Maiffret's exit raises questions about eEye

Summary:The co-founder's exit comes just seven months after eEye dismissed CEO Ross Brown and went through a small round of layoffs to cut costs to cope in a super-competitive vulnerability assessment and intrusion prevention software market. The company has had two CEOs in less than a year.

Marc Maiffret quits eEye
Hacker Marc Maiffret, who co-founded and served for many years as the public face of eEye Digital Security, has left the company to pursue other projects.

According to a research note from The 451 Group analyst Paul Roberts,  Maiffret parted ways with eEye a few months ago and now acts as an advisor to the firm.  On his personal Web site, the 26-year-old vulnerability researcher describes himself as a "Freelance Security/Technology Consultant."

Maiffret (left), who was credited with naming the Code Red worm (eEye reported the MS01-033 .ida vulnerability that Code Red exploited) last worked as CTO and chief hacking officer at the Aliso Viejo, Calif. company.

His exit comes just seven months after eEye dismissed CEO Ross Brown and went through a small round of layoffs to cut costs to cope in a super-competitive vulnerability assessment and intrusion prevention software market.  The company has had two CEOs in less than a year and Maiffret's departure is sure to raise questions about eEye's future.

According to the 451 Group research note, eEye insists it is now profitable and taking aim at the SME market but Roberts questions whether the company can get product development and sales back on track and beat back dozens of well-funded competitors.

[ SEE: eEye fires CEO Ross Brown

"eEye's ability to sell its network- and host-based IPS products didn't keep pace with what its current CEO calls the company's "spirited" attitude in recent years, as competitors were being acquired left and right," Roberts said.

Now, a slew of the biggest names in security -- IBM, Symantec, McAfee, Check Point and Cisco -- compete head-to-head with eEye on endpoint protection, vulnerability scanning and host IPS, prompting concerns in some quarters that eEye will struggle to gain traction in the enterprise space.

The company claims to have more than 9,000 corporate and government customers worldwide and CEO Kamal Arafeh said the company has bounced back from a tough 2006 to be "profitable" this year, with top-line growth YTD up 53% over 2006.

Backed by VC firms Bessemer and Insight Venture Partners,  eEye has raised about $30 million since it was formed in 2000.   The company intends to eventually pursue an IPO exit.

Topics: Security

About

Ryan Naraine is a journalist and social media enthusiast specializing in Internet and computer security issues. He is currently security evangelist at Kaspersky Lab, an anti-malware company with operations around the globe. He is taking a leadership role in developing the company's online community initiative around secure content managem... Full Bio

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