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Tushar Kothari, CEO of Attivo Networks, brings over twenty-five years of experience successfully building and scaling category-defining software, hardware, and services on a global basis. Prior to Attivo Networks, Tushar served as CEO at Pacific Technology Partners, VP of Sales at NCR, SVP WW Field Sales at Meru Networks (acq. Fortinet), VP WW Channels at Juniper Networks, and VP/GM at Cisco.
We spoke with Tushar moments before SentinelOne (NYSE: S) announced its intent to acquire Attivo Networks.
Tushar, congratulations on the incredible news! How do you feel?
Thank you. I am excited to join forces with SentinelOne CEO Tomer Weingarten, COO Nicholas Warner, and the rest of their accomplished management team. We are thrilled to join the SentinelOne mission and look forward to working together to further advance identity security to the forefront of cyber defense.
SentinelOne has been an integration partner for a few years now. What led to this decision to take things further and join forces?
As we considered the opportunity to join SentinelOne, it was abundantly clear that our companies share a vision, a passion, and a successful track record of providing customers with superior defenses to protect themselves from adversaries. SentinelOne made this acquisition to better protect customers from cyber threats and it identified Attivo as the premier identity security solution provider and complement to Singularity XDR. Attivo also expands SentinelOne’s total addressable market by $4 billion in the fast-growing, critical Identity Security market.
Tell us more about Identity Threat Detection and Response (ITDR). How will SentinelOne’s customers and their end users observe the benefits of Attivo Networks – and vice versa?
Identity security is central to the cybersecurity threat landscape and detecting and responding to identity-based threats. While many tools intend to keep networks secure, Attivo Identity Threat Detection and Response (ITDR) gives organizations a critical new weapon in their arsenal to find and fix credential and entitlement weaknesses and detect live attacks on a real-time basis. As modern cybercriminals attempt to exploit vulnerable credentials and entitlements to move through networks undetected, Attivo ITDR solutions play a meaningful role in stopping them, whereas other tools simply cannot. Additionally, Attivo can seamlessly extend to the cloud and deliver detailed entitlement visibility for identities – including users, applications, containers, serverless functions, and other assets.
SentinelOne is an autonomous cybersecurity platform company. Its Singularity XDR platform encompasses AI-powered prevention, detection, response and hunting across endpoints, containers, cloud workloads, and IoT devices. SentinelOne acquired Attivo to bring identity to XDR, which is the missing link in holistic XDR and zero trust strategies. With this acquisition, SentinelOne extends its AI-powered prevention, detection, and response capabilities to identity-based threats, setting the standard for XDR and accelerating zero trust adoption within enterprise security programs.
You’ve stated this acquisition is not an exit but an accelerant. What will this mean for your team, customers, and partners?
By its very nature, an exit implies a change in direction or act of deceleration. Joining forces with SentinelOne is just the opposite: this is an opportunity to continue Attivo’s current path without slowing down.
As we continue to travel the road to XDR, we plan to hit the accelerator by taking advantage of the significant and growing market opportunities within our collective grasp. This acquisition will create a wide range of new opportunities for the entire Attivo Networks ecosystem—our dedicated employees, growing customer base, global partner network, and valued technology partners.
Let’s flashback to when you were first building Attivo. Back then, the vision was just in its infancy – and nowhere near the comprehensive, award-winning solution Attivo is today. How did you sequence and evolve your product roadmap, balancing customer needs and the scaling constraints of a startup?
Attivo began with the mission of detecting lateral movement and insider threats. Over time as we followed various attacks, it became clear that most of them started by harvesting identity and credentials in the initial stages of the attack. Hence, we created the technology to detect and derail attackers at this initial stage of the attack cycle.
The attackers’ favorite is Active Directory, as it is the Google Map of the network and who is who in the organization. In fact, over the last six months, I have received calls from CEOs and CISOs whose AD was compromised, and the attackers were asking for ransom. During this phase, these organizations could not trust their networks and used their personal email addresses and other methods to communicate with us.
You began your career writing AI software in product management before transitioning to executive roles across general management, sales and business development, go-to-market, business operations and more. As a seasoned CEO and industry veteran, what advice do you have for other aspiring or current entrepreneurs?
My first tech job taught me a lot about how to design and define products. Not only did it teach me about what I was developing, but how it could be applied to business.
Take on more responsibilities and don’t be afraid to step up to a challenge, even if you are starting as an engineer. When you are responsible for a project, always look at the bigger picture. Keeping these in mind will prepare you for a C-level position.
How will you celebrate this milestone?
We’re still finalizing terms. The acquisition is expected to close during SentinelOne’s second quarter (FY23), subject to customary regulatory and closing conditions.
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