Tanium Raises $100M With Endpoint Security Platform Set to Expand

Security firm raises new funds as it aims to give back to existing shareholders and grow technology base that can help defend against issues like WannaCry.

Tanium

Security vendor Tanium today announced a new $100 million round of funding, bringing total funding to date, up to $407 million. Tanium's primary product is the Tanium Endpoint Platform, which provides a modular framework for security controls. The new round was led by TPG Growth and provides Tanium with a company valuation of $3.75 billion.

"We have had a lot of consistent investor interest and we have reached the point where it is prudent for us to do another round," Orion Hindawi co-founder and CEO of Tanium told eWEEK.

The new round is not just about funding future operations, rather it's about enabling existing shareholders and employees, including co-founder David Hindawi (Orion's father) an opportunity to cash out some of their equity in the company.

"We're not actually keeping much of the money on the balance sheet after this funding, it's more a question of how we take the stock that we have granted employees and give them an option for liquidity," Hindawi said.

While some security vendors that raise money, need the funding to grow, Hindawi said that Tanium has more than $300 million in the bank. He added that Tanium today is cash flow positive has been for several years.

At some point in the future, Hindawi said that it is likely that Tanium will have an Initial Public Offering (IPO), though no specific timeline has yet been determined. Hindawi added that he'd rather keep the company private or do an IPO than let the company be acquired.

"I see a lot of M&A (mergers and acquisitions) ending up quashing the goals of the company that gets acquired," Hindawi said. "When we look at why at why we are succeeding, a lot of it is because we can stay focused on our mission."

The mission for Tanium since the company was created has been to make it easier for organizations to understand what's present in their environment, so that they can take the necessarily step to secure, manage and control IT.

BigFix

Tanium was founded by David and Orion Hindawi in 2007, who previously had started endpoint security system management vendor BigFix in 1997. Both David and Orion Hindawi left BigFix several years prior to the company being acquired by IBM in July 2010.

"David (Hindawi) and I left BigFix years before the acquisition because we just couldn't stomach the process of watching a company that we thought was really special, be taken over by venture capitalists that controlled the company," Hindawi said. "The biggest difference with Tanium is that David and I both own over 70 percent of the company which gives us the ability to stop the short-term thinking that infects a lot of companies."

Tanium Endpoint Platform

Tanium's core technology is the company's Endpoint Protection Platform which had an initial focus on helping organizations with the challenge of patching and keeping systems updated. 

Over the years, Tanium's platform has expanded in different ways with additional capabilities. In March 2016, Tanium added forensics and incident response modules. In September 2016, the platform was expanded with the new Comply module, providing compliance capabilities. In February 2017, Tanium introduced a new integrity monitor to help organizations enable File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) capabilities to watch for changes in files.

Tanium has also been advancing its EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) capabilities and is set to provide a new release soon.

"In about a month we will be releasing a refactor of our Detect module that we think will really take us forward by a huge leap," Hindawi said. 

Among the new items that will be part of the Detect module are new capabilities around user and device reputation. Additionally, there will be new signalling capabilities that can rapidly alert users to emerging risks. Hindawi said that the recent WannaCry ransomware worm is an example of why the new signalling capability is important.

"We'll have the ability to push content to our customers and enable them within seconds to self-asses their environments to see if they are susceptible to a new risk," Hindawi said. 

The WannaCry ransomware incident has led to some inbound sales interest to Tanium, though Hindawi said that it served mostly to remind organizations that patching is critical.

"Our industry lost its head in the last few years on advanced threats and zero-day vulnerabilities," Hindawi said. "As it turns out, the big attacks are often prosaic hygiene-related issues where a patch wasn't applied for months and as a result there was a breach."

The WannaCry ransomware attack first emerged on May 12, infecting organizations around the world by exploiting  a vulnerability in Microsoft's SMB (Server Message Block) service that was patched on March 14.

"Our industry has done a disservice to customers by convincing them that the Russians are coming with super-sophisticated, ninja-style attacks through the skylights, when the doors and windows are open and unlocked," Hindawi added. "WannaCry has been a good opportunity to remind our customers how many different ways we can help them."

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.