GFI Spins Off Security, Debuts ThreatTrack

GFI is spinning off its security business, honing its former offerings into ThreatTrack, a new firm that aims to swipe at larger, more lucrative advanced threat markets. But how it will develop its channel to be competitive with larger and more established players remains to be seen.

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For many organizations, the gloves are coming off when it comes to advanced threat detection -- and that means more organizations have to either ramp up and retool their offerings, or get out of the game altogether.

GFI Software is doing both: The Clearwater, Fla.- based company is spinning off its security business unit into an entirely separate company.

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The new company, called ThreatTrack Security Inc., is headed by Julian Waits, general manager of GFI’s Security Business Unit.

The endeavor is positioned as a new approach in targeting a lucrative advanced threat market, essentially condensing the firm’s legacy software offerings and repackaging them into a more dedicated and security-oriented format. It’s a move the founders hope will take a swipe at accelerating advanced threat detection markets with a combination of software and sandboxing.

“It’s time for a new approach to malware defense,” said Waits, CEO of ThreatTrack Security. “APTs and other complex malware attacks have enterprises -- especially those in globally competitive industries like finance, aerospace, health care, technology, and oil and gas exploration -- struggling to ensure the integrity of their networks and intellectual property. Moreover, many enterprises lack the necessary tools to know with certainty if they are a victim of an APT or other advanced malware strike. ThreatTrack Security was established to help enterprises bolster their cybersecurity readiness right now.”

ThreatTrack is joining an expanding chorus of start-ups, all of which hope to jump aboard the advanced threat detection wagon and make a noticeable dent. But the new company is touting its legacy as a part of GFI, which it says includes 10 years of tackling advanced malware, as a differentiator. The company plans to unleash a product map that expands its existing offerings gleaned from GFI’s former security portfolio.

One of the biggest bets for the company is what is being hailed as ThreatAnalyzer, formerly GFI SandBox -- an automated malware analysis sandbox that provides detailed analysis and malware behavioral reports to track APTs, zero-day threats and other targeted attacks. Also included in its advanced threat portfolio is VIPRE Business Premium, GFI’s latest security solution, entailing patch management and mobile device management (MDM). GFI, which had acquired VizualMobile to give it prowess in mobility markets, had hoped to achieve an edge in the SMB by addressing multiple lower market challenges with an all-in-one solution incorporating a variety of security fundamentals with MDM. And with its comprehensive, multi-faceted approach, the solution was seen as the path to raise the firm’s security standing and give partners renewed entry into yet-untapped SMB market segments.

The new security offerings include real-time malware intelligence that bolsters perimeter defenses such as firewall, IDS/IPS, Web filters and anti-spam products.

How the new firm plans to develop its channel remains to be seen. Partners received a form letter from GFI CEO Walter Scott informing them of the company split and, thus far, have been instructed to keep everything as is amid the transition. Executives herald the move as a chance to place laser focus into high-end antimalware technologies, which will give them a boost when facing the rising sea of cutthroat players vying for a piece of the advanced threat security pie. The advent of ThreatTrack as a company is touted as a chance for partners to refine their portfolio and get in just as the market heats up.

The new firm has its back up against the wall, however. With a latent entrance into advanced threat markets, it faces stiff competition from larger, better-established players such as RSA, the security division of EMC Corp., and FireEye Inc. -- both of which are making a name for themselves in advanced threat and Big Data analytics. McAfee Inc., Fortinet Inc. and others are upping their presence in advanced threat markets with a push in sandboxing and analytics technologies.

The spin-off indicates a growing disparity between simple and more rounded  SMB needs and specialized enterprise demands that are propelling the momentum of solutions tasked to deal with the rise of APTs. But advanced threat markets are hard nuts to crack. For now, the channel likely would do best to take a wait-and-see approach to how the firm executes on its channel strategy.



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