CRN Exclusive: Dave DeWalt Joins Security Startup Illusive Networks As Vice Chairman


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As it looks to stake its claim in the emerging market for deception technology, Illusive Networks has landed a big executive win, announcing Monday the appointment of well-known security industry executive Dave DeWalt as its vice chairman of its board of directors.

DeWalt is well-known in the security industry, most notably as the former CEO of security giants McAfee and FireEye. Since leaving FireEye last year, DeWalt has joined the boards of directors of multiple security startups, including ForgeRock, Claroty, and ForeScout Technologies, as well as Israeli cybersecurity think tank and venture creation firm Team8.

In an exclusive interview with CRN, DeWalt said wanted to join Illusive Networks because of the company's technology, which he said solves a key problem around attack detection and attribution. The New York City-based company's Deception Everywhere solution uses an agentless approach to "turn the tables on attackers" by installing decoy data onto laptops, desktops, servers, data centers and more to root out attackers already in the environment.

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"It feels a little bit like FireEye did early on," DeWalt said. "This is the first technology I've seen that really gives us more time to detect [and track attackers for attribution]. That's why I liked [the technology] and liked the company and decided to get involved at a higher level," DeWalt said. 

The market for deception technology is an emerging category in security, with Gartner predicting that by 2018 around 10 percent of enterprises will be using the technology. DeWalt's appointment is the latest win for Illusive Networks in the space, following on the announcement of a strategic investment by Microsoft Ventures and multiple large client additions. CEO Ofer Israeli said DeWalt's experience would help as Illusive Networks looks to continue that growth trajectory.

“Dave’s in-depth understanding and insight into the cybersecurity landscape will prove invaluable as we continue to grow and advance our client base,” Israeli said in a statement. “We’re delighted to have gained Dave’s support and look forward to working with him to protect corporations against the next generation of cyber attacks.”

DeWalt said he will look to bring his background taking younger companies and taking them to scale, with particular focus on growing the company's sales and go-to-market strategy. He said he will also look to help Illusive Networks get more investments, form more industry partnerships, scale sales, and generally grow the company.

"My opinion is you will see a lot of this type of technology deployed in the next three to five years," DeWalt said. "We will try to grow the company from small, like I did at FireEye, and grow it to something really big."  

A key part of that growth will involve leveraging DeWalt's experience working with partners, he said, adding that the company's technology is a perfect add-on and differentiator for a VAR's endpoint security offerings. Illusive Networks hired its first channel chief in November 2015, appointing former Palo Alto Networks and Extreme Networks exec Tracy Pallas to lead its 100-percent channel strategy. 

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