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Skout Cybersecurity boss exploits scale at Barracuda

It has been four months since the firm was acquired by Barracuda Networks, but the founder and CEO of Skout is dreaming of painting on a broader canvas

When an acquisition is struck, the well-worn announcements include a comment from the acquirer and then a positive response from the leader of the business that has been snapped up. Often that person is then subsumed into the larger business or quietly exits after an agreed period.

But neither of those paths is the one that Aidan Kehoe, founder and CEO of Skout Cybersecurity, is taking now his business is part of Barracuda Networks.

Skout was snapped up in the summer as Barracuda looked to add more depth to its extended detection and response (XDR) offering. The technology has been delivered via MSPs and one of the other ambitions of the deal was that it would bolster the opportunities to put it in front of more channel partners.

That prospect is one that is motivating Kehoe and he is keen to flex the larger muscles that have come as part of the acquisition.

“We got acquired by Barracuda Networks in July of this year, which was super exciting for us because we get to bring our kind of platform that’s unbelievably good at integrating other products, including Barracuda’s, but also help roll out to their 5,000 network of MSPs,” he said.

“Scale is going to matter when you want to defeat the cyber problem and that was why it’s really exciting for us.

“We built a technology that basically gives an MSP a turnkey cyber security business, both with the tech stack that covers everything from email, end point, network log, all in one place. Then, 24/7 security operations centre and tremendous sales. We’ve invested a lot, because I think one of the things we realised is that the hidden reality for MSPs is that it’s really difficult to sell cyber security to their end-users, even though the problem is very acute.”

Kehoe added: “If you think of security being the ultimate utility, we wanted to deliver it to these MSPs so they didn’t have to worry about a particular off day, when they’re struggling with staff for themselves, they’re already working more than they’ve ever worked.”

Kehoe has been over from the US visiting Barracuda’s UK offices this week and shows no signs of disappearing into the background post-acquisition.

“It’s a bigger canvas to paint your picture on,” he added. “There’s a difference between selling and getting bought. So, we were very fortunate to have tremendous capital backers and partners, very fortunate to have very supportive customers. But Barracuda made a very compelling proposition around what scale was going to be.”

For Kehoe, the attraction of being able to sell in international markets was a factor, as well as a personal belief that there needs to be more collaboration between security vendors and MSPs, and this would be a way of increasing that.

“I’m very grateful every day that both our platform and our home have found a place where they can really grow and get that escape velocity growth globally – that’s what you want to see as an entrepreneur and see that scale,” he said. “We’re still at the first inning of this and I think we’ve got a ways to go before the vision really plays out.”

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