Expel — Defending Enterprises from Cyber Criminals and Overused Buzzwords
By Gene Frantz, General Partner at CapitalG
Originally published May 13, 2020
The past few months have been an unprecedented time for the world and led to new challenges for many of us, both personally and professionally. For investors, the process of partnering with new companies in today’s environment has been anything but ordinary. But Expel is an extraordinary company, and Merk, Yanek, and Justin are extraordinary founders. As bad actors seek to take advantage of current conditions to exploit emerging security vulnerabilities, the Expel team provides its customers with a crucial line of defense through its technology-driven, transparently managed security solution. Passionate in its unwavering commitment to exceptional customer support, the Expel team is also commendable for its strong aversion to buzzwords. In deference to this remarkable team, we’ve omitted the following buzzwords from this post: next-generation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, state-of-the-art, market-leading, best-in-class, best-of-breed, and purpose-built.
Unpacking the current cybersecurity landscape
Cybersecurity leaders today all face the same daunting challenge: how can their security operations keep pace with an ever-expanding threat landscape and constantly evolving attacks? With companies collectively spending more than $150B on cybersecurity products and services annually, addressing this challenge tops every organization’s priority list. Yet despite the billions spent on preventing attacks, cybercrime continues to rise, creating trillions of dollars of financial and reputational damage for companies. These astronomical numbers highlight significant structural issues in the current cybersecurity model.
More tools create more information to manage and reveal more risks to assess
To address increasing cyber risk, organizations have continued to double down on investments in security products. While many of these solutions have helped enterprises improve their security posture, they’ve also created an untenable, complicated morass.
Today, the average mid-to-large enterprise relies on dozens of security solutions and receives tens of thousands of security alerts every day, overwhelming security and IT teams. These well intended tools offer pieces to the puzzle, but customers are left to complete the picture themselves. IT departments need more support to manage these tools, investigate potential incidents and respond to actual threats.
Unfortunately, sufficient levels of in-house support are nearly impossible to find given the global talent shortage of over 3 million cybersecurity professionals. Nearly 70% of security leaders say their cybersecurity teams are understaffed, and 60% have active open or unfilled cybersecurity positions. This talent gap forces companies to seek sophisticated external support and services to help maintain and monitor their security posture.
Traditional security services fall short
Outsourcing security services isn’t a new concept — managed security service providers (MSSPs) have been around for decades, and total spend in this category is over $10B annually, growing 10% per year. Many companies have experience with MSSPs, though few of them have been positive. Customers consistently describe these vendors as ‘black-box’ solutions with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to customer management and technology support. Customers deal with slow response times, opacity on how security events are processed and often must switch security products to those that suit their MSSP.
Modern enterprises need a security service provider that is:
- fast at detecting and responding to security events
- transparent in processing security alerts
- compatible with a heterogeneous array of security tools and computing environments.
Expel changes the game for managed security
Expel is redefining managed security with a technology-driven solution that’s built into its proprietary platform, Workbench™. The Expel team uses automation to filter alert noise, allowing Expel’s dedicated security analysts to focus on what humans do best: making judgments about more complex security incidents and supporting customer needs. Expel’s customers have full access and transparency into Workbench, meaning they can be as involved (or uninvolved) as they want as an investigation unfolds. Beyond eliminating alert clutter, Expel provides customers faster and more thorough security monitoring and analysis, higher quality communication and support and ongoing recommendations on how to improve their security posture.
There is no better way to understand the Expel difference than through its customers. Against the market reality of less than half of customers rating MSSPs as very effective, Expel receives top customer satisfaction marks with an NPS of over 70. Customers consistently praise Expel’s ability to parse false alerts and identify true threats accurately, its data-rich platform that enables customers to understand the nature and timing of Expel’s actions, and the significant leverage Expel provides to their internal teams.
CapitalG’s investment in Expel
In these challenging and unprecedented times, nothing is more important than the health and stability of our families and communities. At the same time, all of us at CapitalG also remain focused on our mission to support exceptional entrepreneurs and companies. We’re proud partners to Merk, Yanek, Justin and the rest of the talented Expel team as they modernize the managed security while protecting companies from bad actors now and always.
Read more about this impressive team and what they’re building here.
Special thanks to James Luo, VP at CapitalG and Jamie Rosen, Associate at CapitalG for their collaboration on this article.