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August Edition 2020

Poppy Gustafsson, CEO of Darktrace, has been at the forefront of the instigating growth of this innovative company with her extensive experience


Data security is now more vital than ever. Updating existing cybersecurity solutions and enforcing every possible applicable security layer doesn't ensure that your data is breach-proof. But, having a strong support of advanced technologies will ease the task of security professionals. With AI stepping into cybersecurity, experts and researchers are trying to use its potential to identify and counteract sophisticated cyber-attacks with minimal human intervention. AI networks and machine learning, a subset of AI, has enabled security professionals to learn about new attack vectors.

Darktrace is one such firm that empowers organizations to defend their systems against the most sophisticated cyber-threats. Founded in 2013 by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace was the first company to develop an AI system for cybersecurity. Darktrace founders also include cybersecurity experts from government intelligence backgrounds, united in their mission to fundamentally transform organizations' ability to defend their most critical assets in the face of rising cyber-threat. Darktrace's pioneering technology, the Enterprise Immune System, applies AI to the cyber defense challenge for the first time, detecting cyber-threats that existing, legacy systems cannot. It quickly became clear that the technology was powerful enough to identify a diverse range of threats at their earliest stages, including insider attacks, latent vulnerabilities, cloud-based threats, and even state-sponsored espionage.

Products that create a difference

The Enterprise Immune System: The Enterprise Immune System is a self-learning cyber AI technology that detects novel attacks and insider threats at an early stage. Modeled on the human immune system, the Enterprise Immune System learns and understands 'self' for everyone and everything in the business. It can spot the subtle signals of an advanced attack without relying on rules, signatures, or prior assumptions. The Enterprise Immune System uses unsupervised machine learning and AI to understand all about your organization. Observing your users and devices, cloud containers, and workflows, it learns 'on the job' what is normal for your organization. Unlike traditional approaches that rely on blacklists, rules, and signatures, the immune system approach learns from your data, forming a bespoke and evolving understanding of your digital environments. This unique approach enables Darktrace to detect the most sophisticated and stealthy cyber-threats that other tools miss.

The Industrial Immune System: The Industrial Immune System is a fundamental AI technology for OT cyber defense. It works by passively learning what 'normal' looks like across OT, IT, and industrial IoT, allowing it to detect even the subtlest signals of emerging cyber-threats. This self-learning technology is protocol-agnostic and can be deployed across a range of OT environments, providing full coverage of the organization without disrupting daily operations. The Industrial Immune System is uniquely capable of learning 'normal' for radically different technologies and deployment types, from decades-old PLCs to distributed sensors and industrial IoT. This allows Darktrace's self-learning AI to secure the full range of OT-centric environments and organizations.

Antigena Network: Antigena Network is the world's first Autonomous Response solution for the enterprise. Powered by self-learning AI, it is the only solution that can interrupt attacks at machine speed and with surgical precision, even if the threat is targeted or entirely unknown. By taking swift and targeted action, Antigena Network stops emerging threats that other tools miss. The technology provides 24/7 coverage of your entire workforce when security teams are overwhelmed or aren't around. Antigena Network takes intelligent action to neutralize cyber-threats and maintain your crucial security objectives.

Meet the ardent visionary, leading Darktrace with an example

Poppy Gustafsson OBE serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Darktrace, which under her leadership, has reached a $1.65 billion valuation in less than five years. She was named Europe's 9th 'Fastest Growing European Company' by The Financial Times and named 'Fastest Growing Super Scale-up' by Tech Tour. Poppy is a qualified chartered accountant and previously served as the company's CFO. Before Darktrace, Poppy held financial controller positions in the technology and venture capital sector. She was the winner of the 'Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards 2019,' and recognized in Management Today's '30 Women under 35' list in 2018, whose alumnae include Martha Lane Fox and Karen Blackett.

Ms. Poppy is a mathematician and chartered accountant, and so is very much a data and numerical person. She has vast industry experience across several sectors, particularly specializing in venture capital and technology companies. Poppy has worked as a corporate controller at Cambridge-based Software Company HP Autonomy and Invoke Capital from February 2013 to December 2014. She has also worked as a fund manager in Amadeus Capital Partners and as an assistant manager in Delloite. She frequently speaks to the community of European investment and hence her good relationship with the United Kingdom. She accompanied the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, to India on a trade mission recently.

"I always believe that having strong analogies that convey what you do and what you're passionate about is what makes your vision stronger."