Sourcefire Hires New CEO

The intrusion-detection system vendor looks to Aether's Wayne Jackson to bring it into the top tier of security companies.

Looking to move into the top tier of security companies, intrusion-detection system vendor Sourcefire Inc. on Tuesday announced the hiring of a new CEO.

Wayne Jackson, formerly of Aether Systems Inc., takes over the helm of the company, while founder Martin Roesch, who had served as CEO, becomes chief technology officer.

Jackson joined Aether when he sold Riverbed Technologies Inc., which he co-founded, to the wireless infrastructure company in 1998. He said he was initially attracted to Sourcefire because of the companys strong presence in the IDS market.

"The two hardest things for a startup are getting the technology validated and building brand recognition," he said. "Those two things are done in spades at Sourcefire. My concerns for the company were focused on the value proposition. Red Hat eventually became a profitable company, but I didnt want to be in their situation."

Sourcefire sells an IDS appliance based on the widely deployed Snort open-source IDS tool, which Roesch wrote.

Jackson said that while he doesnt anticipate any major shifts in the companys direction, there are several major products on the drawing board that he hopes will help Sourcefire, based in Columbia, Md., expand beyond its core customer base.

In the short term, the company in three weeks will release a new management console that will tie the free version of Snort to Sourcefires enhanced version. Farther down the road, Jackson plans to focus on improving the OpenSnort Sensors speed.

"There are a lot of things in terms of performance that could make it a better product," Jackson said. To that end, Sourcefire is writing a packet-processing algorithm that Jackson says will make the sensor "an exponentially faster product."

He also said the company is working on a gateway IDS product.

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