The Silicon Review
Founded in 2000 by Hezy Yeshurun and brothers Oded and Dror Comay, ForeScout is a San Jose-based network security provider. The company started out as a Network Access Control (NAC) vendor. However, over time, ForeScout entered the cybersecurity space and pioneered an agentless approach to device visibility and control to address the explosive growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and operational technologies (OT).
“We offer a highly scalable, heterogeneous platform that provides Global 2000 enterprises and government agencies with agentless visibility and control of today’s vast array of physical and virtual devices the instant they connect to the network,” says Michael DeCesare, CEO of ForeScout.
The company purpose-built its products to provide visibility into all devices on the company network, not just corporate-owned PCs and laptops for which security could be maintained by IT staff through the use of software agents. ForeScout enables security teams to see the multitudes of endpoints on enterprise networks—everything from company-owned PCs and virtual machines to contractors’ and guests’ laptops, tablets and smartphones—and even rogue devices of all kinds.
“Our technology continuously assesses, remediates and monitors devices and works with disparate security tools to help accelerate incident response, break down silos, automate workflows and optimize existing investments,” says DeCesare.
A Conversation with ForeScout CEO, Michael DeCesare
Q. What challenges did you face in the initial years of ForeScout?
During the early years of our business, many IT and security professionals didn’t recognize the strategic value of Network Access Control and thought most players in the industry offered parity products. However, with the evolution of cyberattacks and hacker sophistication, decision makers began to see the value of securing the network via access control and started to evaluate and discern major differences in NAC platforms.
Also, as the Internet of Things caught on and IoT devices began joining corporate networks by the billions, it became readily apparent to virtually everyone with responsibility for enterprise security that traditional security methods such as antivirus and other client-based security approaches had severe limitations. And one limitation in particular is that most IoT devices can’t accept software clients (agents) and can’t be effectively managed in the old-fashioned way, by IT administrators looking at consoles and seeing the company’s agent-based PCs and their configurations.
Q. Tell us about the most successful project rollout.
Prior to 2018, ForeScout released new features as they became available as continuous, rolling updates. However, in April of 2018, we transformed our product-launch process, grouping major product enhancements in version-level releases. In fact, CounterACT® 8 rolled out with a new licensing model and expanded scalability as well as enhanced capabilities for IoT and OT device classification, cloud-based intelligence and support for IPv6-addressable devices. This rollout was highly successful but, as expected, opportunities for refinement were identified. Another major company milestone occurred in 2017, when ForeScout closed its Initial Public Offering and became a publicly traded company.
Q. How have customer reviews motivated you to shape your offerings and grow the company?
Customer suggestions play a critical role in ForeScout’s growth. Over the years, customer input has been invaluable as we expanded the ForeScout platform’s capabilities and launched other offerings. Many add-on ForeScout Extended Modules came about as a result of customer inquiries and customer-initiated integrations.
Q. What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s reputation?
We are known for our ease of deployment and quick return on investment. We address the cybersecurity use cases facing our customers and amplify their existing security investments without requiring infrastructure changes. We at ForeScout have a high customer satisfaction rating and a reputation for follow-through—consistently improving our technologies and services. Customers appreciate our commitment to openness and choice. In fact, many of our most passionate spokespeople happen to be ForeScout customers who gladly share their successes with peers through published case studies, speaking opportunities, and other customer reference activities.
ForeScout is also known to have very successful implementations in large government deployments, financial institutions, and healthcare organizations. In addition, organizations running several of the world’s largest networks rely on the ForeScout platform, including a large logistics and package delivery provider that supports a highly distributed network environment with more than 2.5 million devices. I believe if that doesn’t make us one of the best in the industry, then what does?
Q. Is ForeScout a ‘leader’ or a ‘follower’? Do you formulate your own core values?
ForeScout is the undisputed leader in agentless visibility and access control, with product development focused in three distinct areas: Agentless Operation, Continuous Monitoring, and Heterogeneous Support.
The combination of industry-sector leadership and sustained focus enables us to deliver products with unique See, Control, and Orchestrate capabilities. We lead Gartner’s Network Access Control Magic Quadrant for five consecutive years (while Gartner published it). We continue to be recognized in the Gartner NAC Market Guide, the Gartner IoT Security Market Guide and Gartner OT Security Market Guide. Our Net Promoter Score is well above the technology industry average and far higher than our peers within the security market. We feel that this is the most accurate measurement of our customers’ satisfaction level. In addition, our customers continue to expand their use of ForeScout licenses as they grow, and add ForeScout Extended Modules, which represent one of the fastest-growing categories of our business.
Because of the ability to provide real-time visibility, profiling and control of ALL devices on networks of enterprises and government organizations, ForeScout is quickly becoming a strategic security platform provider.
ForeScout believes that it will continue building up its visibility advantage and applying control capabilities that leverage real-time device intelligence. This will make it easier for companies to enforce consistent security policies across campus, data center, cloud, and IoT and OT environments. The company also sees itself becoming the clear platform of choice for orchestrating security and IT management products by sharing the ForeScout platform’s distinct advantages in continuous, real-time device visibility, assessment and access control with platforms that benefit from these capabilities.
Michael DeCesare, Chief Executive Officer and President: DeCesare leads ForeScout’s global operations from corporate headquarters in San Jose. DeCesare was appointed in March 2015 and previously served as president of McAfee while also holding senior roles at EMC, Documentum, and Oracle.