Sean Berg, president of global government and critical infrastructure at Forcepoint, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz about the challenges of implementing zero-trust architectures and driving value for the company’s customers through contract awards and recent acquisitions during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“The deep partnership and trust we have with our customers is incredibly important to the team here at Forcepoint. We are obsessed with supporting our customers and the critical missions they serve. From the US Department of Defense to the global critical infrastructure provider, we feel that how we engage and collaborate around our high assurance solution areas is essential in enabling our customer’s mission success.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Sean Berg below:
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about Forcepoint’s recent growth initiatives and how you’re driving value for your customers through contract awards, acquisitions and other aspects across the federal sector?
Sean Berg: “The first thing that people notice about Forcepoint is that we are one of the largest privately held cybersecurity companies out there. What’s unique is our company’s focus on the federal market as an engine for long-term growth, and how we’ve internalized our customer’s mission success as a critical factor in our own success.
I lead our government business unit, which is predominantly focused on government and critical infrastructure customers worldwide. The G2CI team is a separate business unit with over 650 cybersecurity professionals who are all obsessed with the mission critical needs of our customers.
For our critical infrastructure customers across the globe, our business is all about trusted, high assurance cybersecurity technologies and using those capabilities to solve some of the most challenging problems in the highest consequence environments that exist. Forcepoint leads the market in insider risk and cross domain solutions, and we are emerging as a leading player in the zero-trust world.
In over 20 years of working with the most demanding and complex organizations in the world, we’ve learned that our best customers are those who are looking for a true partner in helping them answer their toughest and most critical cybersecurity needs.
Our customers require a partner that knows how to solve the most difficult problems in highly regulated and high consequence environments, where lives are often on the line. Our growth initiatives are directly aligned with the unique challenges our federal government and critical infrastructure providers are faced with, especially in the areas of insider risk, behavioral analytics, zero trust content, disarm, and reconstruction technology, and high assurance data access/ transfers using cross domain solutions.
As you think about the bigger initiatives that are impacting our US government customers, like the transition to the cloud or the interconnection constructs of JADC2, all those efforts are built around being able to access networks and transfer information at varying security levels…a very challenging environment indeed, and one that Forcepoint excels at.
Forcepoint is positioned in the middle of these trends, and the solutions we bring to market are purpose-built to solve the most difficult challenges of these initiatives. We’re investing in capabilities that enable the secure information transfer in cloud environments as well as connecting the different elements of programs like JADC2, from sensor to effector…and everything in between. This puts our government customers in position to get critical data to exactly where it needs to be in order to maximize its value to their missions.
Moving forward, Forcepoint continues to invest and focus on the key areas that enable our customers to achieve mission success. A good example of this is our ongoing commitment to the US government’s raise the bar standards for cross domain solutions. Forcepoint must ensure that we deliver the best, most secure products to our customers because we believe that our success is completely tied to their success.
We’ve seen this commitment bear fruit over the years, none more evident than our recent $89M contract with DISA for an enterprise user activity monitoring capability within the US DoD’s combatant commands and 4th Estate.
With this contract, we get to work collaboratively with our customers to provide a fully integrated and accredited user activity monitoring solution across the enterprise, involving multiple networks with all the requisite software, hardware, training, and cleared engineering services under a unified management team.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the implementation of recent acquisitions you’ve made and how they’ve benefited your portfolio, technical capabilities and driven value for your company and customers?
Sean Berg: “Last year was a significant year for Forcepoint in terms of acquisitions. On the commercial side of our business we acquired CyberInc, a leader in remote browsing isolation technology.
In addition, we also acquired BitGlass, a cloud native platform with industry leading capabilities in cloud access security brokering, secure web gateway, and zero trust network access. Those have formed the basis of our ForcePoint ONE offerings.
On the government side, we also acquired Deep Secure, a leader in cross domain solutions and content disarm and reconstruction technology based out of the United Kingdom. All of these products will help our customers solve their more significant cyber challenges and ensure mission success – that’s what we’re all about.
With our customers’ need to share sensitive data from any location, combined with the ever increasing threats tied to file sharing, CDR technology is critical for Forcepoint to be able to stop malicious actors from manipulating and stealing sensitive information. This technology is a new and groundbreaking method for protecting against these potential disruptive and dangerous security breaches caused by malware-riddled files.
Our approach is different. Rather than trying to detect malware on a given file, Zero Trust CDR works by extracting the valid data, verifying the information and then building a brand-new file. All of which we then verify through high-assurance hardware logic. We believe it’s the only way an organization can truly ensure their files are free from malware.
All this technology also works hand in hand with a lot of other cyber capabilities, both our own and from other vendors. ZT CDR is currently embedded within our RBI capability and we’re working on integrating it into our cross-domain portfolio as well.
For example, if you need to download information or files from that untrustworthy site being rendered through an RBI session, that’s when our CDR technology comes into play, by cleansing the files that come into the environment.
We are seeing a lot of interest and demand coming from many different verticals like government, financial services, critical infrastructure, energy and more. Our customers are looking for new and effective ways to solve these difficult problems and we’re pleased to offer integrated capabilities that we’ve acquired to our clients.”
ExecutiveBiz: With zero-trust technology becoming a major focal point moving forward, what can you tell us about the difficulties of implementing zero-trust architectures and focusing on data security?
Sean Berg: “Zero-trust is definitely the buzzword at the moment in our industry. The challenge is that we’re seeing a lot of competing approaches throughout the government and the commercial sector. At Forcepoint, we definitely have a point of view on zero trust and we’re focused on how our technologies integrate and enable zero trust architectures.
We see a lot of value in the zero-trust methodology and particularly its use in high-consequence environments. At Forcepoint, we are having daily conversations with customers about their thoughts as well. One of the most important aspects of these discussions is to ensure our customers are aware of the various frameworks, architectures, and how the executive orders from the White House will impact them.
We’re very focused on helping customers navigate and determine what aspects apply to them and provide the knowledge they need to find common ground and quick wins.
After we’ve helped them identify gaps and developed an understanding of how the executive orders apply, Forcepoint can then move the discussion forward around advancing customer goals within the context of the range of technologies and solutions that are the best fit.
We recognize that there is no one solution that can meet all of our customer’s zero-trust needs, but Forcepoint can assist our customers to shape how they look at zero-trust tools and architectures.
With the launch of Forcepoint ONE, we now have a foundational platform that scales and enables a zero-trust approach throughout the enterprise. Forcepoint ONE is an all-in-one cloud platform that makes security simple by unifying crucial security services, giving you one platform, one console, and one agent, that also leverages a single set of policies for controlling the web, cloud, and private applications in a zero-trust fashion.
The Forcepoint One platform also allows additional, mission critical, zero-trust capabilities like RBI, CDR, and advanced malware detection, adding layers of security to the highest risk malware channels.”