Security Market Segment LS
Monday, 01 August 2016 11:31

VIDEO Interview: Tenable co-founder and COO Jack Huffard talks modern network security

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Is the security posture of your enterprise tenable, or are there gaps in your network security? Tenable’s continuous monitoring security solutions are clearly designed to turn your protection up to eleven.

Tenable Network Security.

It’s the company that created Nessus, billed as "the most widely deployed vulnerability assessment solution" that "transforms security technology for the business needs of tomorrow through comprehensive solutions".

These solutions are said to "provide continuous visibility and critical context, enabling decisive actions to protect your organisation".

Promising the elimination of blind spots, the prioritisation of threats, and the reduction of exposure and loss, the company boasts over a million users and more than 20,000 enterprise customers worldwide.

Indeed, the short version of the customer list is impressive, with customers ranging "from Fortune Global 500 companies, to the US Department of Defence, to mid-sized and small businesses in all sectors, including finance, government, healthcare, higher education, retail and energy".

The company was brought to my attention (and now yours) due to the fact its co-founder, president and chief operating officer, Jack Huffard, is visiting Australia, to meet customers and employees, and who is presumably turning network security up to elevenable!

Huffard spoke to me in an exclusive video interview, which is explained below. The article continues thereafter, please read on!

In the video, I introduce Huffard and asked him to tell us about Tenable Network Security and how its offerings stand out from the competition

He explained why he is visiting Australia, and I asked him about the history of the name "tenable", which as you’ll hear, is actually related to security.

We spoke about the "migration of corporate data centres to the cloud" which will "drastically affect security" and what this means for enterprise security today.

We spoke about the new security approach needed by companies, and Huffard’s thoughts on the ISO and NIST cybersecurity frameworks.

Huffard looked into the crystal ball and to see what kind of challenges we might be facing in a decade, and he thought the security industry, Tenable and the bad guys would evolve over that time.

He then shared some great advice he had received over the years to help him get where is today, and his final video interview message for viewers, readers and for Tenable’s current and future customers.

Some additional background is that Tenable says it "believes that the outright migration of corporate data centres to the cloud will drastically affect security".

Indeed, this means that "traditional network and infrastructure controls will no longer be an afterthought in designing and deploying systems" as they "will be embedded into the cloud infrastructure".

One of the things this leads Tenable to proclaim is that "the endpoint" as we currently know it is dead, Huffard explains why this isn’t strictly the case just yet, although it’s a future we are heading towards.

That said, Tenable does provide reasoning for why it believes the "endpoint as we currently know it is dead, and so is the need to deploy and manage endpoint security controls".

These controls include:

  • Anti-virus, anti-malware, and other preventive controls
  • File integrity, event logging, and other monitoring controls
  • Forensics, incident investigation, and other response controls

The company explains that "these endpoint security controls will either be provided as part of the base operating system or will no longer provide value as stand-alone security controls", and that eventually, "the endpoint security market vanishes".

The issue is that "industry has focused on securing the infrastructure and endpoints that we will soon be outsourcing", and IT people are "ignoring the application".

As new applications emerge, Tenable says it’s only getting harder, with the explanation that "devops and container movements are having a dramatic impact on how we secure applications and few are paying attention".

Tenable says that "soon, security will only care about applications, the users that access them, and the data they have access to".

So, instead of security as an afterthought, which Tenable says is an outdated approach that won’t address the needs of the future, this approach is also creating gaps that "allow attackers to hide from detection, thus maximising potential exposure and loss to the organisation", with these gaps set to "get bigger before they get smaller".

Huffard discusses "why we need a new approach to resolve these gaps today and in the future" and why "we must look at our security defences as an integrated, holistic set of capabilities, continuously improving our security defences".

Aside from the impressive titles Huffard holds, including being a co-founder of Tenable, he "received the 2013 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for defence and security, together with Ron Gula and Renaud Deraison". He also serves on the Washington & Lee University Entrepreneurial Advisory Board and the SunTrust Bank Greater Washington Advisory Board. He has a BS from Washington and Lee University and an MBA from Babson College. 

For plenty more information, including more on why Tenable believes "the future of security is the application" and why "the traditional endpoint is dead", check out Tenable’s most recent blog post is entitled Transforming Security: The Thousand Mile Journey Begins with a Single Step. It is definitely worth reading! 


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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