The Complexity of Simplicity

Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure and honor to work in a number of diverse fields at successful companies both large and small. I have always had a burning passion for technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. When I first met Stuart and the team at Cylance®, I was immediately seduced by the simplicity and elegance of their approach to security. It felt like a completely new and disruptive solution to the immense cybersecurity problem. I saw a company with a sense of purpose and a vision to make our planet a safer place. I was immediately hooked and gave an enthusiastic “YES!” to Stuart’s offer to come onboard as the President and COO of Cylance.

Why? – The Catalyst of Innovation

Simon Sinek gave a TEDx Talk in 2009 that examined why some organizations and individuals can be innovative while others cannot – even though they have the same access to capital, talent, and resources. In this talk, he presents the idea that true leadership and innovation is driven by focusing on first the “why” as opposed to the “how” and the “what”. He discusses how innovation starts with those that question the status quo and how ideas are spread by the people that believe in them.

When I joined Cylance, I was struck by one major differentiator between this company and the others, which is a clear and simple answer to why the company existed. Cylance exists to protect every person, system, and thing under the sun. A rather aspirational purpose I must confess, but Stuart spoke with such compassion, conviction, and confidence about how artificial intelligence enabled the Cylance team to dramatically transform cybersecurity from a multitude of complex layers into a simple and elegant prevention-based model, that I instantly knew I had to join the mission.

Cylance has spent the past five years obsessed with solving some of the core problems of cybersecurity and showing why the industry as a whole should focus on preventing attacks as opposed to merely reacting to them. The ability to reduce complexity and improve security effectiveness is not something we have accomplished in isolation. We have done it with the help of our team, industry colleagues, partners, testers, and most importantly, our customers that believe in our “why”. Like many great ideas, none can survive in a vacuum.

Our goal is to make security as simple as it can be. We aim to achieve this goal by further harnessing the predictive capabilities of artificial intelligence and unifying the layers of security. But, we can’t do that alone. We need your help. Collectively, we need to #ThinkBeyond.

Less, but Smarter

If the past few years have been any indication, the threats that cyberattacks pose – be it nation-state cyberwarfare, industrial espionage, sabotage, or financially motivated ransomware campaigns – have only increased in their ability to cause damage to the average person. The fact that the New York Times published an article on January 16, 2018 with a headline stating that the Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With Nuclear Arms should serve as a wakeup call to the global cybersecurity community.

We should #ThinkBeyond our layers today and imagine what we could build without the decades of legacy technology. How would we approach the problem of zero-day exploits if we could start from scratch? How would we approach today’s problems if we focused on prevention first and not a “detect and respond” approach? If the standard model of cybersecurity is infallible, why were WannaCry or Petya/NotPetya so successful? We need to approach the problem of malicious execution from the core, and we need an approach that thinks beyond the layers of endpoint, network, application, etc.

It’s clear that the desire to #ThinkBeyond is catching on. Next-generation security companies have captured double-digit market share in just a few short years, and Cylance has secured half of this new growth in the market. In a recent study, Chris Sherman, Sr. Analyst at Forrester Research, stated: “New entrants are gaining traction. Multiple new vendors have emerged in the endpoint security space in the last few years. These new solutions are typically more effective and less of a burden on system resources.”

We’re extremely proud that thousands of customers believe in our approach. We salute those who have been in the trenches for decades. Our goal is to continue to build platforms that solve the core problems, not simply address the symptoms. Our approach has ruffled some feathers along the way, and that’s fine. Without dialog and without critical eyes, no scientific endeavor can develop and progress.

As I said, I have had the pleasure of working in several diverse fields throughout my careers. At Cylance, I have found a home surrounded by like-minded individuals who are constantly asking “is there a better way?”

As my friend and colleague Malcolm Harkins explained in his paper “The Economics of Insecurity,” we seem to be enthralled with the idea that more is better. More layers, more complexity, more cost, more people … more of everything. But what if there was a better, simpler, and more elegant way? One that used fewer resources and enabled prevention? Shouldn’t we be focused on the big picture? Shouldn’t we focus on the idea that preventing attacks is possible to secure the backbone of our economies and personal lives? I, for one, wish to #ThinkBeyond.

What about you?


For more on why we should all #ThinkBeyond, read Thank You Customers That #ThinkBeyond by Stuart McClure