Tenable Network Security begins aggressive push into APAC

The company is looking to hire in its two new Singaporean and Australian offices, as well as set up more offices in the region.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

The company responsible for the development of popular security tool Nessus, Tenable Network Security, is making an aggressive push into the Asia-Pacific market.

At a media lunch in Sydney on Thursday, the company revealed that it is accelerating its expansion into Australia and New Zealand. It has appointed Sydney-based Matthew Brigham as its regional sales manager for the area, bringing him into the fold after stints at companies such as Trend Micro, Cisco Systems, and IBM.

Tenable vice president of Asia-Pacific Attley Ng said that the push into the region would be backed with eight to 10 new hires. While the company will continue to rely on its channel partners for sales, service, and support, the local presence would include a number of technical staff.

"This is really the first move for Tenable to move into Asia-Pacific. Although we have many users already, in terms of direct presence, this is our first time."

The Australian office has only been in operation for three weeks, and Ng himself is relatively new to his position. Ng, who has held high-level positions within Enterasys Networks, AT&T, and Alcatel Lucent, is also responsible for overseeing Tenable's push into the Asian markets.

Ng told ZDNet that the company is still in the process of finalising its premises in Singapore, and that it plans to expand even further into Korea, China, and India. He will be based at the regional headquarters in Singapore, which he says should be fully staffed by January next year.

Historically, Tenable has seen success in the government and enterprise markets, with customers such as the US Department of Defence.

Ng said that enterprise probably contributes to as much as 60 to 70 percent of its business, but that in the long run, and due to a higher focus on regulation and compliance, he expects government customers to bring this to a 50:50 ratio of enterprise to government.

"Government play is a big play for Tenable. It consists of a big chunk of our business."

Brigham said that the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), formerly known as the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), is one government department in particular that it is keen to work with.

"We've been planning to talk to DSD because Tenable will address the Top 36 [Strategies] simply around compliance."

On the enterprise side, it has already signed on SAI Global, which has adopted Tenable's SecurityCentre and Nessus suite to help identify vulnerabilities and manage patching. Although the code for older versions of Nessus are available as open-source projects, and have been forked into other freely available products like OpenVAS, SAI Global general manager for IT Peter Macarthur-King gave a number of reasons for not rolling out his own security.

The former Fujitsu employee said that his company has 68 different development teams globally, and so it was important that the product worked "out of the box".

"I've bought a lot of things over the years that 'worked out of the box' and we all know none of them do," he said, expressing his initial scepticism of IT security consultancy Content Security's recommendation, which SAI Global already uses to implement antivirus services.

However, Macarthur-King was glad to be proven wrong.

"I put this solution in ... and I had one project manager who was a contractor who almost barely spoke English, and she got this in and working with the Content guys in the first two weeks."

The other move for not going open source included the support from Tenable and Content Security, as well as the more recent features in Nessus and SecurityCentre.

"That level of comfort in that I can get that support and immediate response from the guys was a big part of the sale. Because I said, 'If you sell me this, and walk away, I'll come find you!'," Macarthur-King joked.

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