first time that I’ve gone through an IPO process, let alone in the position of CEO. We honestly could not have counted on or asked for a better partner than Nasdaq in this. It was so many firsts for us in a very compressed amount of time. The sponsorship, the partnership that we had from Nasdaq along the way, was great and we’ll count on that for years to come. We also chose Nasdaq because when we look out across who we see as peer companies in the industry, almost every one of them lists on the Nasdaq so we know we’re in good company.
Dylan: We’re honored to have you. We’re excited to be a customer of ForeScout as well.
Mike: I appreciate it, thanks for taking the time.