RSA President Amit Yoran Takes CEO Spot At Tenable Network Security

RSA president and security industry luminary Amit Yoran has left the company, taking a role as chairman and CEO of up-and-coming security startup Tenable Network Security, Tenable said Thursday.

The news comes less than four months after Bedford, Mass.-based RSA was acquired by Dell, as part of the EMC Federation. At that time, Yoran said he planned to stay with Dell.

Yoran will officially start at Tenable on Jan. 3, the company said. He replaces former CEO Ron Gula, who stepped down in June. Tenable co-founders Jack Huffard and Renaud Deraison, who have been running the company in the interim, will remain with Tenable as president and COO, and CTO, respectively.

[Related: Q&A: RSA President On Dell-EMC Deal, Company Transformation, Encryption And The NSA]

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Tenable, Columbia, Md., is one of the rising stars in the security startup space, with offerings for vulnerability assessment and management, visibility and analytics. The company has been on a high-growth trajectory, growing billings by 40 percent, unveiling the acquisition of container security company Flawcheck in October, and landing $230 million in Series B funding last year. In a statement about the move, Yoran called Tenable "one of the most innovative companies in security" that "addresses some of the most important and fundamental security challenges of today."

’Over the course of my career, I've met with thousands of IT and business leaders from organizations of all types, from around the world. One thing they all have in common is their concern about IT security and risk. They need solutions that help them understand their level of exposure and address the mounting challenges as they adopt technologies like cloud, DevOps, containers and IoT that can radically expand their attack surfaces. I believe Tenable is among the best-positioned companies to transform security for customers in the evolving landscape," Yoran said in the statement.

Yoran is one of the best-known executives and thought leaders in the security industry. He has served as president of RSA since October 2014, taking the role after joining the company as part of its 2011 acquisition of NetWitness. Those qualities are exactly what Tenable was looking for in its next leader, Tenable's Huffard said in a statement.

’We’ve been aggressive about continuously innovating our product offering so our customers have the most comprehensive vulnerability management available,’ Huffard said. ’But our customers — and the industry as a whole — see us as more than a vendor. They know Tenable as a security thought leader, technology innovator and trusted partner in an increasingly complex threat landscape. We are excited to announce that Amit will lead Tenable as we continue to deliver on our vision of true next-generation security.’

Yoran's departure comes as Dell moves to integrate RSA further into its product portfolio. In October, the company unveiled a new Dell Endpoint Data Security and Management portfolio that combined Dell, RSA and VMware offerings for data protection, identity assurance, threat detection and response, and unified endpoint management.

Given the integration into Dell, partners said they weren't surprised to see Yoran moving on to take a CEO role at a different company. There was a lot of speculation at the time of the Dell deal that Yoran would leave.

"I'm not surprised. That company has been disappearing [into Dell] ,and Tenable is a pretty hot company right now," said an executive at one RSA partner who asked not to be named.

Upon the closing of the company's blockbuster acquisition by Dell in September, RSA said it planned to operate as an autonomous brand under Dell Technologies, with an independent strategy, strategic relationships, customers and partners.

In an emailed statement to CRN about Yoran's departure, an RSA spokesperson said RSA has already named a replacement for the top role, which will be announced in early January. That executive is working closely with Yoran for a "smooth transition," the spokesperson said. The spokesperson said they could not confirm the name of the executive due to contractual terms.

"We truly appreciate the dedication and vision demonstrated by Amit over the last five years at RSA, and we wish him all the best in his new endeavor," the spokesperson said in the email.