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Venture Capitalist Steve Herrod Offers Cybersecurity Reality Check

Steve Herrod has navigated multiple technology hype cycles. Herrod, the former VMware CTO, played a key role in the rise of virtualization. More recently as a venture capitalist, he's helped to direct Datto's rapid growth as a data protection specialist for more than 6,000 MSPs.

So what else has Herrod's attention? He shared some answers with MSSP Alert during DattoCon17 today in Denver. In addition to an ongoing role at Datto, cybersecurity occupies much of Herrod's attention these days. As managing director of General Catalyst, Herrod has board seats at such cybersecurity companies as Anomali, Contrast Security, Illumio, Menlo Security and Preempt.

In a world packed with cybersecurity startups, Herrod sees a big need for MSSPs. "The number of companies managing their security in-house is shrinking. There's a shortage of cybersecurity personnel in the U.S. You can't hire and retain the talent. The wisdom of the masses has caught on. Companies are realizing they need outside help."

Cybersecurity Reality Check

Still, that doesn't mean every MSSP or cybersecurity startup will succeed. Indeed, Herrod is careful not to chase every shiny object in the market. To narrow down his focus, he tends to zero in on cybersecurity companies that:

  • Have a solution that works on-premises and off premises. "One policy across both worlds is required," he asserts.
  • Go beyond the classic "protect and detect" cat-and-mouse game vs. attackers. "The future will involve isolation," he asserts. If an attack penetrates a company system, modern security should restrict or compartmentalize the damage, he adds. A browser attack or an email attack, for instance, shouldn't run wild and somehow steal a company's database from a separate system.
  • Truly understand artificial intelligence and its cybersecurity implications. "Every application of note will use some sort of artificial intelligence," but that also means you need to carefully scrutinize vendors' AI claims, he adds.

So where do we go from here? Watch for plenty of cybersecurity market consolidation, Herrod continues to say during interviews.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.