DataBee™ appoints Ivan Foreman for EMEA expansion leadership
You may be surprised to know this, but the security data issues that challenge US-based security teams are issues felt ’round the world. Of course, I’m kidding: These challenges have been worked on, talked about, and written about for years and continue to eat up news cycles because it’s still too hard to correlate and analyze all of the security data generated by the tools and technologies that live in most enterprise security stacks.
Comcast Technology Solutions’ (CTS) DataBee™ Suite and security data fabric platform have been created to help bring order, ease, and clarity to security data chaos in the enterprise. Having focused this first year of business on our US home turf, we’re very happy now to expand into EMEA with a cybersecurity veteran at the helm — Ivan Foreman. Based out of London with work and life experience in Israel and South Africa, Ivan brings to his new role as Executive Director and Head of EMEA Sales, DataBee a deep understanding of the unique needs of customers and partners from across EMEA, and a true passion for ensuring the security of both people and organizations.
Let’s learn a little bit more about Ivan and his background…
[LC]: Ivan, you’ve joined CTS DataBee to lead Sales and Business Operations in EMEA. Talk to us about your charter there and what you hope to accomplish in your first several months.
[IF]: I’m very excited to join CTS DataBee and the opportunity to build the business in EMEA. My first month was spent learning as much as possible about Comcast, the value a security data fabric has brought to the organization, and the commercialization of this innovation through DataBee. I was fortunate enough to travel to HQ in Philadelphia and meet the leadership team who have been building DataBee for the past year. My next couple of months will be spent building the DataBee brand in the EMEA region and helping organizations there get more from their security data. So far, the response has been fantastic, and almost everyone I’ve spoken to about DataBee is keen to learn more and seems to have an interest in putting me in touch with their colleagues.
[LC]: How did you learn about the opportunity with CTS DataBee, and what ultimately attracted you to this position?
[IF]: I worked with Nicole Bucala (VP & GM of DataBee) at a previous company, and during the summer, I saw her post on LinkedIn about DataBee and was intrigued. As I was in the process of looking for a new role, I reached out to learn more.
There were ultimately three things that attracted me to the role:
- The company: DataBee is part of Comcast Technology Solutions, whose parent company, Comcast, is one of the largest companies in the US. Having worked for small cybersecurity startups in the past, I understand the challenges of building a brand from scratch; here, I have the support of the Comcast brand and an amazing internal use case that validates how well equipped we are to solve the enterprise security data problem.
- The product: Listening to the story of how Noopur Davis, Comcast’s CISO, built a security data fabric internally to help her answer the very difficult questions asked by Comcast’s board and regulators, whilst at the same time saving money and improving the company’s security posture, was very compelling.
- The people: It has always been very important for me to work with people I like and respect. Nicole has done an amazing job of hiring some of the best and brightest talent in the industry. Throughout my interviews, I was impressed by the quality of the people I met and was excited by the prospect of so many successful people all working together.
[LC]: What is it about DataBee the product that excites you and that you think will resonate with enterprises in EMEA?
[IF]: What is resonating is our Continuous Controls Monitoring (CCM) offering — the ability to see real-time dashboards relating to the company’s security, risk, and compliance posture. Every single company has different data sources and security metrics that they need to monitor, and our CCM capability provides both standard and customizable dashboards that make it possible for an organization to track their specific security controls and compliance requirements.
In EMEA in particular, keeping up with regulations is such a challenge, and every industry and country seems to have different cybersecurity-related regulations they need to adhere to. In the UK, the ‘network and information systems,’ or NIS, is the main framework to look out for. Telecommunications companies, or Telcos, are grappling with the UK’s Telecommunications (Security) Act, whose requirements need to be in place for Tier 1 Telcos by March 2024. PCI DSS 4.0, which applies globally to any organization that processes payment cards, is another one to review. DataBee can ease the challenge of keeping up with these and other regulations by giving CISOs and GRC teams an easier way to continuously monitor their controls and keep ahead of their annual audits.
[LC]: Tell us a bit about your background in cybersecurity — you’ve been in this industry for most, if not all, of your career, correct? Share with us some of your experiences and what’s kept you hooked on the security space.
[IF]: I grew up in South Africa and graduated from university in Durban, but my professional cybersecurity experience began when I went to live in Israel. There, I worked for a company called Aladdin, which, at that time, was the market leader in combatting software piracy.
Eventually I moved to the UK, and other roles there included:
- Business development manager for Softwrap, which had a very innovative secure envelope solution for helping to securely distribute software online (long before there were App Stores).
