Skyport Names Former HP Security Chief as CEO

Art Gilliland explains how trends he discussed while at HP are manifest in his new role at the security startup.


Art Gilliland is well-known in the security industry, having spent time in leadership roles at Symantec and most recently as the senior vice president and general manager of Enterprise Security at Hewlett-Packard. Today, security startup Skyport announced that Gilliland is the company's new CEO, helping to push the company forward to the next level.

Gilliland takes over the CEO role from Stefan Dyckerhoff, who is a managing director at Sutter Hill Ventures, one of the investors in venture-backed Skyport, which has raised $37 million in funding. Other investors include Index Ventures and Intel Capital.

Skyport's core platform is its SkySecure Server, which was first announced in May. The basic idea behind SkySecure is to build a secure end-to-end hardware and software platform for servers. As it turns out, Skyport's mission is very closely aligned with a topic that Gilliland discussed during his RSA 2015 keynote.

"One of the things I talked about in my RSA keynote is the new architectures that are required to secure environments today," Gilliland told eWEEK.

The challenge is that organizations are consuming services from infrastructure they don't own and even with infrastructure that organizations own, setting security policy is complicated, he said. In Gilliland's view, Skyport addresses those challenges.

"What Skyport does is it essentially puts a protective covering over applications," he said.

As such, each application that runs on a Skyport system benefits from server micro-segmentation, which enables administrators to set security policy on a per workload basis. With micro-segmentation, each application runs in its own secure segment of the server.

"That micro-segmentation, that secure compartment, is in my opinion one of the new architectures for security and why I joined Skyport," Gilliland said.

As CEO of Skyport, Gilliland said his focus, now that the SkySecure servers are shipping and available to customers, is on scaling out the business and engaging with customers. He noted that he also needs to grow the sales and marketing infrastructure of the company and help the market understand the value proposition behind Skyport's platform.

"Skyport is not security bolted onto stuff. This is security by design, and it's a very different approach than most companies understand," he said. "So when you buy a subscription service from Skyport, you don't need an additional firewall and many of the other technologies you typically need to pay extra for to run your workloads. It's all embedded in Skyport."

Skyport uses a subscription model for both hardware and software updates. Gilliland explained that the Skyport SkySecure hardware is managed from the cloud and as new hardware is introduced, organizations with subscriptions will get hardware refreshes.

The server market is a crowded space, with Dell, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and others all selling x86 hardware. Gilliland, however, doesn't see these server vendors as being direct competition; rather, Skyport serves a somewhat complementary, additive role.

"We're helping organizations to secure their most critical workloads," Gilliland said. "So initially we'll be complementary to existing servers, as there is compute you don't need to have hyper-secure."

That said, critical technologies such as Microsoft Active Directory, which provides access control and user credentials in an enterprise, or a server that runs in a hostile environment are where Gilliland thinks it makes sense to deploy Skyport.

Since Skyport is cloud-managed, Gilliland feels his company is able to iterate and innovate quickly. Future releases will continue to improve security as well as overall manageability and integration with other technologies.

"The marriage of infrastructure and security is absolutely critical, and if we don't do security by design, we'll never be successful against the adversary," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

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