Intrusion Prevention Pioneer to Head Q1 Labs

Former Okena CEO Shaun McConnon, who helped define the intrusion prevention marketplace, joins Q1 as CEO.

Q1 Labs Inc. on Monday will announce that it has lured security industry veteran Shaun McConnon out of semi-retirement to become the companys new CEO.

McConnon has been out of the industry since the spring, shortly after selling his last company, Okena Inc., to Cisco Systems Inc. in January. He had served as CEO of Okena during its entire lifespan as an independent company, and helped to pioneer and define the intrusion prevention marketplace.

McConnon said last week that he had rebuffed advances from several companies in the last few months and had not planned to start looking for a new job until early next year. However, when Q1 officials contacted him and he investigated the companys technology, he changed his mind.

Q1s main offering is QVision, a security intelligence and traffic management tool that is designed to show customers whats happening in every corner of their networks. The system is a detailed management console that includes real-time graphs of traffic patterns and is meant to provide early warning of things such as denial-of-service attacks and other events that can take networks down.

"Once I took a look at the tool that theyve built, I realized they had a mature, enterprise-class product on their hands," said McConnon. "Ten minutes after you plug it in, you know so much more about your network than you did before."

McConnons immediate agenda will be to build out the companys sales and marketing organization to enable Q1 to compete with its much larger rivals.

"This is what I do; Im a sales guy really," he said.

For McConnon, that designation means not just selling products, but companies as well. Before he helped found Okena, McConnon was the CEO at Raptor Systems Inc., one of the first firewall vendors. He took the company public and then later sold it to Axent Technologies Inc., which Symantec Corp. later bought.

Okena was one of the small handful of companies, including Entercept Security Technologies and IntruVert Networks Inc., that seemed to create the IPS space out of thin air in the last two years as customers began looking for a technology that was more accurate and lower maintenance than traditional signature-based intrusion detection systems. The companys StormWatch system uses an agent-based architecture to intercept operating system calls and regulate the behavior of applications and other network resources. It relies heavily on the ability to correlate data culled from dozens of security and network devices and to react to emerging threats as they occur.

Cisco, based in San Jose, Calif., thought enough of the technology to pay $154 million for Okena.

Q1, based in Boston, recently released Version 2.0 of Qvision, and McConnon expects the next release to include more application-level intelligence.