ANZ leads Tanium's overseas expansion as 'self healing' endpoint-security startup surges

The high profile of Australia's large banks and telcos, as well as the sophistication of its information-security profile, convinced upstart US-based endpoint-security provider Tanium to fast-track its overseas expansion with a significant regional presence based in Sydney, according to the company's regional vice president.

“The ANZ market is the one that Tanium wanted to be active in first,” APAC vice president Geoff Noble told CSO Australia.

“We have globally important telcos, our banks are important global banks, and we're part of the Five Eyes when it comes to global intelligence. So when you're a systems-management solution, your sexiest, fastest, smartest play is in security – and Australia pops up in those maps.”

Noble has already begun staffing the Sydney office, bringing forward his hiring budget from 2016 in order to ramp up local growth that he says should lead to “double figures” of staff numbers by next year.

Tanium recently appointed its first-ever chief security officer – former Mandiant managing director David Damato – as part of its efforts to bolster its profile within the security market. Several ANZ staff have already been hired and are waiting out their current contracts, Noble said, and Staff should be working from offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and “possibly” Auckland by the end of this year.

He expects staff numbers will double in the company's second year and again in its third year in the region.

At the heart of these growth projects is expected demand for the Tanium Endpoint Platform, which takes a novel approach to patch management and software updates by linking a company's computers into a peer-to-peer network in which nodes work together to ensure they stay current.

Research has regularly shown that poor patch management is a significant contributor to security vulnerabilities, creating headaches for IT staff who struggle to keep up with both applying a flood of new updates and ensuring they have been successfully applied to tens, hundreds, or thousands of desktop computers.

By decentralising the update process, Tanium has built a 'linear chain networking' approach where nodes effectively look out for each other to ensure that they are all up to date. The result is an endpoint-management system that “self heals”, Noble said.

“If you bring in a laptop that has been off the network for a few days, it will immediately announce itself to the network and say 'what patches did I miss?' and the machines on either side will hop in to provide it.”

Security staff can quickly run reports to identify which machines are still running old and security-ridden versions of software, and manage the updates to ensure they don't interfere with uptime requirements.

It's an approach that seasoned security consultant Damato called “truly revolutionary technology”, and one that has already been well recognised through surging sales that saw the company – which only released its core product in 2012 – pass the $US1 billion valuation mark in March.

Tanium claims half of the 100 largest US companies as customers, including five of the top 10 US banks and four of the top 10 US retailers, has over $US100 million in cash on hand, and was valued in a new venture-capital funding round as being worth $US1.75 billion.

That kind of growth should translate to rapid adoption within the ANZ market, which has repeatedly been identified as outpacing the world in security spending that is nearly double the world average.

For Noble, the company's strong overseas success has softened the challenge of bringing the brand into the ANZ market: “customers are not only taking my calls, but they are making calls to us when they hear we are on the ground,” he said. “There has been a kind of a noise and a groundswell for this technology, which we have developed over many years with the help of our big customers.

“There was latent dissatisfaction in the results that organisations were getting from doing this the old way,” he continued, “and there was too much of a shoulder-slumping, defeatist play at the endpoint. The more I see this technology presented to customers by customers, the more confident I am that this is really game-changing stuff.”

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

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Tags endpoint-securityGeoff NobleANZDavid DamatoAustralian BankstelcosTanium Endpoint PlatformCSO AustraliaANZ leads

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