Exabeam discusses latest threats, activity and plans for the region

Security Solutions media spoke with Phil Routley from Exabeam, discussing the company’s growth and specific plans for the region.

Please give us a quick overview on Exabeam. What is the company’s core mission, points of difference, etc.

Exabeam’s mission is to light the way and unleash security teams and organisations by removing the obstacles of outdated tech, rigid mindsets, and talent shortages to make security success the norm. Not an easy task, but worth the fight.

Exabeam is security built for an ever-changing set of demands. Between digital transformation and the increasing amount of distributed people, systems and data, the perimeter has disappeared. Exabeam’s use-case and outcomes-based approach to security around external threats, compromised insiders and malicious insiders are perfectly suited to support organisations as they manage exponential amounts of data and return to the post-pandemic workplace in a variety of hybrid scenarios.

Here’s what makes Exabeam unique. We like to call these ‘Difference Makers’.

We have a proven track record of innovation, for example we pioneered the user and entity behaviour analytics (UEBA) space to solve threat detection. We also leverage our core competency in machine learning (ML) to solve threat triage and investigation.

Our actionable intelligence and smart automation capabilities complete the full lifecycle of threat detection, investigation and response (TDIR).

We take an outcome-based approach and help security operations centres (SOCs) by layering content on top of our solutions to offer resilience to security threats, from the most common and trivial to the most advanced and sophisticated.

Beyond TDIR, our cloud-delivered platform can be extended to solve some of the SOCs’ most critical problems in security operations (SecOps).

What is Exabeam’s footprint across ANZ, and the wider APAC region?

ANZ and APAC are burgeoning markets for Exabeam. In 2020, we tripled our workforce in the region through the recruitment of additional team members across sales, pre-sales, channel, marketing and customer support across APJ and more than doubled the team in Japan.

We also localised our product offerings for the Japanese market, and since mid-2019, we have provided in-country infrastructure failover with dual data centres, available in Tokyo and Osaka. This regional growth closely followed the announcement of an exclusive distribution agreement in Australia and New Zealand with cybersecurity specialist Orca Tech. Exabeam also has a distribution agreement with Exclusive Networks in New Zealand.

Since early 2020, we’ve seen growing demand from organisations in the region, looking to save on data ingestion costs associated with their legacy security information and event management (SIEM) and behavioural analytics systems. Customers are also turning to Exabeam Fusion SIEM and Exabeam Fusion XDR to reduce investigation times for security teams and better utilise junior security analysts by providing them with user-friendly security tools that automate threat investigation and response. Notable customers include Deakin University, NTT DATA, United Airlines and Levis.

 What is Exabeam’s go-to-market model? Do you work with channel partners, MSSPs etc?

Yes, we do. Exabeam has a 100% partner centric sales model. Our partner program includes solution providers, MSPs and MSSPs, global service providers and technology alliances.

 It has been a big few months for the company. Please tell us about the latest funding round, where that money will be used, and related growth plans for Exabeam in our region.

We raised $200 million in a Series F round and announced a new company valuation of $2.4 billion. It was led by new investor Owl Rock division of Blue Owl Capital and supported by existing investors Acrew Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners.

We did this round to ensure we have enough operating capital to carry us through the next few years.  As many companies learned during COVID, you can never have too much cash put away should the market turn down. This round accomplishes that in a big way.

The funding, valuation and appointment of new CEO Michael DeCesare mark a new chapter in Exabeam’s journey. We are a self-sustaining cybersecurity company going after a big problem. The goal is to leverage this position of strength to address the broader $30B security operations (SecOps) market in ANZ, APAC and beyond. With our security analytics and automation, XDR and SIEM capabilities, we are on our way to becoming the leading cloud SecOps platform that security teams can rely on to protect their organisations from an increasing number of adversaries and attack techniques.

The company has recently appointed ex McAfee CEO Michael DeCesare to the role of CEO. What is he bringing to the company, changes in leadership style, and how might this have an effect on Exabeam’s plans for ANZ?

Chairman of the Board and Founder Nir Polak, Exabeam’s former CEO, and the search committee aligned on the importance of the following qualities in the next CEO: knowledge of enterprise security, IPO and public company experience, a passion for leading and a great cultural fit. Michael checked all the boxes.

Michael has deep security experience, has gone through an IPO and run a public company, is a passionate leader and a great cultural fit. With more than 25 years of industry experience, including serving as president of Intel Security and EVP of worldwide sales at McAfee, he brings a wealth of enterprise security knowledge and expertise. He was most recently CEO, president and a board of directors member for Forescout. In this role, he led the company to unicorn status and an IPO.

Similar to Nir, he leads with a people-first mentality. Nir wholeheartedly believes he is the right business leader to take Exabeam through its next phase of growth, including in ANZ, where his appreciation of the specific market nuances will only accelerate the momentum in this region.

There is an increase in phishing scams as a result of Covid – what is Exabeam seeing in the ‘new normal’, with many more individuals working remotely?

We’re seeing a mass migration back to the office as vaccination rates rise rapidly in the U.S. According to Morning Consult, as of June 2021, 69% of workers say they’d feel comfortable going back to a physical workplace.

Cybercriminals are targeting these eager employees with phishing scams already, and as more people seek normalcy in the coming months, these threats will only increase. These scams can lead to login detail theft that can quickly compromise entire corporate networks. In fact, the 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report revealed that 61% of breaches involved credentials, and the use of stolen credentials was present in 25% of breaches last year. The report perfectly stated: “We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—everyone loves credentials. Credentials are the glazed donut of data types.”

Sprinkle in tens, hundreds or even thousands of employees bringing their laptops, phones and tablets back to the workplace that have likely been passed around between parents for work, kids for remote learning and video games, etc. for more than a year, and we have a recipe for chaos…that can be resolved with the right SOC processes. That’s where Exabeam comes in. Our Fusion product line can baseline user behaviour and prioritise anomalous events indicative of cyberthreats for security team response — helping organisations take control of the new normal.

What do the next 12 months look like for the company in our region?

Off the back of our appointment of Exclusive Networks as our distributor for New Zealand, we will continue to expand and support our channel partners to ensure they have the support they need to accelerate our growth in region.

Our Open XDR message is resonating with customers and partners, so you can expect to see even greater collaboration with our Technical Alliance Partners such as Netskope and Crowdstrike to better address the security challenges our customers are facing.

Lastly, we’ll continue to invest into our sales, channel and customer support teams in region, to ensure we are delivering the level of expertise and service our customers have come to know us for.