Management & Strategy

Nikesh Arora Takes Over as New CEO of Palo Alto Networks

Nikesh Arora became the new CEO of Santa Clara, CA-based Palo Alto Networks (PAN) on Wednesday, June 6. He replaces existing CEO Mark McLaughlin, who will continue with PAN as vice chairman of the PAN board. "Over the course of several quarters, I have been discussing succession planning with the Board and I couldn't be more pleased that we have found a leader in Nikesh," said McLaughlin, who has served as CEO since 2011.

Share price dipped slightly since the news became known at the beginning of the month, but at £197.07 (at the time of writing) it is still considerably up on the firm's 52-week low of £126.56. It has been suggested that the market is slightly wary of Arora's lack of cybersecurity experience. He is, however, a big business player with big business experience.

Arora's former positions include chief business officer at Google (Fortune claims that Eric Schmidt once described him as "the finest analytical businessman I have ever worked with"); and COO at SoftBank (where he was 'heir apparent' to founder Masayoshi Son). He left SoftBank when Son decided to stay on for another decade. At Google, Fortune claims, "He helped instill discipline into the quirky Internet upstart, focusing its untamed energy into unstoppable commercial force."

Arora is not concerned about his personal lack of cybersecurity experience. "The good news is I knew nothing about advertising or ad sales when I joined Google in 2004 and I think that worked out," he told CNBC. In 2012, he was Google's highest paid executive. He expects to work closely with both McLaughlin and PAN founder and CTO, Nir Zuk. "I may not have a background in security, but with my background as an engineer, I can sit down with Zuk to help guide the next generation of products we can offer," he told recode.net.

Arora's pay package is impressive -- especially if he provides impressive growth to the company. His base salary is around £1 million per year, with a further £1 million as target bonus; plus £40 million of restricted stock vesting over seven years, and stock options valued at £66 million vesting in increments. "If the stock quadruples," reports Business Today, "he is in for a windfall -- he gets all of them." BT calculates this will amount to £128 million. "We wanted to make sure that Nikesh, as the new leader of the company, has strong skin in the game," Asheem Chandna, a member of Palo Alto Networks' board of directors and investor at Greylock Partners, told Fortune. "And we wanted to make sure Nikesh is rewarded if he creates multiples of value for shareholders."

That leaves the question of how Arora will seek such dynamic growth for PAN. McLaughlin claims the transition from him to a new CEO has been planned for some time. He told CNBC that PAN is already focused on the new developing markets: cloud, machine learning and new-age software, and suggested that PAN will look very different in five years' time.

"In looking for the perfect person to do that, we wanted somebody who is a very demonstrated business executive at scale and would bring those key attributes to the table to take us where the company's going to be in five years." "I'm hoping, as we go forward," added Arora, "we'll strike partnerships not just with Alphabet and Google but also with the other big players in the space, be it Microsoft or Amazon or many of our partners in the cybersecurity space." His intention is to apply the same principles of scale that he learned from his time at Google to Palo Alto Networks. Related: Palo Alto Networks to Acquire CIA-Backed Cloud Security Firm Evident.io

Related: Palo Alto Networks Acquires Incident Response Firm Secdo

Related: Palo Alto Networks Acquires Breach Detection Startup LightCyber

Capgemini to Acquire Leidos Cyber

French IT consultancy firm Capgemini announced Thursday an agreement to acquire Leidos Cyber from the U.S.-based Leidos. The acquisition is subject to anti-trust and Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approvals, and is expected to complete before the end of 2018. Financial terms have not yet been disclosed.

Founded in 1967, the Capgemini Group employs more than 200,000 people in more than 40 countries. It focuses on consulting, technology services and digital transformation; and reported global revenue of EUR 12.8 billion in 2017. In terms of its heritage, a Capgemini spokesperson told SecurityWeek, "Leidos Cyber was formed through the mergers, since 2011, of Lockheed Martin's corporate division, Industrial Defender and Leidos' own commercial cybersecurity business."

Leidos was formerly known as Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which changed its name in 2013. A new SAIC was then spun off Leidos, retaining the original name. Leidos Cyber is the cybersecurity arm of Leidos Holdings, employing almost 500 cybersecurity professionals across the North America.

Leidos reported 2017 revenues of £10.2 billion. The products and services of the two organizations complement each other. Capgemini gives a global market to Leidos Cyber's services; while Leidos Cyber will give Capgemini a much stronger footing in the U.S.

"Leidos Cyber is a pioneer in the field of cybersecurity. It defined the market in protecting the industrial control ecosystem for the mission critical infrastructure needs of global enterprises," comments Paul Hermelin, Chairman and CEO, Capgemini. Leidos' core market comprises government and highly regulated industries.

"Its world class security expertise and status as a trusted advisor to many Fortune 500 leaders," continued Hermelin, "makes it totally complementary to Capgemini's global cybersecurity practice. It is the perfect fit to reinforce our cybersecurity practice in North America, to help meet the security requirements of our international client base." Robert Meindl, president of Leidos Cyber, is also confident, calling Capgemini 'a natural home for our commercial cybersecurity team'. "Not only will we be able to play our part in augmenting the North America cybersecurity practice," he said, "but we also look forward to adding value to the global security provisions of Capgemini's clients around the world."

Angie Heise, president at Leidos Civil Group, added, "Capgemini's commitment to engaging a broad set of commercial markets makes it an ideal fit for the Leidos Cyber business."

Related: SAIC Plans to Build Cyber Security Powerhouse with NYU-Poly Cyber Security Program

Related: SAIC Opens Cyber Innovation Center in Maryland

IBM Adds New Features to MaaS360 with Watson UEM Product

IBM announced on Monday that it has added two new important features to its "MaaS360 with Watson" unified endpoint management (UEM) solution. UEM solutions allow enterprise IT teams to manage smartphones, tablets, laptops and IoT devices in their organization from a single management console. IBM has improved its MaaS360 with Watson UEM product with two capabilities the company says can be highly useful for IT departments: app intelligence and reporting, and security policy recommendations.

Business Dashboards for Apps is designed to provide administrators information on mobile applications and how they are used by employees. This can help them get a better understanding of which apps require attention and investment and which ones can be removed. IT teams can obtain information on the number of installs (by platform, manufacturer and ownership), usage (popularity and session length), performance (crashes and data usage), and trend information (crashes, network requests and data consumption over a period of six months).

Admins can also apply filters to make analysis easier and more useful. The second new feature, the Policy Recommendation Engine, helps IT teams by dynamically providing recommendations when configuring security policies. Recommendations are provided based on the organization's profile and common practices observed at similar companies in the MaaS360 community.

"Imagine a way to configure your policies with guidance that is dynamically presented every step of the way, catered to your organization and the size of your deployment. Whether you're new to the game -- or have been managing policies for years -- a little confidence in your configurations goes a long way," IBM Security's John Harrington Jr. said in a blog post. IBM also announced this week the launch of Guardium Analyzer, a new tool that uses a specialized data classification engine and data patterns to identify and classify GDPR-relevant information across cloud and on-premise systems.

The tool can also identify the databases most likely to fail a GDPR-focused audit, the company said. Related: IBM Helps Banks Prevent New Account Fraud Related: IBM Adds New Service to Cloud Identity Offering

Related: IBM Adds Intelligence to Incident Response, Threat Management