A Cyber Defense Magazine Exclusive Interview with Herjavec Group Founder & CEO Robert Herjavec
UNDERSTANDING VISIONARIES LIKE ROBERT HERJAVEC
“Kirk here, beam me up Scotty!” How do you know when someone is a visionary? Usually, they will tell you something that makes no sense or sounds absurd or far-fetched. Then within a few years or longer, what they told you happens, it comes to be, almost prophetically.
For example: “I envision that one day, we will communicate wirelessly, and the wired telephone will become a thing of the past” – deliver this vision in a science fiction television show called Star Trek in 1970 (the communicator) and those who watched the series were thrilled and excited about this futuristic vision. Luddites would say “that will never happen, the best we can do is a walkie-talkie…how will the conversation be delivered over long distances?” For a short while, they were right.
It still took Motorola until January 3, 1996 to make this a reality, for society. Now, looking back, there isn’t a person on planet earth who would say that the cell phone is not an ‘obvious’ piece of technology. Now, it’s obvious. To a visionary, it was obvious more than 25 years before it became a reality. We’re still waiting on the teleporters. The research is under way. Sounds absurd? Check out how China teleported a photon into space in 2017. Teleportation is a building block for a wide range of technologies. “Long-distance teleportation has been recognized as a fundamental element in protocols such as large-scale quantum networks and distributed quantum computation,” said the Chinese team. Meanwhile back on earth…
When it came to human interfaces in personal computing, it’s obvious that Steve Jobs was a visionary. He did not invent the computer, he took it to the next level, making it function in a way that most consumers could understand and appreciate. However, this started way before Steve, in the early 1950’s. When Dr. An Wang invented easily upgradeable computer memory, he knew that one day, in the near future, personal computing would gobble up memory like a lumberjack having his morning pancakes. The ability to swap out one memory chip for another is what allows many of us to upgrade our computers without spending an exorbitant amount or buying a new one. In 1955, when the core memory patent was issued, Wang sold it to IBM for $500,000 and incorporated Wang Laboratories in Lowell, Massachusetts. He continued to be a visionary in areas such as electronic calculators, corporate computing, word processing and personal computing, before he passed away. I was personally honored in my early career to work for Wang Laboratories and was invited to share one of my visions ‘fax over the internet’ with the company, which I invented. We deployed my Open Fax solution in 14 languages to over 40 countries, sparking a revolution in faxing from computers instead of standing in line at fax machines.
“I met numerous visionaries in my career at Wang Labs and beyond and I found one thing they all have in common – a passion to change the way things are done, usually for the better and in an unexpected way. This is what I’ve learned from my interactions with Robert Herjavec and his team,”
– Gary S. Miliefsky, Publisher, Cyber Defense Magazine
When it comes to managed security service providers (MSSPs), it’s obvious our global visionary is Robert Herjavec. History shows he’s the first person to wrap the remote management business model around firewalls, from a small office on the east coast of Canada., In 2003, he knew that firewalls were too complex for all IT staff and for understaffed companies to manage. He and his tiny team of 3 people, began the world’s first MSSP.
Fast forward almost 20 years and we’re in a world of 3200 cybersecurity vendors and hundreds of MSSPs. Enter a world where Cybercrime is now bigger than Drug Crime, globally costing Trillions in damages with new threat actors, new forms of malware, cybercriminals, hackers, cyberespionage by nation states and too many exploitable vulnerabilities to count. Add the fact that sadly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve now shifted from 3% doing remote office telecommuting to nearly 50% in 2021.It’s only going to get worse before it gets better, and we’ve already begun stressing the remote work functionality and security to its limits.
“Our new remote work reality has accelerated a more flexible corporate approach. Corporate offices, brick and mortar are becoming more and more over-rated – it’s incredibly powerful and efficient for people to save commuting time and re-invest it in more time with family and more productive time at their office, remotely,”
– Robert Herjavec, CEO, Herjavec Group
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has flipped the coin on its head as well – most vendors with great software allow you to leverage the Cloud and spin-up just about anything from your mail server to your sales CRM. VPNs are stressed, remote desktops are stressed, servers continue to be upgraded, fiber, 5g and other high speed internet technologies are bringing the digital transformation to the world at the most rapid pace. Welcome to the information technology storm.
As I predicted, SaaS is exploding which means Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) with deep knowledge and capabilities in providing remote security for Cloud, Identity and Access Management, are no longer an afterthought, they are a requirement,”
– Robert Herjavec, CEO, Herjavec Group
Within this whirlwind of all things moving to the internet, insurance vendors recently began to take cyber insurance very seriously. They first sold it asking ‘do you have antivirus and a firewall’ – check box one, check box two, now you have cyber insurance. However, since exponential data breaches, they’ve revamped their requirements including more detailed security audits if they are going to provide millions of dollars in cyber insurance coverage. I highly recommend cyberinsurance as a must have to all CIOs and CISOs – no matter how big or small your company is, you need cyberinsurance to help offset the risk of not ‘what if we are breached’ but ‘when we are breached’ to help keep the business afloat during such trying times. Just make sure you compare policies and find the one with the least exemptions you are willing to accept and find out if the vendor has held up payments to any past victims for any reason.
