13 Things To Know About ForeScout's New CEO

Moving From A Massive, Household Name To A Smaller, Emerging Player

Why did Mike DeCesare give up running an 8,000-person operation at McAfee to lead a group of just 300 at ForeScout?

Chalk it up to greater autonomy, a narrower product set and more opportunities to get involved in projects, DeCesare told CRN an interview.

DeCesare's departure comes months after parent company Intel moved to rebrand McAfee as Intel Security and integrate it more tightly with the vendor's existing security offerings. DeCesare is one of three former McAfee executives to have left Intel Security since December.

Here are 13 things to know about DeCesare's decision and his plans for ForeScout.

13. Running A Business Vs. Running A Division

As McAfee's president, DeCesare had grown accustomed to having everything from sales and support to human resources and legal reporting directly through him, but he said he knew that would be changing as the company became part of Intel Security.

"It's a lot more fun to run a business than it is to run a division of a business," he said.

12. ForeScout Is Growing Fast

DeCesare said he was impressed by the maturity of ForeScout's CounterACT product, which is already on its seventh iteration, as well as the vendor's inroads with tier-one government and financial services clients.

ForeScout is well-positioned to take its portfolio downstream to other Global 2000 companies, he said.

"This company is a strong company and is growing fast in a hot market, so there are a lot of things that are going right," DeCesare said.

11. ForeScout's Size Will Make It Easier For DeCesare to Be Involved

DeCesare said the many layers of management at a company of McAfee's size – which employs 8,000 – made it difficult for him to get involved with projects or actually touch things.

But at ForeScout -- which has just more than 300 employees -- DeCesare said it should be easy to have a hand in everything from products to sales to support.

And he also said he's also excited that it will be possible for him to know every employee.

10. ForeScout Is Already Well Positioned In The Security Market

Unlike many of the companies he considered joining, DeCesare said he won't need to execute a massive product road map revamp at ForeScout before realizing success.

"We are in a high-growth, exciting area right now," DeCesare said. "That is what drew me to the company so aggressively."

DeCesare said ForeScout's technology can be the glue that stitches together products from other security vendors that don't talk to one another. ForeScout can help clients with everything from assessing threats to removing malware to quarantining devices, he said.

9. The Growth of BYOD

Network access control never really took off during the 2000s since almost all of the devices trying to access the network were PCs and BlackBerry devices given to employees by the company, DeCesare said. But even as other vendors such as McAfee abandoned NAC, ForeScout stuck around. And its persistence paid off, DeCesare said, with the recent embrace of BYOD policies.

ForeScout's NAC technology can continuously monitor devices and determine whether they should be allowed onto the network or quarantined until problems can be remedied.

NAC is enjoying annual growth rates of 40 percent, DeCesare said, with ForeScout's growth rates outpacing the market.

8. Growing ForeScout's Workforce

DeCesare said he wants to both retain existing ForeScout employees as well as bring in good security people he knows from previous jobs.

Many sales heads at the major security companies have worked under DeCesare's watch, so he hopes he can lure some of them to ForeScout.

Building a good company culture as CEO entails both bringing in good people from your past as well as uncovering jewels who are already with the company, DeCesare said.

DeCesare said he plans to do a lot of hiring in the next couple of years as he aims to turn ForeScout into one of the biggest and most high-profile companies in the security industry.

7. Seeking Committed Partners With Good Service Offerings

DeCesare said he plans to visit with partners as he travels the country and hopes to gain a better understanding of how exactly the channel makes money with ForeScout

He said he's most interested in partners who are willing to commit 5 percent or 10 percent of their revenue to ForeScout.

From a technology standpoint, DeCesare said he is looking for value-added partners that can wrap services such as continuous monitoring around ForeScout's offering.

6. Working More With Distributors

ForeScout has no relationship with distributors today, DeCesare said, which forces the vendor to put together a lot of one-off contracts with many different players.

DeCesare said he sees a real role with distribution for ForeScout and plans to make lining the channel ecosystem up correctly a high priority. All of McAfee's channel sales went through distribution, DeCesare said.

A significant overlap exists between the solution providers working with ForeScout and McAfee, noted DeCesare, who said he's very comfortable dealing with sales and marketing matters.

5. Expanding ForeScout Beyond North America

DeCesare said he would like ForeScout to obtain half of its revenue from North America and half from the rest of the world.

But like many smaller companies, DeCesare feels that ForeScout today is too dependent on sales from North America.

He thinks ForeScout is now at the size where it can start having sales operations in all the major geographies and hopes to grow ForeScout's international operations as the company gets larger.

But before deciding on which global regions should be growth priorities, DeCesare said he needs to get a better understanding of how ForeScout currently operates.

4. Broaden Or Deepen ForeScout's Offerings?

DeCesare will need to decide whether to diversify ForeScout's security portfolio or go deeper with the offerings and partners the company already has.

Specifically, he said he's trying to figure out whether ForeScout should expand its portfolio into areas that are closely tied to network access control such as vulnerability management. DeCesare feels there are both pros and cons to going wide.

DeCesare also said he's currently more interested in intensifying ForeScout's efforts around continuous monitoring and mediation as well as strengthening the company's integration with Palo Alto Networks, FireEye and Juniper offerings.

3. DeCesare Wants ForeScout To Be More Like Palo Alto

One of the companies DeCesare said he admires most is Palo Alto Networks since it has grown north of $500 million on a single value proposition.

Specifically, he feels that Palo Alto's narrow focus has made it easier to teach the sales, marketing and engineering departments about the company's product set in a short time frame.

In contrast, DeCesare said McAfee's sales reps have the challenge of going up against competitors with narrower product sets since McAfee was put together through a lot of acquisitions.

2. Organic Growth Vs. M&A

DeCesare said his preference would be to grow ForeScout aggressively without merger or acquisition since buying another security company comes with its own set of complications.

Still, he said he recognizes that lots of consolidation will be coming to the security market in the coming years since it's the only sector of IT today that tolerates a dozen vendors selling virtually the same thing.

Part of that, though, DeCesare said, is because customers are more focused on adding another layer of defense than replacing security products that could be seen as outdated.

But DeCesare said he would be would be open to M&A in a couple of years once ForeScout is larger and has realized even faster growth.

1. IPO Could Be In The Cards

DeCesare said that he would absolutely be open to having ForeScout conduct an IPO since it would help validate the company's position in the industry.

Reports in December 2013 indicated that ForeScout was planning an IPO to raise $100 million, but no official move has been made.

DeCesare said, however, that his first priorities are making sure ForeScout has a balanced budget, repeatable sales process, consistent marketing message and a proficient back office.

"At this point, I am more concerned about making sure we're a well-run company," DeCesare said. "The rest will come in time."