10 Security Companies To Watch In 2017

Who To Watch In 2017

With the rise of IoT, endpoint security, major acquisitions, and more, we saw an overhaul of the security market last year, with new startups coming to the forefront and legacy vendors fighting to hold their ground. Now that we're in a new year, it is clear that there is only more change to come in the security market. Take a look at ten companies that CRN will be keeping an eye on, including companies in trouble, potential acquisition targets, and breakout stars.

ForeScout Technologies

The Internet of Things proved itself to be a formidable threat vector in 2016. It's reasonable to assume that 2017 will likely be a big year for vendors that look to secure IoT. One vendor already seeing strong growth in that market is ForeScout Technologies, which offers an agent-less visibility and enforcement security solution for all connected devices. The San Jose-based company exceeded a $1 billion valuation in 2016, and there are rumors started of an IPO on the horizon. As IoT looks to be an even bigger market for security in the year to come, ForeScout will surely be a company to watch as more competitors look to jump into the space and it looks to expand its own technology and partnership network.


2016 was a year full of acquisition rumors for Imperva, which offers data and application security solutions. The rumors began to accelerate in 2014 with the appointment of new CEO Anthony Bettencourt, who replaced founder Shlomo Kramer. Bettencourt helped lead the two previous companies of which he was CEO through acquisitions, including the 2014 acquisition of Coverity by Synopsis for $375 million and the 2012 acquisition of Next Page by Proofpoint. Cisco has been the perennial favorite as a possible buyer for the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company, but rumors of IBM and private equity suitors have also surfaced. On the company's most recent earnings call, Bettencourt said the company has reviewed it sales options and intends to remain focused on its business plan, which includes a company restructuring and cutbacks. Regardless of if the company's restructuring takes hold or buyout rumors resurface, this year will be pivotal for Imperva.

Optiv Security

Optiv Security closed out 2016 with its blockbuster acquisition by private equity firm KKR from the previous owner, Blackstone Group. CEO Dan Burns told CRN that the Denver, Colo.-based company intends to leverage the experience of its new ownership to expand internationally through acquisitions, becoming the biggest global security powerhouse. He said Optiv would also invest in expanding its cloud security portfolio. Optiv is already the biggest and arguably most influential security solution provider in North America, helping define the security landscape with who it pushes through its line card, and it will be one to watch as it extends that reach globally.


FireEye had a tough year in 2016, with a stock price that continues to get hammered on Wall Street, a round of layoffs over the summer and continued rumors of a company buyout. However, FireEye says it plans to remain independent, and the company is rolling out new offerings around its virtual-machine detection engine, endpoint security, and a new platform, called Helix, that unites its products under a single, integrated platform. The Milpitas, Calif.-based company also says it plans to refocus its efforts around the channel and repair its broken relationships with partners. As one of the largest and more prominent vendors in security today, FireEye will be one to watch going in 2017.


IBM has been rapidly expanding its security portfolio throughout the past year, including opening a Cyber Security Center of Excellence in Cambridge, Mass. and announcing an expanded partnership with next-generation endpoint security vendor, Carbon Black. Most significantly, IBM announced that it was extending its IBM Watson technology to cybersecurity, a beta program that will apply Watson's cloud-based cognitive technology to patch, eliminate and monitor cyber security weaknesses. The possibilities of the analytics technology as IBM expands the program to more companies for cybersecurity language training and begins to integrate it with other technologies will be exciting to watch.


Symantec is emerging 2016 an entirely different company than when it started the year in January, having spun out storage business Veritas to private equity, announcing two blockbuster acquisitions of Blue Coat Systems and LifeLock, and appointing an almost entirely new leadership team. While some partners had been skeptical of the legacy vendor's future, many now say they are excited about the possibilities going forward with the "new Symantec." However, the changes are far from over for Symantec as the company continues to integrate its technology offerings and possibly even makes more acquisitions in 2017.


In 2015, Tanium was red-hot in the security space, landing $120 million in venture capital funding that reportedly valued it at $3.5 billion. The company, which offers a technology to continuously scan all endpoints in a network to detect vulnerabilities and unmanaged devices, also solicited multi-billion dollar bids from Palo Alto Networks and VMware around that time, sources told CRN. However, in recent months the hype around Tanium has quieted, the company has lost a few top executives, and sources said its approach to the channel is crumbling. As we head into 2017, it will be interesting to see how Tanium's growth is affected in the market, especially as competitors look to move in and take market share from it with new partnerships and technologies.


McAfee is back in 2017, with Intel Security anticipating on closing its spinout from Intel in April (at which time it will assume the McAfee name it held before it was acquired by the chip giant in 2010). Chris Young, who will be CEO of McAfee after the close of the deal, said partners can expect to see a "new beginning" of the company next year, with a single focus on security and accelerated innovation around the endpoint, data center, data protection, cloud security and its DXL framework. With new majority private equity ownership by TPG, it will be interesting to see how or if the launch of the "new McAfee" will tip the balance of power in the security industry in 2017.


Cylance shot to the top of the next-generation endpoint security market over the past two years, with a technology that revolutionized the anti-virus space. However, that high growth – more than 7000 percent over the past three years – also put a target on the back of the Irvine, Calif.-based company, both from legacy security vendors and competitive startups also looking to define the next-generation endpoint security market. Cylance will be interesting to watch to see if it matches the other next-generation endpoint security companies moving to offer full prevention, detection and response capabilities (the company currently focuses on prevention), or if any of the rumors swirling of a blockbuster buyout come true.

Tenable Network Security

Tenable Network Security will start 2017 with new leadership, with former RSA President and industry thought leader Amit Yoran coming on board as the company's new chairman and CEO on Jan. 3. 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. As Yoran takes the helm at Tenable next year, it will definitely be a company to watch as he leverages his technology and thought leadership position, as well as what impact his departure will have on RSA, which is now part of Dell Technologies.