Expel, a managed security service (MSS) provider to which companies can outsource their cybersecurity, raised $ 50 million in a Series D financing round led by Alphabet’s CapitalG. The increase is due to reports that cyber attacks increased by a third or more during the COVID 19 crisis, with bad actors benefiting from the number of employees working remotely on insecure networks.
While countless security platforms already promise to identify network threats, protect endpoints, and secure clouds, Expel is essentially in the middle and integrated with existing cyber security tools from companies like Splunk and Darktrace to make them work more effectively.
Expel is a so-called “Security Operations Center-as-a-Service”
CapitalG’s general partner, Gene Frantz, who joins Expel’s board of directors on the investment, said companies are facing an “inexhaustible supply of bad actors,” and wading through the flood of alerts that create security tools requires a degree of human touch Intervention. Expel wants to address this by helping companies scale their cybersecurity operations without worrying about hiring talent for cybersecurity.
Much has been written about the cybersecurity skills gap. A recent study by (ISC) ² deals with the cyber security workforce in 11 markets. The report found that 2.8 million people are currently working in cybersecurity functions, another 4 million are needed – a third more than in the previous year. While AI and automation can play a role in closing this gap, companies like Expel promise a fully-equipped security operations center supported by a combination of technology and human security analysts.
Expel had previously raised nearly $ 68 million, including a $ 40 million round less than a year ago. With another $ 50 million in the bank, the company plans to invest in sales and marketing, expand worldwide, and double its cloud security offering on public cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Other investors in the round are the existing supporters Battery Ventures, Greycroft, Index Ventures, the Paladin Capital Group and Scale Venture Partners.
The global cybersecurity market was set at $ 119 billion in 2018, a number that is expected to more than double in four years. While there is a general feeling that demand for cyber security should continue to grow due to the impact of COVID-19, a Research and Markets report released today suggests that the pandemic could actually slow the sector’s growth due to reduced budgets.
The MSS segment was reportedly worth $ 25 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to nearly $ 50 billion in the coming years.
An Expel spokesman said that while the company hasn’t seen a significant surge in demand that correlates directly with COVID-19, it believes the cybersecurity market will remain strong in the coming years. With well-known financiers like CapitalG on board, investors clearly believe that managed security services could be in even greater demand in the future. As further evidence, Expels rival Arctic Wolf completed new funding of $ 60 million a few months ago.