Networking and security company, Tanium, is making its first push into the Asia-Pacific region with the opening of its regional office in Sydney.
Tanium A/NZ, Singapore and Hong Kong vice-president, Geoff Noble, told ARN the A/NZ region wasn’t even on the company’s expansion roadmap leading up to its inauguration here.
Noble said he approached Tanium’s executive team and pitched the idea of an Asia-Pacific office before management had considered moving to the region. He was able to convince the global c-suite that Asia-Pacific was a better place for expansion than Europe, The Middle East and Africa (EMEA), where Tanium had originally looked at expanding.
The company’s current go-to-market strategy does not include a distribution partner, as Noble explained.
“Currently we are going direct to partners, our favourite partners are the ones with the shortest path to revenue. They have contracts in place and are already working on proximate projects,” he said.
“We have relationships with PricewaterhouseCoopers [PwC] and Dimension Data globally and locally we have a number of resellers and integrators that are signed up to first level partnerships.
“Anybody who wants to play with us, we will work with them to get technically enabled and if they can march us through the corridors of power quicker than we can do it ourselves, they are good partners.”
Noble explained that Tanium takes all its messaging direct to market but does not take any direct transactions. As part of the Asia-Pacific play, Noble has already employed sales and technical staff in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
Tanium’s founders, David and Orion Hindawi, a father and son duo, had been working on the issue of endpoints. Their previous company, BigFix, founded in 1997, was focused on reducing the cost and complexity of managing networked desktop, mobile, and server computers. BigFix was sold to a private equity firm in 2007, and then to IBM in 2010, after the sale the two began to work on their next endeavor that would become Tanium.
The Hindawi’s realised that one of the limitations of the BigFix solution was the reduction in speed across a network when multiple requests were sent to various endpoints simultaneously.
Noble explained the Hindawi’s spent the next five years developing a technology that solved the speed issue by looking at the network in a different way.
“Between 2007 and 2012, the Hindawi’s got themselves an office, blacked out the windows, cleaned the whiteboards, hired the best and brightest and reinvented how to distribute software on a network,” he said.
“Tanium was invented on customer sites, with customer assistance to overcome the biggest challenge of networks getting too big, too distributed, and too slow to track what was going on.”
Noble said many of the security issues faced by companies would be mitigated if organisations were able to achieve better network visibility.
“Would you have pictures of nefarious looking bad guys in beanies and striped shirts with little funny beards in powerpoint slides if everyone upgraded Flash and their browser? Probably not, because that’s where the weaknesses are.”
The concept the Hindawi’s invented is called linear chain networking, where individual requests are shared between endpoints and sent once to the central server.
“There are so many use cases because you can see everything that is happening on a certain endpoint,” he said.
“If you want to know something, you ask your question in normal English and, just like Google, the engine will pick out the nouns, give you will get your answer. In Gartner speak, it is endpoint detection and response, but that puts us squarely in the security space.”
Noble described the types of businesses that he believes will make the best use of the Tanium solution set.
“The end user customers that will make use of the solution are at the big end of town. Those that will get the most value from the product are people who have been reselling tools like SIEM and Splunk and are reselling threat feeds, and adding services around those because whilst we can get the efficiencies of having a lineal network, we can deliver much better information to pre-existing conditions.”
“So the people that are reselling SIEM solutions can remove the lag on getting that information. Those that are offering investigative processes can do it.
“Then there is the MSSP market, for those in charge of managing the endpoint or the servers for a customer, it can be used to deliver more efficiently the platform surety and let the customer understand that they are compliant with the expectations that have been set.
“The security and networking community can all get value from it, it’s a real ecosystem play, because of all the patients around how you gather information, nobody does what we do.
The network and security challenge
Tanium chief security officer, David Damato, told ARN the overall challenge in security is to create a proper security program.
“One of the things I think everyone desperately needs is endpoint intelligence, what is happening on an endpoint at any given time and what happened on an endpoint in the past,” he said.
“For a while, we have focussed on networks and network traffic. That is certainly one approach - it’s easier because you simply have to deploy a few appliances in certain locations. The challenge is that you cannot see any of the encrypted traffic that is coming across the network.
“That gets increasingly challenging because more organisations are moving to stronger forms of encryption,” he added.