Digital forensics company lands strategic investments

Incident-response forensics company Mandiant has received strategic investments from two separate investment firms with the aim of expanding the company's field staff that responds to security breaches as well as investing more in research and development.

The company, which is privately held, received the investments from One Equity Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers.

Mandiant won't say how much the investments represent, but they have gleaned for the investors two seats on the company board of directors, Tec Schlein of KPCB and A. Jody Gessow of One Equity Partners.

Mandiant does say that the investment does not represent a controlling interest.

Mandiant's recently appointed CTO Dave Merkel says the company has been hiring consistently over the past few years but needs more staff to keep pace with customer demand for its incident-response services. "There are times when we will turn work away. If we can't actively work an incident we have to let them find a different solution," Merkel says.

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He says that in his new role he will focus on protecting more endpoints, particularly mobile devices such as tablets and to a lesser extent smartphones. Endpoint protection and analysis tools are important because endpoints can harbor latent malware that can be activated after a business has discovered other devices involved in a breach.

Response teams need to be able to find all points of compromise, he says. "This becomes more and more urgent as workforces become more and more mobile," he says.

This means support of Apple devices, which so far have not been exploited widely. "We have not responded to issues where their devices have been the center of compromise," he says.

He says Mandiant is making investments now in producing endpoint products for more platforms, with an eye toward making them as flexible as possible. "Without active attacks to look at it's difficult to figure what forensics we will need," he says. "The key is flexibility."

In addition to managed services, professional services and full-touch consulting, the company sells Mandiant Intelligent Response software that businesses can buy and use themselves to investigate breaches. The platform was recently updated with user interfaces designed to make it simpler to use for internal corporate security teams.

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