Cylance’s Dayton: ‘We Want Partners to Be The Heroes’

Superhero Businessman
Lorna Garey

Lorna Garey

Channel Partners recently sat down with Didi Dayton, VP of worldwide channels and alliances at Cylance. Founded in 2012, the endpoint security provider sells exclusively through the channel and posted impressive 283 percent revenue growth over the past year, with year-over-year customer count up 169 percent. Clients include Toyota, GameStop and Panasonic. It was ranked No. 10 on Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500 list, and its technology is deployed on more than 10 million endpoints.

Cylance and other well-funded security unicorns like Tanium, Crowdstrike, ForeScout and SentinelOne are diverting market share – and partner attention – from more-established endpoint security suppliers. And in fact, Dayton says Cylance CEO and founder Stuart McClure, and founder and chief scientist Ryan Permeh got their starts with McAfee but parted ways when they made the pitch to move beyond signature-based malware detection and were rebuffed.

Cylance's Didi Dayton

Cylance’s Didi Dayton

“Stuart came up with this idea and said, ‘Hey, what if we were to apply artificial intelligence towards security instead of writing a signature every time that we see something bad?’” says Dayton. When they got no uptake at McAfee, Permeh and McClure, who is an author of “Hacking Exposed,” struck out on their own.

After several funding rounds, Cylance launched a slate of security services in 2015; it still offers specialized consulting and incident containment. That service background informed the company’s software strategy.

“Based on our knowledge of how the product actually worked out there, we designed some things that would be easy for partners to offer as a services solution,” says Dayton.

Cylance’s technology uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to recognize malware before it can alter an endpoint device. Dayton says it does so without the lag time and performance hit common with signature-based AV.

“It’s silent to the users; they can go about their business,” says Dayton. “They never know security’s running in the background, but it does a dive and catches every time something malicious comes onto their system and just doesn’t allow it to run.”

The company has a wide range of solution-provider, technology, system-integrator and alliance partner opportunities as well as a dedicated cloud partner program offering subscription services to customers. It recently launched a multi-level MSSP program to enable partners to offer Cylance products as managed services. MSSPs may license products on a monthly or annual subscription basis.

Cylance is certified as a PCI-and HIPAA-compliant AV, meaning auditors won’t ding customers for removing legacy antivirus. Its tech is popular with health care, finance and manufacturing firms, and Dayton says it’s starting to …

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