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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

Location

333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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November 10, 2023 |

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Huntress CTO Challenges the Status Quo

Huntress co-founder and CTO Chris Bisnett talked about the importance of thinking differently in the cybersecurity space.

Defying Brand Expectations

Huntress CEO Chris Bisnett said selecting the company’s name was a carefully thought out decision. In a world of generic, often hypermasculine company names, Bisnett and his business partner wanted go the other way.

“It was 2015. It was a space with a lot of big players, like Carbon Black and Crowd Strike. They’re successful companies with marketing budgets in the millions of dollars. They had multiple years head start on us, and we were a few people with $50,000.

“We were thinking, ‘What do we want to hunt for?’ Hackers want to hunt for the bad stuff and we want to expose them. Kyle Hanslovan [co-founder and CEO of Huntress] and I both have daughters. That word hunt quickly became huntress,” Bisnett said.

That language choice reflected one of the company’s core pillars, Bisnett noted. “We want to think differently and challenge assumptions. And that’s built into our origin story.”

He encouraged every small business to consider how they position themselves in the marketplace, with brand identity being the logical place to start.

Monitoring Meets Development

Huntress provides 24/7 monitoring, threat detection and response, as well as access to a team of security experts who can help businesses manage security incidents and respond to threats. Its services are designed to be accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes, including small MSPs that may not have the resources or expertise to manage security on their own.

One of the big differentiators, according to Bisnett, was the company’s focus on marrying and excelling at both security management and tool development.

“There were other companies who would say we’ll be your SOC, but they weren’t also building the tools. If our SOC is detecting something, we can then go and make changes on the tool side. We can automate, collect more data, reduce the noise, whatever the case may be,” Bisnett observed.

He cited an example of a malware family called Catbot that was hitting a lot of businesses some months back.

“One of our threat researchers reverse engineered the malware and found that one of the things that the ransomware did when it first started was check for a very specific file on a very specific path. What they realized is that it was trying to determine if it was in a Microsoft Defender sandbox. If it was, it would do deactivate entirely because it didn’t want to be detected.

“So, we pushed out some code through our agent, pushing out this file out to every machine that we manage – all 2.4 million. And it worked; we just watched as infection rates dropped to zero,” he said.

How to Pick a Security Vendor

MSPs are often overwhelmed by dozens of partner choices at trade shows or when shopping online. Cybersecurity companies are no different, with slightly different flavors of the same basic services.

Bisnett emphasized the importance of building a community and getting crowdsourced information to make informed decisions.

The Huntress Trade Show booth

The Huntress Trade Show booth

“A lot of people try to compare features, but the differences are small and technical. The better approach is to look at it in practice. Historically, what has the

vendor done? What breaches have they experienced? How were those breaches handled?

“From there, it’s smart to talk to other people and ask them what they’re using and how it has performed. Did it ever let you down? Talk to other people in the industry and it’ll be much easier to figure out,” Bisnett said.

Become Your Kind of Leader

Initially, Bisnett didn’t have a title beyond co-founder and he was happy with that.

“I came from the background of writing software, being an engineer, and being an individual computer. That’s where I felt I could provide the most value. I want to solve problems, not manage people or deal with budgets.

“But I talked to some other people, folks in CTO roles. I said, ‘Here’s my situation. What do you think?’ The feedback I got was, ‘Be whatever kind of CTO you want to be,’” he said.

“The role should fit the person. So, I drive the technical vision and direction for where we want to go,” he concluded.

This lesson is powerful for leaders in the tech industry, he said. With IT leaders starting from all kinds of backgrounds and ending up in all kinds of places in the channel ecosystem, the best thing you can do is figure out where you bring value and deliver it.


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