Top US cyber-security firm to double Israeli R&D staff

Top US cyber-security firm to double Israeli R&D staff

ForeScout is looking to Israel to supply talent to satisfy the demand for its tech

Illustrative image of a hacker, via Shutterstock.
Illustrative image of a hacker, via Shutterstock.

The burgeoning cyber-security business has yet to reach its peak, according to Mike DeCesare – but when it does, ForeScout, the company he leads, will be at the center of the business.

“That’s because our security system is unique, and works with all the software-based solutions,” he told The Times of Israel. “We have had so much demand for our products that we are going to be doubling our Israeli R&D workforce.”

With its research and development office in central Tel Aviv, Silicon Valley-based ForeScout has become a world leader in network access control, preventing devices from computers to phones to anything else with an Internet connection from joining a network unless it has the right credentials.

“When you go to a hotel and open up your laptop and phone, and automatically get a message that asks you to login before you have attempted to connect to anything, that’s our technology,” said DeCesare. “The strategy is to keep devices that are not accredited away from sensitive parts of the network. That is the first step in preventing a virus or malware attack from event taking place.”

The solution has proven very popular with businesses of all kinds – not just hotels – and as a result, ForeScout, which has been in business since 2000, has recently seen a huge growth in demand for its services. To meet that need, the company plans to add 100 cyber-security experts to its Tel Aviv team.

Indeed, finding the right people has been one of his biggest challenges during his six months at the helm of the company, which has its administrative headquarters in California but develops its technology in Israel.

“Our technology roots began in Israel. ForeScout is committed to our Tel Aviv location and creating the best and most rewarding workplace possible for our employees,” said DeCesare.

Founded in 2000 by cyber-security veterans Oded Comay and Doron Shikmoni, ForeScout now has customers in all areas of business, including banking, healthcare, IT, and many more; as of January 1, 2015, the company said, ForeScout’s technology is being used by more than 1,800 of the world’s most secure enterprises, and by government agencies in more than 62 countries.

The ForeScout system is designed to automatically prevent connections from devices that don’t belong on a network. The system also connects to the many software solutions, switches, appliances, and other components that companies use to protect themselves against hackers.

“We regulate connections, and work with threat detection systems from companies like FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, Bromium, Damballa, CheckPoint, McAffee, and many others,” said DeCesare. “We gather information from their systems and then determine what level of access to give a connecting device, thus keeping problems off the network in the first place.”

Mike DeCesare (Courtesy)
Mike DeCesare (Courtesy)

ForeScout has been doing this for over a decade, but lately the solution has become much more popular thanks, said DeCesare, to the imminent arrival of the Internet of Things.

“So many devices are now connecting to networks, from TVs to cars to washing machines. It would be impossible to download and install anti-virus software for all of these things, much less keep that software up to date as hackers come up with more ingenious strategies. Our system is agentless, meaning that there is nothing to install, and this is a big selling point, because companies know they will be protected whether or not a user proactively tries to protect themselves.”

And the company, said DeCesare, is looking to Israel to satisfy that huge demand for IoT security. “Israel is a global leader in cyber security innovation, and its workforce is second to none in skill, dedication, and passion for cyber security,” he said. “This is the place to find the people who have the skills we and our customers need.”

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