January 24, 2020

Why I Wrote a Book About Our Industry

Security Yearbook 2020 is the culmination of my 20 years as an industry analyst covering the IT security space. Even before joining Gartner in 2000 I had many opportunities to work with the pioneers of this space. When I worked at Netrex, one of the first MSSPs,  I met Shlomo Kramer and Gil Shwed, two of the founders of Check Point  Software Technologies, the first commercial success in the firewall space. I also worked with Tom Noonan and Chris Klaus, founders of ISS.  They eventually acquired Netrex after I had moved on to  PricewaterhouseCoopers and then Gartner.

When I left Gartner I joined Webroot Software. After my 12 month non-compete with Gartner expired I launched an independent industry analyst firm.  The goal was to be data driven. This meant collecting and estimating  revenue for every vendor in the space.

I have assembled a complete list of all the vendors four separate times, the last time in 2016. This time I have developed a repeatable process and I have categorized 2,337 vendors. I use my database every day. But how to expose that data? I tried launching a subscription service in 2006 but nobody used it. Why not publish it as a printed directory?  That was the beginning of the idea for Security Yearbook.

Last year I was signing copies of Secure Cloud Transformation in the Zscaler booth at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. It was so much fun to meet hundreds of people anxious  to get my book that I decided I needed to do this the following year  too. I would need a new book.

As I wandered the booths at the conference I met so many people who were just getting into the space I felt very  old. There are so many stories of what went before to tell. That's when  the idea for Security Yearbook 2020 hit me. I would write a history of the industry. Not a history of cyber attacks, I have written two of those (Surviving Cyberwar and There Will be Cyberwar), but a history of the pioneers that built this industry.

So Security Yearbook 2020 is both a history and directory of the industry. Each vendor is listed  by country and category. In the US they are listed by state. We are tracking the number of employees for each company so you can judge its size.

And of course the title begs the question: Will there be a Security Yearbook 2021? Yes! Each year it will be updated with the important events: M&A, new launches, which sectors are growing, which are shrinking, and which companies failed and went out of business?

Let me know your ideas for new sections in the book.  Should I include a Who's Who? Maps of major concentrations of vendors (Bay Area, Tel Aviv, Washington DC)? No idea too crazy!

Screen shot from the beta industry explorer tool