The most difficult task for Enterprise security start-ups isn’t hacking security firewalls—it’s breaking business barriers. Enterprises have the largest stake in security since they have the most vulnerable data to protect: banks, hospitals, and insurance companies, to name a few. These organizations tend to have strict security and compliance policies, such as PCI-DSS.
It requires a big leap of faith for Enterprise customers to rely on small security start-ups with their mission-critical data and infrastructure. Security-focused entrepreneurs are challenged to gain credibility and trust among the Enterprise, and lack the structure, brand and resources to build relationships and become effective players in a new space. These start-ups provide critical solutions to their customers, but can’t get the big players to return their calls. The cyber security space is flooded with large vendors vying for their own territory. Still, some smaller counterparts have a distinct advantage.
Four security starts-ups managed to crack the code and find a way in: Verodin, ThreatQ, Exabeam and Duo all kept their small shop advantage while adopting big company chops under Cisco Investments as portfolio companies. Cisco Investments has nourished these four with our trove of security industry experts and resources. Using Cisco’s leverage, the fab four jumped major start-up hurdles:
- Access to Enterprise customers, who engaged and provided the four with critical feedback, beta testing, and the potential for early customer references; and
- Access to other Enterprise software and hardware vendors, with whom Cisco has existing customer relationships, who were willing to partner with the start-ups to go to market more successfully.
Cisco Investments partnered with these early-stage security start-ups to make introductions to their customers and partners and integrate their technologies into Cisco product lines. By partnering with Cisco Investments and their vendors, the start-ups co-sell their solutions inside an established sales channel and get direct introductions to key decision makers in large corporations.
The examples are endless. At our second GSSO Security Pitch Day on March 2nd, our very own Dave Justice, Senior VP of Global Security & Enterprise Networking Sales, Tom McDonough, Senior Advisor, Corporate Development & Integration, and Ali Pirani, VP Global Security Systems Engineering met with four of our cyber security start-ups: Verodin, ThreatQ, Exabeam and Duo.
Verodin’s discussion around their products ability to maximize customers’ existing security tools garnered key support from Cisco. Cisco Investments connected Verodin to Cisco Advanced Services for product and service integration opportunities and for a cross-use case of Verodin’s technology between Cisco and WWT .
ThreatQ’s product had the benefit of multiple Cisco product integrations and a joint customer win in Dubai with our services team for a “SOC in a Box” offer where Cisco is building out various customer SOCS. Dave Justice’s team is discussing how to scale this model as a blueprint for future joint successes with other start-ups. Both Verodin and ThreatQ have relationships with our product teams, and they are building relationships with Cisco Services as well.
With Cisco Investments, start-ups like these are breaking the barriers of going to market in the Enterprise security space and building the bridges to a better security landscape.
About the author:
Hitesh Saijpal leads the Cisco Investments Portfolio Development team whose primary goal is to deliver differentiated value to the portfolio companies by leveraging Cisco’s go-to-market and product development eco-system.