StackPath launches to build singular system for secure internet

Always interesting to see where a well-respected tech executive lands. Softlayer's Lance Crosby has ended up at StackPath.

revolving door

Today marks the day that StackPath emerges from stealth with a promise of offering a more secure internet.

It also marks the day on which we find out what Lance Crosby, formerly the head honcho at SoftLayer, the cloud computing platform that was acquired by IBM in 2013 to form the foundation of Big Blue's public cloud offering, has been up to. Crosby is chairman and CEO of StackPath, which has become Crosby's personal vision for a frictionless and scalable security platform.

And for a company that is only emerging from stealth today, Crosby has certainly moved fast. In fact, not only is he announcing the launch of the company, he is also announcing a slew of acquisitions.

In addition to the proprietary technology built by its own team of developers, StackPath has acquired several companies to more rapidly build out its offering. It has acquired MaxCDN, a young CDN company, Fireblade, an Israeli-based company with patented cloud-based WAF technology, and Cloak, a VPN technology company. In addition to these strategic acquisitions, StackPath has secured patents for its DDoS mitigation technology.

Not only has StackPath been making technology acquisitions, it has been acquiring an impressive number of customers for such an early stage company. According to StackPath, they have over 30,000 customers ranging from Fortune 100 companies down to early stage startups.

And if buying technology companies and acquiring customers wasn't enough, Crosby has also set about building an impressive team. Key hires include Andrew Higginbotham, formerly VP of cloud at CenturyLink and Kim Sheehy, former CFO at CyrusOne.

So what is StackPath doing that is so interesting to customers and potential hires alike?

Well, some of the attraction is the obvious credibility that Crosby brings -- he was a well-respected executive who built an impressive business that, most importantly, executed a very successful exit. That in itself attracts many people, but beyond that, Stackpath's vision is timely.

While admittedly still very early, StackPath aims to build a single security platform that covers the totality of business needs. The idea is that all the different security modules will underlie an overarching machine learning engine that (hopefully) learns from each event and feeds that intelligence back into the engine. That's a lofty promise and one which leverages a number of buzzwords. There is little proof that StackPath will be able to deliver, beyond the historical credibility of Crosby, which (obviously) begs the question as to whether he can do it again. As expected, Crosby is particularly bullish about this opportunity:

“The internet is where the world does business. It may be the single most important utility supporting businesses today, yet we continue to overtax the aging infrastructure and struggle to make it secure,” said Crosby. “The StackPath platform is an integrated response to a fragmented problem created by too many individual, appliance-based, bolt-on security solutions. It's time to give businesses internet services that have security built in, not bolted on -- so they can be reliable guardians of their most precious assets.”

There is no question that Crosby is a class act, with an impressive track record. That being the case, people will be prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. But that only lasts for so long and StackPath will need to prove that it is more than a big name and some impressive buzzwords.

Expect the industry to watch this company closely and demand proof for its impressive marketing.

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