A software developer never knows where the next great idea will come from. In Vince Crisler’s case, it started when he worked at the White House. Crisler, Founder and CEO of Dark Cubed, began his journey as an active-duty communications officer in the U.S. Air Force, working “on loan” as the White House’s CISO in 2007. Somewhat surprisingly, the White House didn’t have 24/7 cybersecurity monitoring at that time, and Crisler set out to find ways to secure some of the nation’s most sensitive data, implementing the White House’s first-ever security operations center.
Crisler transitioned to the Obama administration in 2009 in a civilian position with the Department of Homeland Security and supported Sandia National Laboratories in the development of cybersecurity protection programs. In this role, he was the primary author for the five-year technical vision for The Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, a $3 billion cybersecurity program within DHS. He was also a co-author of the DHS Enhanced Cyber Services (ECS) Policy Paper for the National Security Staff, which established a cybersecurity information-sharing program in preparation for Executive Order (EO) 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, and Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-21 Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience.
During his time at the White House, Crisler found that technology solutions had limitations that had to be overcome. For example, a firewall’s top priority is security, but it’s also important that it doesn’t disrupt business. Crisler adds that managing requests via a SIEM dashboard to permit traffic from necessary domains takes time and money that most companies don’t have. The challenge, therefore, is eliminating the temptation for people to cheat and go around the firewall so they could eliminate steps in their workflow but still keep data secure.
Crisler sketched out his idea, and after working to make it a reality, received the patent for Dark Cubed in August 2020.
What Dark Cubed Does
Jeff Hill, CMO, points out that Dark Cubed stands out in the field of security solutions. “People tend to put security all in one bucket,” he says. “But threat detection and response isn’t antivirus—it’s the top of the spear.”
Dark Cubed automates the process of identifying potential sources of attack and bad traffic. The system boils down complex data into an easy-to-understand scoring system and intuitive user interface.
“Manually scanning a network and identifying bad traffic is practically impossible,” Hill says, especially when managed services providers (MSPs) are managing security for multiple clients.
Dark Cubed offers automated SaaS-based threat monitoring, detection, and blocking that connects in just a few minutes to clients’ firewalls, without hardware, agents or software to install.
The system also enables users to receive alerts how they prefer, for example, via Slack, email or Syslog. You can also set thresholds, so the users aren’t interrupted by low-priority events, and you can manage network traffic with built-in tools.
Crisler often explains how Dark Cubed works by circling back to his White House experiences. “The secret service didn’t let everyone into an event then watch them to see if something bad happens. They screened people to keep bad actors out. Dark Cubed finds known bad actors and block them,” he says. “That change in thinking alone makes the process more efficient.”
“MSPs are waking up to this,” says Crisler.
A Channel Strategy for This Developer
Dark Cubed weighed options for taking its technology to market and decided the best way to benefit the most people is through a channel. “B2B is our focus,” Crisler says. “We’ve developed a solution purpose-built for the channel, and we help MSPs delivery effective security solutions.”
“Big and small MSPs reach out. Some have experience on the cybersecurity side—they have a stack and add us in,” he says. “On the other side, some of our MSPs have no experience in security, but we have partnerships with a stable of folks who are all about making them look good.”
Through those partnerships and resources, Dark Cubed can support its MSP partners by providing custom solutions, training users, and more. Crisler adds that Dark Cubed gives its channel an edge with competitive pricing. “It’s hard for MSPs to sell $2,500 in services and then convince their customers it will take another $3,000 to secure it. Dark Cubed does it affordably,” he explains.
Dark Cubed also considered IT talent shortages when designing the solution for channel success, automating tasks to save time and make protecting their clients easier for smaller staffs or technicians without formal security training.
Crisler’s advice to other developers building a channel is to make your primary focus your partners’ success. “If you’re cold and transactional, it won’t work. You can’t treat an MSP as just another number. We are a true partner—we do whatever we can do to help.”
“At the end of the day, our vision is to make MSPs lives better,” says Crisler. “We want to help them make their clients’ systems safer and more secure while doing things more efficiently.”
Visit Dark Cubed for more information on its technology, its channel program, and opportunities for partnerships with other software developers.