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As our cyber security event is approaching, we wanted to get some perspectives on why this topic is so relevant nowadays. AVP’s General Partner, Alex Scherbakovsky, shares his insights about the importance of combating this risk, and how innovation and technology play a key role in this…

Alex Scherbakovsky,
General Partner, AXA Venture Partners

Knowing the increasing rate of cyber-attacks, what are some of the reasons leading AXA Venture Partners to invest in this industry?

Cyber security has been an important sector for a number of years as enterprises place significant value on protecting their assets against cyber threats. Likewise, consumers also realize the importance of securing their data and are willing to pay to do so. As technology plays an increasingly greater role in our lives and as the quantum and variety of devices we use to access our electronic information proliferates, we are becoming more and more vulnerable to digital exploits. At the same time, hackers are getting more sophisticated, often conducting their work as part of well-funded organizations, sometimes even backed by nation-states. These trends place an even greater importance on availability of effective cyber security solutions, creating opportunities for innovative technology companies such as ones in which we invest at AVP.

What would you describe as the key point of differentiation for the companies we are investing in for this domain?

Security is a rapidly evolving space, as sophisticated hackers evolve their attack expertise, which requires new methods of cyber security to address those threats. As such, cyber security companies need to differentiate on the efficacy of their technology. Technology needs to be very effective at identifying potential threats while minimizing false positives (events flagged as threats that are actually benign). At the same time, technology needs to be widely adopted to be effective, so ease of deployment and ease of use are important as well. Furthermore, customers must be able to understand the value they are deriving from this security technology, so clear reporting and/or integration with other solutions that allow for benefit to be apparent to the customer also need to be considered.

Cyber security is nowadays a trillion-dollar industry. How do you think companies fighting this can keep up?

Cyber criminals are getting more sophisticated, which presents a challenge to cyber security companies. To combat ever-evolving security threats, companies must innovate. This innovation requires capital and partners who can help companies navigate the complexities of the crowded cyber security landscape. We at AVP are proud that leading cyber security companies such as Contrast Security and SecurityScorecard are choosing to partner with us.

What are the most important challenges in the near future for cybersecurity, and what should be the priorities?

The diversity of threats as well as rapid growth of our digital footprint has led to a proliferation of cyber security point solutions. Many enterprises are overwhelmed by the complexity of working with a large number of security vendors that often don’t communicate with other parts of their technology infrastructure. One of the important challenges for cyber security vendors is to find ways to integrate their solutions into their customers’ existing IT systems so that security solutions become easy to use and the information they provide about potential threats is actionable.