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- Tanium, a $9 billion cybersecurity startup, just named the former CEO of Ford as its lead board member.
- Tanium helps large enterprises protect and manage laptops, mobile devices, and other “endpoints.”
- The upcoming move to 5G wireless connectivity will add many more smart “Internet of Things” devices to company networks, Tanium says.
- That change means a change of scale and a host new of challenges for enterprises, say Tanium co-CEO Orion Hindawi and former Ford CEO Mark Fields.
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The $9 billion cybersecurity startup Tanium is preparing for a big shift in the market – and bringing on an experienced new board member to help lead it through its next chapter.
Tanium offers enterprise management of security “endpoints,” meaning that it helps protect laptops, mobile phones, and Internet of Things devices, which are all possible entry points into a company’s corporate networks. Tanium’s now gearing up for the transition to 5G wireless connectivity, which will be faster with more bandwidth than the current 4G system, and will triple the number of internet-connected devices, Gartner says. To address that upcoming scale, Tanium announced Wednesday that the former CEO of Ford, Mark Fields, will now lead its board. Fields, who left Ford in 2017, will help Tanium address the move to 5G and other changes coming to cybersecurity at a large scale, the company says.
5G could bring a boost to what is already a fast-growing company. Launched in 2007, Tanium helps large enterprises secure and manage millions of devices, giving IT teams visibility into potential issues across broad networks. The company raised around $100 million in June led by Salesforce Ventures, bringing its total raised to about $780 million and boosting its valuation from $6.5 billion to its current $9 billion, according to PitchBook.
Fields and cofounder and co-CEO Orion Hindawi told Business Insider how the company is preparing for the 5G boom and what companies need to be thinking about ahead of that, and other large-scale tech changes.
Cloud Computing: Prepare for an internet of many more things
“We have a customer today that has about a million endpoints that we’re managing with them,” says Hindawi, in reference to a defense industry client. “They asked me how to prepare for having 150 million endpoints in five years.”
Change at that scale will bring opportunities and challenges, Hindawi says. “For our customers, whether they’re a regulated power company, the Department of Defense, or one of our big banking customers, 5G will redefine how they connect with their distributed assets.”
Cloud Computing: Realize that it’s not just 5G
Fields says it’s important to remember that the 5G revolution will not be isolated from other aspects of digital innovation, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and robotics automation.
“Yes, 5G’s a big part of it, but so is cloud, and so are containers,” Fields says, referring to packages of computer code implemented together to execute an application or function. “This is all really cool technological innovation that’s pushing in the same direction.” Companies are quickly realizing that they cannot incrementally update their systems every month without a long-term plan and systemwide security, he says. “Looking at it every month and saying, ‘that looks OK for now’ is just not going to cut it.”
Cloud Computing: Learn from the COVID momentum
Companies are in a period of rapid adoption of innovation, Fields says. “There’s been a lot of commentary from CEOs that COVID has basically taken their five-year plan for accelerating to digital transformation and smashed it together in four months.”
Yet that has caused security issues, as companies have quickly moved data and operations to the cloud. “Many companies have been forced to move to the cloud faster than they were comfortable,” says Hindawi. “What ends up happening is, that outpaces their ability to secure their cloud computing using the old tools.”
Cloud Computing: Go back to basics
A lot of companies don’t even know how many connected devices they have now, Hindawi says, or whether their cloud computing is configured securely. Those basic cybersecurity safeguards must be a focus.
“The majority of the Fortune 100 have deployed us globally, and so we get pulled into a lot of the security issues that large companies are experiencing. Around 99% of the attacks that are succeeding are basic, run-of-the-mill hygiene issues,” Hindawi says. “Those aren’t addressed with the heroics a lot of cybersecurity teams like to talk about, like exposing nation-state hacking. But it’s just as important in its own way. It should be done simply and consistently and without a lot of effort and I think that’s what our platform gives them.”
Cloud Computing: Don’t be afraid of large-scale adoption
“Working with the Department of Defense side of the government, we’re seeing some of the most aggressive adoption of cutting-edge technology at the biggest scale of anybody in the world,” Hindawi says. “Our job is to enable their mission. In Silicon Valley many companies have an aversion to working with the DOD, and I think that’s a mistake. That it is a big opportunity for a company like ours. Mark’s proven that he knows how to deal with massive scale and that’s a major reason we are glad to have him aboard.”