Hype Doesn’t Last. Great Cybersecurity Does

May 9, 2022
Willem Hendrickx
Chief Revenue Officer
Hype Doesn’t Last. Great Cybersecurity Does

Most marketing messages are a cocktail of sober reality and hyperbole. Of course, the proportions may vary from season to season, from one company to the next, but hype continues to be a perpetual factor in the cybersecurity world. At Vectra, however, we are firm believers in sober reality. It is regrettable in such a critical industry, as competitors struggle to define unique stories for themselves, some security marketing managers feel forced to adopt a certain fashion-show approach.

The hype is so evident and influential that Gartner now graphs and analyzes it in their annual “Hype Cycle” for more than 90 technology sectors, cybersecurity included. The Hype Cycle graph is a roller-coaster of designations, following up-and-down tracks from “Technology Trigger” to “Peak of Inflated Expectations,” “Trough of Disillusionment,” “Slope of Enlightenment,” and, finally, to “Plateau of Productivity” (Gartner Glossary).

Cybersecurity Is About Performance, Not Marketing

Gartner calls their partially – and perhaps largely – subjective judgments “a way for clients to track technology maturity and future potential.” But this too is another flavor of hype. The Hype Cycle assesses tech propositions much the way Hollywood movie producers judge film stars: by ranking the exciting new face, the reigning superstar, the once-surefire box-office draw whose star is sinking, the doomed, luckless talent who can’t get cast anymore.

Let’s be clear: Cybersecurity is not a Hollywood publicity game. Vectra is on a grave and urgent mission to create a safer digital world. No matter how you label a security solution, its value lies in its proven performance, not its marketing.

Let’s Take a Look Beyond the Hype

So, when you assess cybersecurity for enterprise environments, look beyond the hype.

In 2022, superior enterprise security comes down largely to delivering compound, total, actionable visibility to support the defense strategy of a SOC. Doing so grows progressively harder as networked environments become ever more complex and acquire more (and more varied) attack vectors. Further, the volume of observational data to review is rising exponentially. Smart, AI-driven data analysis rivals the importance of detection itself.

That is the cold reality, not hype. Consider the intellectual lineage of some hot new cybersecurity propositions being introduced today and how far back they truly go.

In 2015, 7 years ago, Gartner’s Anton Chuvakin developed a widely appreciated conceptual model tying together SIEM, EDR (endpoint detection and response), and NFT (network forensics, aka NDR) in the SOC Visibility Triad. Chuvakin’s inspiration for this step was the “nuclear triad” of national defense strategy: The 20th-century notion that air, land, and submarine-based weapons create resilience. It’s a brilliant way to conceive of cybersecurity defense.

Then came XDR (extended detection & response), coined by Nir Zuk at Palo Alto Networks in 2018. But this Big Idea was not so very different from that of Chuvakin: Break down organizational barriers and base automated holistic threat response on compound inputs from all data sources.

XDR was a Hype Cycle hit. Today, versions of XDR are packaged by numerous cybersecurity leaders: Cortex XDR from Palo Alto, Crowdstrike Falcon XDR, Cynet360 Auto XDR, and many more. Yet, all XDR is not created equal, and some solutions have more robust response orchestration powers than others. But an acronym that enjoys some Hype Cycle success can obscure competitive shortcomings.

When a marketplace gets crowded with vendors hyping similarly-named propositions, it becomes time to play the Hype Cycle to one’s corporate advantage by rolling out yet another new name, something Palo Alto did in 2022 with Cortex XSIAM, said to “reimagine SIEM and SOC analytics.”

Here we are witness to iterative, incremental improvements to the SOC Visibility Triad, served with a heaping pile of hype.

NDR still complements EDR and vice versa. The overall strategic goal remains total visibility and better coordinated and (hopefully) automated response.

It’s easy to launch a new acronym in pursuit of such a goal; it’s harder to actually pioneer new technology paradigms, new ways of blending software with diverse, world-class, human judgment, that is, new insights into what CIOs and CISOs need right now with new quantitative performance benchmarks.

Vectra: Less Hype, More Results

That is how Vectra distinguishes itself as the proven leader in AI-driven threat detection and response for cloud, data center, IoT, and enterprise. Vectra never joined the Acronym-of-the-Month Club. Its identity still lies in creating groundbreaking technology by diverse security researchers and data scientists – all in support of CIOs and CISOs – as together we pursue our common goal: Less hype, more results.

The approach has worked for us so far. We have built a global community of customers and partners who trust Vectra and a world-class team of security professionals who disdain drama and PR stunts. We just get stuff done. That is one reason why Vectra continues to grow, and is on track to exceed 1,000 customers this year, while some others in cybersecurity find themselves somewhere down the list in Gartner’s Hype Cycle. Between the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” and the “Trough of Disillusionment” perhaps …

Our advice: Separate hype from reality and results. Fearless innovation is integral to the Vectra identity. I am convinced this will keep Vectra at the forefront of the contest to achieve a safer, fairer world. I know of no one at this company who would opt to rule the Hype Cycle for even a short while over fulfilling that vital mission.

Let others make more acronyms. Vectra chooses to make history.