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Off the Sidelines, back to the Fight

I am an American Patriot. Regardless of our imperfections, I believe no country in history has done more good for the whole of mankind. Today, this country I love is under constant cyberattack. Our secrets are being stolen, our businesses are being ransomed, and our national defense is being weakened. 

Because we are a free people, with a free-market economy, there is no overarching government force to protect us from cyber threats –nor should there be. Instead, individuals and businesses must take responsibility for their own cyber safety and defense – and to avoid a dystopian future, this is the way it must stay.

And so, the mantle falls to us in the cybersecurity industry to protect our nation, our businesses, our people. It is a tough task. The field of battle is constantly shifting as technology evolves and our adversaries adapt. We in the industry take up this noble fight because it must be fought. We as patriots take up this fight to protect the ever-evolving potential and promise of America and its’ People.

Nearly twenty years ago I started another company to fight this fight – LogRhythm. When I co-founded LogRhythm in 2002, I was quite certain US businesses and agencies were unknowingly being compromised by nation state threats and bleeding data. At that time, I felt the current SIEM offerings had let their customers down and were fundamentally flawed. And so, we set out to reinvent what SIEM should be; needed to be.

Over the next fifteen years, LogRhythm achieved success beyond my wildest dreams. We created a great product. We pushed ourselves to continuously innovate and helped spur innovation across the broader industry. We passionately cared about serving our customers well. We built a company culture and team that became family. What an incredible ride it was. Team LogRhythm, what gratitude and thanks I will forever have!

In the summer of 2018, I decided to resign from my post as CTO. My dad was battling cancer and my grandfather’s health was rapidly declining. After sixteen years of all-in effort, I also found my energy waning. Even so, what a terribly difficult decision this was. While stepping away was hard, I have no regrets. I needed the time; my family needed the time.

Of course, it didn’t take me long to start thinking about what was next. Those of you who really know me, probably guessed my “sabbatical” wasn’t leading to full retirement. You were right. Upon much reflection, I came to realize at the core I am an inventor, a builder. And what I enjoy building most is great software that solves hard cybersecurity problems. 

As I was ruminating on my future, a few events unfolded that further motivated the end of my sabbatical – the SolarWinds hack, a conversation with a space company CEO, and the insidious rise of ransomware.

When the SolarWinds hack became public, I was infuriated. My fury was not directed at Russia or the sophistication of the attack. Russia was only doing what nation states do – use whatever means necessary to spy on each other. My fury was not that US companies and agencies had been compromised by malicious software. This happens all the time and will continue to happen. Instead, my fury was that the further compromise of systems and user accounts, along with theft of data, went unnoticed and undetected for ~7 months! Compounding my fury was knowing the companies and agencies compromised likely have some of the best cyber security technology money can buy.

Last year I was also in conversations with a buddy of mine who was CEO of a small space company. My friend’s company is one of thousands that make up our nation’s Defense Industrial Base (DIB) –businesses inventing the future in areas critical to our national defense. My friend relayed that various three-letter agencies had reached out to him and his peers in the DIB advising them nations are compromising their systems and stealing their data. In our conversations he conveyed great concern for the security posture of small companies like his, thinking most lacked the sophistication and expertise to defend against nation state adversaries. I knew he was right to be concerned. After all, if cyber-sophisticated entities like FireEye and the US Treasury couldn’t defend and detect against the SolarWinds hack, how could a small business like his stand a chance?

This conversation and the SolarWinds hack stirred my blood. How as a nation are we allowing our most important secrets to be stolen? Furthering my ire was the rising rate and cost of ransomware. For I know, data theft and ransom are only possible when intrusions and compromise go undetected for long periods of time! After all the progress made in cybersecurity, I found myself deeply frustrated and embarrassed by our seeming ineptitude. How as an industry are we still so bad at finding bad actors operating within customer networks and systems?  

My path became clear. Get off the sidelines, get back in the fight!

And so, RADICL Defense was borne. Borne with a mission of serving the interests of the United States by securing companies, who must be better secured. We chose the name RADICL because we intend to take new and novel approaches to solve the hard problems before us. Our mission is to specifically defend companies actively targeted by nation state threats. We choose to serve the SMB market because these highly innovative companies desperately need better solutions, that truly protect their important secrets. We know our mission is challenging. We know radical innovation will be required.

As I embark on this new venture, I am joined by brothers in arms. A brother by birth, a brother by friendship. My co-founder and brother Matt is one of the most talented engineers I have had the pleasure of working with. He brings rare software design and development experience. My co-founder and friend Dave brings a lifetime of achievement, from state soccer champion, to one of the best fighter pilots in the Air Force and the youngest F22 Wing Commander in history.

Our mission is challenging, and the path ahead will not be easy. We seek to bring sophisticated cybersecurity capabilities to a market segment woefully behind. We do this because it must be done. We do this because we can uniquely see it done. We do this to protect our country and the continued promise of America.