DeWalt & Petraeus Join Optiv Board

Optiv Security's board now includes two more powerhouse names: Dave DeWalt and (Ret.) Gen. David Petraeus.

Denver-based Optiv Security today announced the addition of former FireEye and McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt and retired United States Army General and former CIA director David Petraeus to its board.

“The timing of General Petraeus and Dave DeWalt joining our board is not coincidental,” Optiv CEO Dan Burns told The VAR Guy. “They believe now more than ever there is a clear need to change how the world deals with what has become a serious cyber security problem.”

The appointments are the latest in a series of high-profile moves going right back to Optiv’s creation in 2015 from the merger of security solution providers Accuvant and FishNet. Since that time, the cybersecurity industry as a whole has exploded into the national consciousness, and Optiv has been busy garnering its share of headlines.

First, there was the rapid succession of acquisitions designed to expand its already substantial reach: April saw the company snap up identity and access management firm Advancive; May brought third-party risk application vendor Evantix into the fold; and Optiv swallowed New England-based Adaptive Communications in June. (The company's acquisition appetites show no signs of abating; just this March, it acquired Pennsylvania-based Comm Solutions to gain a foothold in the northeast market.)

That’s about when the IPO rumors started, which were seemingly confirmed by a November 2016 SEC filing. Weeks later, in a pretty about-face, the VAR-turned-solutions provider announced its acquisition by private equity firm KKR.

The acquisition was followed by a dizzying flurry of executive-level departures and appointments as Optiv continues to find its natural rhythm in its quest to become what Burns envisions as the “world’s most trusted, most comprehensive cyber security solutions provider.”

Today, Optiv occupies a top 10 spot in cybersecurity consulting firms with revenues that have increased by 15.5 percent to $373 million in the year following the KKR acquisition—not a bad place to be in an industry projected to reach $170 billion in the next three years.

But the new board appointments, according to Optiv executives, go beyond the company’s own aspirations. In a blog post published today, DeWald and Petraeus say that the western world is sandwiched in between Chinese military agencies stealing the intellectual property of nearly 6,000 U.S. companies and Russian intelligence organizations attacks on “hundreds of major breaches of social media platforms, news outlets, political organizations, email providers, telecommunication systems and satellite providers.”

It’s the Wild West in cyberland, according to the post, where “we live in a world without accepted cyber space rules of conduct, without trust and integrity in all our information, and without hope of peace and tranquility in the cyber domain for a long time to come.”

Though the U.S. and its allies are drastically increasing cybersecurity spend on both the public and private levels, there’s no one single pane of glass into the thousands of alerts produced each day by hundreds of cybersecurity vendors that neither share intelligence, integrate products to build truly comprehensive solutions nor cooperate when a major threat surfaces. A lack of security standards and outdated compliance requirements compound the problem.

Burns told The VAR Guy that he thinks Optiv could fill that desperate need for an impartial, comprehensive trusted cybersecurity solutions provider.

“The world needs a global trusted provider of security—a truly independent and objective security solutions company that can assist in reducing the complexity of security,” he said.


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