The same holds true for MSSPs. No matter how big or small your company is, you’ll find you’re understaffed in various areas – threat intel, zero-day malware mitigation, security orchestration, automation and response, endpoint management and patching, zero trust access, identity and access management (IAM) for all your Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based cloud resources and ultimately, critical infrastructure and data protection. This is where MSSPs like Herjavec Group accel. You can take advantage of additional risk mitigation with an MSSP partner like Herjavec Group but most importantly have a fresh, outside perspective that will find and help fix your weakest links on a regular basis.
MSSP EXPLOSION – will lead to MSSP CONSOLIDATION
Just as we’re finding some redundancies with over 60 antivirus vendors or 30 firewall vendors among the now 3200 global cybersecurity vendors, many of their resellers realized as the margins tightened up, it was time to play outside IT consultant and then many, in the hundreds and growing, have made the transition to become an MSSP, even though nearly 20 years after Robert Herjavec had this vision. This leaves many of them needing improvements and consolidation. I anticipate some will go out of business, strategic innovators and those growing rapidly will be acquired and their innovations will be standardized into an intelligent MSSP SOAR, Threat Intel and Analytics service provider like Herjavec Group.
NATURAL EVOLUTION FOR HERJAVEC GROUP TO BECOME THE DOMINANT ACQUIRER
Visionary’s don’t stop having their futuristic visions. Robert Herjavec has a vision which maps to the next 5-10 years I predict, of this MSSP market consolidation. He needed a partner to help make this happen very quickly and he found that partner in Apax Partners LLP (“Apax Partners”), which is a leading global private equity advisory firm. Over its more than 40-year history, Apax Partners has raised and advised funds with aggregate commitments of more than $50 billion. The Apax Funds invest in companies across four global sectors of Tech & Telco, Services, Healthcare and Consumer. These funds provide long-term equity financing to build and strengthen world- class companies. Now Robert has the partner he needs to come up for air, survey the competitive landscape and help foster growth and value in the MSSP marketplace through consolidation under his markey namesame: Herjavec Group.
The good news is that the CEO and board are more engaged in cybersecurity conversations than ever before – they know what Cyberinsurance is and the value it offers. Some know what an MSSP is and the value it offers. CIOs and CISOs continue to educate their C-level executive peers, the CFO and their CEO on the value of security augmentation and outsourcing. They know they have gaps and they are now very actively engaged in seeking the right MSSP partner to help take their security posture and defenses to the next level. With this shift in the workplace: remote computing, digital transformation and most SaaS offerings coming from the Cloud, now more than ever we need a visionary like Robert Herjavec to continue to consolidate, standardize and innovate the MSSP marketplace with best practices and the best tools for Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR), Identity and Access Management (IAM) for the Cloud and all our SaaS platforms with real-time threat intel to keep us one step ahead of the next threat and mitigating damages, should a breach occur.
EVERYTHING IS GOING REMOTE
With this amazingly fast digital transformation, the rewards should outweigh the risks. Everything we normally do on a PC or laptop is being served up remotely. Even home security systems are now managed in the Cloud. Just about everything smart in the IoT ecosphere is also remotely manageable and exploitable. This is a most opportune time to find and partner with an MSSP to help you make this digital transformation a more safe, secure and productive experience. MSSPs are experts at being productive throughout the digital transformation while helping mitigate tremendous risks.
“Like most CEOs and business executives, I do love meeting people in person but with Microsoft Teams, we can have a virtual office experience together, anytime. No need to sit in traffic, waste fuel and worry about parking, airport security, etc. we can get so much work done so much faster, remotely,”
– Robert Herjavec, CEO, Herjavec Group
Keep a keen eye on the Herjavec Group. Led by the MSSP market visionary, they now have the opportunity and the funding, in this brilliant partnership with Apax Partners to execute on Robert’s nearly 20 year old vision and make it a reality, worldwide. I expect we’ll see 3-5 very smart and strategic acquisitions coming out of Herjavec Group annually. They partnered with one of my favorite M&A teams, Momentum Partners, who helps us with our annual Black Unicorn Report each year, and they, too, have the passion and support Robert’s vision to help him make it a reality.
About the Author
Gary Miliefsky is a cybersecurity, breach prevention, and privacy expert.
He is CEO of Cyber Defense Media Group, publisher of Cyber Defense Magazine and a founding member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National Information Security Group, and the OVAL advisory board of MITRE responsible for the CVE Program.
He loves supporting the growth of and investing in cybersecurity startups through his activities at Stony Lonesome Group and Cyber Defense Ventures.