Executive Spotlight: An Interview with Partha Panda, CEO of Cysiv

06.06.22 | Blog Post

Partha Panda, CEO and Co-founder of Cysiv, is a serial entrepreneur and company builder who has successfully taken multiple early stage technologies to market, creating an ecosystem of customers and partners around the products. Prior to Cysiv, Partha served as Partner at Trend Forward Capital, VP of Corporate & Business Development at Trend Micro, VP of Client Services at Third Brigade, and Senior Manager of Services & SI Alliances at Encommerce (acquired by Entrust).

We caught up with Partha moments before Forescout announced its acquisition of Cysiv.

Partha, congratulations on the announcement! How do you feel?
Today’s announcement is a very positive development for the customers and employees of both Cysiv and Forescout, and I feel very excited and proud as it marks the start of the next stage in our growth and journey.

 

What will Forescout and Cysiv achieve together, for your customers and our industry at large?
The combination of Forescout and Cysiv will provide organizations with improved threat detection, incident prioritization and automated alert action and remediation. Forescout is recognized by many of the world’s largest organizations as the leader in automated cybersecurity across the digital terrain, ensuring customers can see all the devices connected to their networks, continuously and in real-time, and then take automated action to mitigate risks. Cysiv has invested heavily in developing a unique, robust and data science-driven, modern cloud-native security analytics platform.

What really excites me is the opportunity that customers will now have of applying Cysiv’s rich data analytics to all the telemetry collected by the Forescout platform, and correlating it with other data sources, including cloud, infrastructure and application data, to find hidden and evasive threats faster with more timely, automated and effective response.

Until now, no other SOC-as-a-service, managed detection and response (MDR) provider, or managed security service vendor has had access to such valuable device and user data, or the ability to automate the response actions required to remediate threats. Bringing these two capabilities together as a single solution will be extremely valuable for a wide range of industries, not simply OT, IoT or IoMT-centric enterprises, such manufacturers, healthcare, energy, retail or government.

Take us back to when you founded Cysiv. Why did it make so much sense to invent the powerful SOC-as-a-Service platform you’ve built?
When Justin Foster, our CTO, and I started the company we looked at how SOCs were operating and were struck by how much they relied on outdated technologies that weren’t integrated, and a lot of staff and inefficient processes. And so, while it was becoming increasingly critical for businesses to be able to detect and respond to threats, having an effective, modern, 24/7 SOC was beyond the reach of the vast majority of them. We really saw an opportunity to democratize that access. There were three key reasons why it is becoming more challenging for traditional SOCs to be effective.

First, is the modernization of applications. Finding hidden threats has grown exponentially more difficult due to the increasing complexity involved with monitoring modern applications—cloud, containers, serverless and composable infrastructure—and the associated cloud-scale volume of data that needs to be processed and correlated.

Second, is the highly fluid threat environment. The attack surface that cybercriminals can target has expanded significantly with cloud, mobile, OT, IoT, medical IoT, and work-from anywhere environments. It is increasingly difficult to defend against threat actors that are able to quickly launch automated, complex, multi-stage attacks. Their weapons are more sophisticated and effective, and they increasingly leverage ML and AI to achieve their objectives.

And finally, we can’t overlook the increasing complexity of security solutions that companies have bought. Fully leveraging the data generated from numerous and disparate security solutions that have already been deployed and are correlating and monitoring this data 24/7 to find indicators of an attack requires specialized tools that are expensive and difficult to integrate and operate effectively.

Overcoming these challenges requires a range of specialized security skills that are difficult to find and expensive to hire, manage and retain.

When we considered all these factors, we realized there was a strong need for a modern, more effective approach to threat detection and response. And that was the genesis of our platform and SOC-as-a-service solution.

What does this acquisition mean for your day to day and how you’ll lead?
For me personally, I really don’t think it’ll change the way I lead. I’ll continue to ensure our teams deliver superior service and results for our customers, and I’ll ensure that the integration of Cysiv into Forescout is seamless and productive. The scope of what we’ll be exposed to, in terms of engineering, customers and opportunities will expand enormously, and that’s truly energizing.

I’ve been very fortunate to have such a great team at Cysiv, and I know all of our leaders are looking forward to seeing the chemistry that our two engineering teams can develop and what they can create together. We’ve been collaborating on product integration work for the past year and have achieved tremendous results. As well, we’re naturally excited to learn from the experiences of the Forescout team as it relates to connected devices, while leveraging their international field organization and being able to present our combined solution to Forescout’s large customer base.

You’ve worn many different hats while building and scaling early-stage companies to achieve global success across industries. What do you consider to be the most important decisions and accelerants at this early phase of growth?

Every phase of growth presents its own opportunities and challenges. However, at the early stages of growth, I think there are some key things that you have to get right to enable you to accelerate into the next phase, and that have to be part of your “win requirements”:

  • Customer Service: Always keep them first. Stay committed to addressing your customers’ cybersecurity challenges and requirements, by carefully listening to them, working with them, and learning from every situation so that you are constantly advancing your solution.
  • Team: Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are, and have the right attitude. We’ve had the good fortune of attracting some amazing talent into the company and the support of a very experienced and capable board.
  • Innovation: Learn to always challenge yourselves and each other, and foster an environment where this is encouraged. And constantly be searching for new, innovative approaches to solving cybersecurity challenges.
  • Ecosystem: Build an ecosystem of customers, partners and strategic alliances that you can leverage to quickly realize your goals across all functional areas of the business, not simply sales.
  • Speed: One of the key accelerants at the early stage, in particular, is the ability to operate at speed. To be able to make collaborative and often bold decisions quickly but thoughtfully too, and to respond on a dime to customer requirements, can be a critical differentiator when you’re competing against larger incumbents.

 

How will you celebrate this moment?
There are a broad range of people and teams that I look forward to celebrating with, in different ways, in the days and weeks to come. This includes our Cysiv team members, the Foregpoint team, Forescout and more personally with my wife and sons. This has been a team effort, and I will share my gratitude and appreciation with everyone, reflect on our incredible journey and share our dreams of the future.

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