RSA 2016 Interview with Terra Verde
In this video, CEO of Terra Verde Ed Vasko explains why his company entered the MSSP space and how they made the decision to implement AlienVault USM as the core platform of their MSSP program.
ED: Hi, I am Ed Vasko, I am the CEO of Terra Verde. I have been in the security industry twenty-five years. Terra Verde is my fifth start-up, and we started the company eight years ago. About five years ago, we had a group of clients come to us and ask us a really important question, and that was whether we had ever thought about getting into the MSSP space, and we started asking questions as to why and all of our clients had the same answer. They had just engaged us to do some sort of network penetration tests or risk assessment, and in each one of those instances, our clients were not just having us test their technical controls, but they were actually also having us test their providers controls and the responsiveness of their providers. In each one of those instances, all of their providers failed miserably. So we decided to start an MSSP division, and as part of that process we started looking at build versus buy, kind of a classic approach in the MSSP space What we found was we came across OSSIM and we really liked the packaging that OSSIM had and taking all of the various open-source tools and capabilities and wrapping them underneath one pane of glass. Then we found AlienVault. Then we found the commercial side of the OSSIM project and we decided to go ahead and connect up and use AlienVault extensively as our core platform and then deploy it out to all of our clients. So we started eight years ago, we have been growing significantly and specifically focused on the cybersecurity space.
AV SPEAKER: So over the last eight years, what trends do you see driving security, driving the MSSP business, and driving Terra Verde?
ED: So I would say a couple of things. One, compliance versus security. Most boards and executive suites are more concerned about compliance because there is more liability in the compliance base, and making sure a certain compliance is maintained. The other thing that we have seen is that over the past five years there has been a significant supply versus demand issue around trained, qualified personnel, and that has been a real focus for us. We have seen the ability to go in and help our clients who can't afford 24/7 monitoring and capabilities, so what we do is we provide the necessary technologies through AlienVault, the necessary platform, and then back that up with highly-certified, highly-competent process and people to monitor their environment 24/7. The cost-benefit analysis versus trying to in-source that or go to other providers has just been a phenomenal advantage for us in the marketplace. So if I was looking at other MSSPs, certainly there may be other areas where threat intelligence or incident response may be a factor. We have been able to build those over the course of five years, but certainly the cost-benefit analysis for us is the big driving factor for our clients.
AV SPEAKER: So Terra Verde has a huge hand in compliance. In regards to compliance, what are the advantages of leveraging USM from an MSSP standpoint and/or from an end user standpoint?
STEPHEN: So from a compliance perspective, what we have seen over the years is that AlienVault has really taken significant time to develop the necessary reports and integration pieces to make auditing and reporting auditing that much easier. So what that does as an MSSP is it gives us increased value for our customers who are in need of PCI or HIPAA or any other compliance requirement. The ability to say that these technical items are working and they are working effectively and we can show that through direct evidence out of USM. For clients who are using USM directly, the great thing is that it reduces the cost of compliance. So an auditor comes into an organization and asks for File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) logs or asks for correlation directives or asks for log monitoring. AlienVault can quickly show all of that through the report structures that you have built in. So it is a great tool for that kind of purpose.
AV SPEAKER: Ed, this has been very enlightening. I really appreciate it. Any words of wisdom or advice for MSSPs currently in the space looking to become MSSPs. Just kind of share some of your secrets to success.
STEPHEN: Sure. So first and foremost, I would use a great product like AlienVault. That would be the first thing, obviously. The second thing is that if you really want to get into this space, what we have done over the past five years is not just invested heavily in the AlienVault platform, but we have invested millions of dollars on our own in terms of our Security Operations Center (SOC), our processes, developing our people, and ensuring that we have the right kind of operational model to support our clients. If you are a brand new MSSP and are just getting into the space and you don't have the capital to be able to make those kinds of investments, a partner like Terra Verde could also be of use. We are white-labeling many of our MSSP services. So I think that the combination between the great platform AlienVault has and our process and people make a terrific opportunity for any MSSP.