FireEye 2.0: Cyberhumans as a Service

CEO Kevin Mandia on the future direction of FireEye

FireEye 2.0: Cyberhumans as a Service
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FireEye went public as a security appliance vendor in September of 2013. Three months later, in December of 2013, they dropped about $1 billion to acquire privately held Mandiant, a leading data breach and incident response firm at the time.

Mandiant brought a large team of experienced cybersecurity consultants, threat hunters, breach responders, malware experts, engineers and professional services personnel to FireEye. In essence, FireEye's other half.

Kevin Mandia, previously founder and CEO of Mandiant and currently CEO and board director at FireEye, went one on one with CSO as his one-year anniversary heading the company nears.

They way Mandia explains it, FireEye has rolled its cyber experts and products into a cloud-based platform aimed at defending Fortune 500 and Global 2000 corporations, and organizations globally, against cyber criminals. Call it Cyberhumans as a Service, and watch the CISOs come running.

The biggest cyber risk faced by CIOs and CISOs is recruiting and retaining experienced IT security talent. In fact, the world faces a severe workforce shortage that is expected to reach 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021.

Cybersecurity products and platforms are great—when an organization has the people to implement them and to interpret the volumes of data and alerts those products spit out. The problem for most is they don't have the people.

Mandia says FireEye is integrating their team of cybersecurity experts, which numbers around 1,000, into their cloud-based security platform. The value proposition is compelling—Security as a Service, incident responders included. Meaning, the FireEye technology will detect cyber threats, and the FireEye people will respond to them. Behind every FireEye product, there's a FireEye expert. That's the direction.

Top incident response experience

If the Mandiant staff—which are now well integrated into FireEye—have one thing to offer, it's incident response experience. FireEye has responded to a huge number of data breaches, including some of the most visible and harmful cyber attacks since they acquired the Mandiant team. Mandia says FireEye works 200,000 hours a year on responding to the world’s most consequential breaches.

A year after taking over as CEO, Mandia is leading FireEye at a time when there's huge headroom for growth. Cyber crime is expected to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. To combat cyber crime, the market forecast for cybersecurity products and services over the next five years exceeds $1 trillion (cumulatively).

The cybersecurity market is crowded with many new entrants flush with VC funding. Large tech companies, including Cisco and IBM, are formidable competitors. But a cyber defense platform in the cloud, with a pulse, is a very compelling value proposition.

Will FireEye's shift to the cloud pay-off? Time will tell. If FireEye's sales team is able to tell it the way Mandia does, then there should be a growing number of seven-figure deals in their pipeline.

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