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eSentire CEO: Don’t Confuse MDR With Traditional Managed Security Services

James Yersh
James Yersh
Chris Gesell
Kerry Bailey, CEO eSentire

eSentire, the managed detection and response (MDR) services provider, remains in growth mode, according to CEO Kerry Bailey and Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Chris Gesell.

During an MSSP Alert interview at RSA Conference last week, Bailey and Gesell explained how eSentire continues to bolster its talent and intellectual property (IP), while scaling the business and differentiating from traditional MSSPs.

The duo hinted that another key hire was on the way. They weren't kidding. Details surfaced today when eSentire announced James Yersh as its chief administrative officer (CAO). The Kore Wireless, BlackBerry and Cognos veteran will over see eSentire's finance, human resources and risk and compliance functions.

No doubt, eSentire has been in growth mode. The company now has roughly 350 employees and more than 600 customers. "We could easily scale to 1,200 customers," adds Bailey. But instead of chasing every possible customer, the company is focusing on longer-term scalability. That means designing the company's security operations centers (SOCs) and associated platforms for four and five times today's current business, he asserts.

The journey requires eSentire to be a signal aggregator -- basically, having the right set of APIs and connections to ingest all sorts of data into the company's pipelines. And then, through machine learning, enriching and transforming that information into security intelligence.

Clearly, much of eSentire's business requires automation but the company will also remain a high-touch organization, Bailey says. "We don't just monitor," he says. The company also implements "the kill" to destroy the threat.

eSentire's Talent, Partner & Customer Strategy

In terms of talent, company's location near Waterloo -- a city in Southern Ontario, Canada -- makes it a magnet for IT talent. eSentire often takes IT talent and transforms those hires into SOC analysts. To retain that talent, the company rotates employees through different positions -- perhaps AI and machine learning, threat intelligence, product and solutions engineering, and more.

On the partner front, eSentire is working closely with security VARs -- especially since many of those companies won't build their own SOCs. MSPs are also embedding eSentire into their offerings. While most MSPs are focused on automating IT tasks, they're not building out security services -- certainly not at the scale and scope of eSentire's offerings, Bailey asserts.

Typical customers, for the most part, have been in the midmarket. But over the past three quarters or so, the company has been pulled upstream toward the mid-to-large enterprise area -- mostly at the lower end of large enterprises, Bailey says.

Among the core priorities: Continuing to differentiate and explain how MDR is different than traditional MSSP managed services, Bailey says.

eSentire: New Names and Faces

The company must also blend many of its new hires into an expanding team. After all, Bailey, Gesell, and others are fairly new to the business. And they all come with enterprise pedigrees. For instance:

  • Chris Gesell: eSentire last month appointed Gesell, a former Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Terremark executive, to that chief strategy and marketing officer post.
  • Brett Davis: eSentire last month named Davis as its EVP of global sales. Davis previously held executive roles at CyberTrust, Verizon Enterprise Services, Focal Point Data Risk and Dige.
  • Kerry Bailey: Bailey, the former SVP and GM of cloud and channel chief at HP, was named eSentire's CEO in February. He succeeded J. Paul Haynes, who assumed the role of president and chief operating officer at eSentire.

eSentire was launched in 2001 and introduced its managed security service in 2008. The company today offers an MDR service that features a variety of cybersecurity capabilities, including:

  • Behavioral and anomaly detection.
  • Forensic intelligence.
  • Threat intelligence.

The eSentire Partner Program enables managed service providers (MSPs) and MSSPs to offer eSentire's MDR service. This program provides partners with deal protection, marketing materials and other resources to help MSPs and MSSPs boost their sales and accelerate their revenue growth, according to eSentire.

Additional reporting by Joe Panettieri.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.