Cloud Networking Startup Pareto Taps Former McAfee SVP As CEO

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Founded in November 2007, Pareto this past summer launched its enterprise cloud services, which provide secure networking functions -- such as management of VoiP use, video, IP address management, authentication, Web security, SSL VPN tunneling and other infrastructure needs -- and let network administrators manage those functions remotely using Pareto's cloud.

Late last month Pareto went live with a formal channel program, and the company has allied itself with several security platforms, including integration with McAfee's Web Protection security-as-a-service and cloud-based authentication with VeriSign.

"I think of it as a control plane for the network, put into the cloud, and cloud-managed," Ryan said in an interview with CRN Tuesday.

Ryan, like other Pareto executives, sees's success as the model for how cloud computing and as-a-service delivery disrupt technology markets, as Salesforce did with CRM a decade ago. Networking is a far different animal than CRM and business software, Ryan noted, but Salesforce's strength is that it started from scratch and built a platform to specifically meet SaaS demands.

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"Pareto is doing it from scratch and it's an approach that's going to clearly give us a starting-line leadership position, and one which we see as a channel model," he said. "This is good for technology solutions."

At McAfee, Ryan was executive vice president and general manager for the company's $500 million network and content security segments. He originally joined McAfee in 2008 when it acquired Secure Computing, where Ryan had been president, CEO and director.

Before Secure Computing, he served as senior vice president of enterprise content management products at Oracle; president and CEO of Stellent (later acquired by Oracle); and vice president of marketing and business development at Foglight Software (later acquired by Quest Software).

Pareto is venture-capital-backed and was founded by Carl Mower, now vice president of engineering, and former Juniper vice president Matthew Palmer, who was Pareto's CEO through the end of August and will remain a board member. Pareto's executive team also includes Michael Peachey, vice president of marketing and product management, and Mark Bennett, vice president of sales and the company's channel chief.

Ryan said he's spending his first weeks drinking from the proverbial firehose: one-on-one discussions with Pareto's 30 or so team members, a deep dive into the technology and product capabilities, and meeting customers and potential channel partners. His goal? To get Pareto cash-flow-positive and on course for growth.

Careerwise, he said, he welcomed the opportunity to return to a small company with big-league potential.

"I joke that I'm back in the minor leagues now, but I love working with small teams and building with those small teams," he said. "I knew it was going to be a startup so I looked at who was going to be in the next-generation startup companies, and this was the most exciting opportunity."