An Open Letter to AWS CEO Andy Jassy on Cloud Security Innovation

Friday, March 16, 2018

Brian Ahern

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Dear Andy,

Congratulations to you and the entire Amazon team on your latest quarterly results. Your team’s contribution continues to be impressive. I was particularly excited to hear that AWS’ expanding partner base continues to be an important driver of your growth.

From where I sit, your commitment and focus on fueling the ecosystem has never wavered. It once took a few hours to walk the partner expo at re:Invent and the AWS Summits; now it takes a day or more. So, every time I read a media report that says you have partners in the crosshairs, I ask myself the same question: Did I miss the memo advising all small, innovative startups that it’s time to close their doors because you’re investing in technology and companies to make AWS better and more secure?

The focus of late has been on cloud security and rightfully so. Organizations of all sizes are migrating to the cloud to take advantage of cost savings, efficiency gains, and the flexibility to scale. Of course, fraud, hacking and malware are proliferating just as quickly as the good kind of cloud technology, so security is becoming the top priority for organizations that want to stay protected while taking full advantage of the benefits of running in the cloud. 

I will always maintain my steadfast perspective that collaboration of innovators, regardless of size, is essential in helping businesses of all sizes and cyber sophistication to reduce their cyber risk.

It is true that cybersecurity startups do not have as loud a voice as AWS and other large cloud providers. Their greatest asset is the ability to innovate, attract passionate and high-intellect employees looking to do meaningful and impactful work without the bureaucracy, traditional process and politics of the larger, more established companies.

While the story of AWS being a threat to companies like ours may get a lot of clicks and shares (I can attest to this first-hand), it distracts the community from the bigger story about the magnitude of the cybersecurity challenge. The reality of the cybersecurity market is that the sophistication of the attacks and the implications of lengthy times to detect, understand and remediate put businesses of all sizes at risk.  

The role of cybersecurity providers is to provide businesses with security context as a means of reducing the “mean time to know” and accelerate actions to remediation. 

The bigger story is about how continued investments, organic or inorganic, strengthen security context for businesses of all sizes. The more security signals, the more security context; the more context, the more accelerated “mean time to know”; the faster “mean time to know,” the faster the actions to remediate security risk. 

The objective of every startup should be to provide world-class solutions that ingest security indicators that Amazon and numerous partners across the AWS ecosystem make available. This provides correlated security context and reduces business resource requirement to quickly address the growing cyber threats businesses face every day.   

We are not threatened by the actions of AWS but instead are encouraged by it. We welcome the additional security indicators you are making available through your tools and services. I strongly feel that “us vs. them” is not a vendor vs. vendor discussion. Rather, “us vs. them” is the collaboration of innovative cyber companies of all sizes “versus” those that are motivated by widespread global economic, public safety and national security disruption.

The collaboration of innovative cyber security companies is a win-win for all. We are not willing to close our doors at the “threat” of larger companies investing in the cyber market, but instead, we use it as fuel to further our passion and conviction for our defined mission.

This is what is in the best interest of our mutual customers. I encourage you to maintain your commitment to the ecosystem and for my fellow partners to work together to help customers defend and protect themselves from the increased assault on the data companies are moving to the cloud.

Best regards,

Brian Ahern

CEO & Chairman, Threat Stack

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