Another milestone in our company's journey
SEATTLE – October 23, 2018 We're excited to announce the next chapter in our company's journey - joining the eSentire team. We've always believed a modern security posture requires an integrated approach that applies humans and technology to what each is best at. That's why we’re excited for Versive’s technology to further empower eSentire’s elite security practitioners with machine-scale technology to fill the gaps adversaries exploit.
To hear more about this exciting new chapter, we sat down with Dustin Rigg Hillard, former CTO of Versive and new CTO of eSentire.
What are you most excited about when you think about the combination of these two companies?
I’m most excited about the opportunity to bring the technology we’ve developed at Versive to the large and growing customer base of eSentire. Our mission has always been to take world class human expertise and develop software that automates and scales beyond what humans can do alone. The operational security expertise at eSentire is exactly the the kind of knowledge that the team at Versive is passionate about scaling up with our machine learning and AI platform to effectively protect customer environments. The talent shortage in security and AI today is making it difficult for customers to get the expertise they need on their security teams. The opportunity to deliver Versive technology as part of the eSentire MDR platform, with their security experts, provides a path to evolving how humans and technology can work together to solve the most challenging problems in cybersecurity.
What do you think the first 90 days look like for the teams, customers and partners?
We are combining the engineering teams into one team from day one. That will provide the joint team with the ability to immediately begin executing on the overall business goals of eSentire with our full resources. We will continue delivering the Versive product to the existing customers, and begin integrating the offering into the broader eSentire product portfolio. For eSentire customers and partners we will begin communicating about the how the Versive technology will be strengthening the existing eSentire services, as well as the roadmap for the future.
You’ve been building Versive for 6 years. What is your long term vision and how does eSentire’s acquisition of Versive fit into that?
We started Versive with the vision to democratize machine learning and AI technology, expanding beyond the primary markets in search, advertising, finance, and language technology. There is so much hype about the potential of AI, but we find that for the most part customers are frustrated with the unkept promises of products that are pitched as life changing, but just deliver more of the same. Our experience is that the real value of AI products comes from taking world class expertise and applying that at scale with software to challenging business problems. eSentire provides us with the access to a large amount of security expertise, and a large amount of high quality security data, which are the key ingredients to delivering on machine learning software that solves an important business problem. Finally, we are also passionate about delivering results from complex machine learning and AI systems in a clear and explainable way. This is especially important in security, where the justification for a result is just as important as the initial detection. Delivering natural explanations that put a security incident in context for a particular environment is core to the mission of Managed Detection and Response, and I’m excited to help evolve how SOC analysts and customers interact with security data and results.
How does the pairing of these two firms help advance what you think a modern security posture should look like?
Versive and eSentire were both attacking the same problem: how security works today will not be successful tomorrow. The rapid growth in security data, combined with dynamically evolving computing environments, is quickly creating problems that are intractable for security teams to address with current approaches. eSentire recognized the problem early and developed a combination of technology and services that can protect their customers in ways they would not be capable of on their own. At Versive we also believe that the current approach won’t work to defend against evolving threats, and that most security tools today generate busy work for teams based on large amounts of alerts derived from previous attacks. There’s a prevailing thought that defenders are at a disadvantage because all attackers need to do is find the one flaw in defenses to exploit.
Our mission at eSentire will be to flip that assumption, returning the advantage to the defenders. As the defender, a customer has the advantage in the ability to instrument, collect data, and understand what should be happening on their own network. Machine learning and AI provide the technology to automate the generation of situational awareness for each customer network, so that it only takes one mistake by the attacker to easily identify the attack and respond. A modern security posture requires thinking like the attacker. What will the attacker do? How can I observe what they do? How can I make sure I know, even if they aren’t using known tools and tactics? Automated understanding of security data, paired with human security expertise that can quickly triage and respond, will be how defenders retake the advantage.