- Progressive channel management and leadership roles at ScanSafe, pioneer in SaaS web security. I was one of the first employees and helped the company grow and expand until it was sold to Cisco in 2009 for $183 million. I stayed with Cisco for another four years and was promoted to lead the company’s security business in the UK, selling its full security portfolio (firewalls, IDS, email security, web security, VPN, identity services, etc.).
- VP of sales EMEA and VP of sales Asia Pacific for Wandera, where I was reunited with the original founders of ScanSafe, who were focused this time on enterprise mobility security and data management.
- VP of sales EMEA for Illusive Networks, an Israeli deception security company. I started as their first EMEA hire, helping them grow and expand the business there.
- Senior director of global channel sales for Nozomi Networks (an OT security company), where I led their global channel business and was purely focused on developing relationships with hundreds of partners around the world.
Whilst working in the security industry, it is not just about selling products; you actually feel as if you are positively contributing to society by helping to keep companies and people safe from bad actors. I guess that’s what has really kept me interested in this space and why I believe I’ll probably stay in cybersecurity until the end of my career.
[LC]: What are some of the key data and/or cybersecurity challenges that are unique to enterprises in EMEA?
[IF]: One of the most interesting challenges I have seen in the UK specifically is the very short tenure of CISOs. I recently read a Forrester report, which highlighted that the average tenure for a UK CISO (working for the FTSE 100 companies) was 2.8 years. This means that they are not likely able to invest in long-term projects, but rather focus on short-term wins before they move on to a new challenge. It’s therefore critical to understand where the CISO is in their tenure as a key success factor, which may make or break a potential sale.
[LC]: Looking ahead into 2024, what are some of your security and/or security business predictions for the year ahead in EMEA? Any threats/challenges/opportunities you see on the near-term horizon?
[IF]: No doubt AI and ML is going to play a huge role in 2024 and beyond. Ensuring these technologies are used correctly and morally is going to be a huge challenge as bad actors and malicious hackers can also use them to attack enterprises and states.
The other challenge I see is finding skilled cybersecurity professionals who are available to help implement policies and keep companies safe. As reported by ISC2 in their 2023 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, there are roughly four million empty cybersecurity positions in companies and organizations globally. The people who work in the industry need to find a way to ensure children at school learn about the importance of these jobs and are encouraged to consider careers in this field.
[LC]: Will you be working to build channel partnerships in EMEA? If so, what types of partners are you hoping to create relationships with?
[IF]: Yes, DataBee is a channel-friendly organization, and we love working with our partners to help our customers achieve fast time-to-value. The only way to really grow and scale our business quickly throughout EMEA is to embrace the channel. I believe, however, that it is critical to focus on a few key strategic partners; it’s not quantity, it’s quality, and ensuring that there’s a good overlap of our target customers and the customers served by our partners.
I’ve already started discussions with a few strategic partners who have expertise in this space and see the value of what DataBee is bringing to market. The most critical element from my perspective is finding partners who can help deliver the professional services that will ensure a successful DataBee implementation and faster time-to-value.
[LC]: Who is resonating with the DataBee story and value proposition right now?
[IF]: Initially, anyone involved in security, risk, and compliance management. Our CCM solution is ideal for CISOs and GRC and compliance executives because of the real-time reporting it can provide, and it’s great for GRC analysts and audit teams who need that ‘single source of truth’ — connected and enriched data.
We have an aggressive product roadmap for the DataBee data fabric platform that we hope will make it very relevant and important to other cybersecurity, privacy, data management, and business intelligence roles early in 2024 and beyond. Within Comcast, the data fabric platform that DataBee is based on is being used by everyone from the Comcast CISO and CTO to GRC analysts, data scientists, data engineers, threat hunters, security analysts, and more.
[LC]: Where are you based, and what’s the easiest way for people to reach you?
We believe that DataBee is truly unique, providing a comprehensive approach to bringing together security and enterprise IT data in a way that improves an organization’s security, risk, and compliance posture.
As Comcast CISO Noopur Davis has said, “Data is the currency of the 21st century — it helps you examine the past, react to the present, and predict the future.” It is a universal currency that all organizations should be able to use, whether for deep security insights and improved protection, or to propel the business forward with a better understanding of customer needs.
Learn how your organization can take full advantage of its security data by requesting a personalized demo of DataBee or reaching out to Ivan. He can’t wait to talk to you.