Reg comments29

Everything's fine, says Cylance, as workers given the boot

Antivirus vendor

Updated Prominent next-gen antivirus vendor Cylance has confirmed a wide-ranging restructure involving job cuts.

In response to queries based on an anonymous tip to El Reg on Tuesday that several workers had been shown the door, Cylance confirmed it was restructuring its business without commenting on the job cut numbers that were the focus of our question*.

Yes, the company did realign some resources to balance skill sets and focus on our strongest growth areas. Given the rapid growth over the past few years we had to move some resources and redeploy in other areas and this will enable us to continue expanding product lines and customer base globally.

The statement followed an earlier response that painted a rosy picture of Cylance's business performance.

Cylance has experienced unprecedented growth and each fiscal year we have realigned our resources to support our strategic direction. These changes are a normal part of balancing business needs and company capabilities that we carry out each year. Our focus remains on our customers and removing legacy antivirus and weak protection layers to protect the world from cyber attacks. Cylance is on pace to more than double revenues year over year in FY17.

Cylance was founded in 2012 and aims to differentiate itself in the crowded anti-malware market by emphasising its use of machine learning techniques.

The firm closed a $100 million Series D funding round last June. Insight Venture Partners and funds managed by Blackstone Tactical Opportunities led the round. Cylance counts Dell Ventures as an investor and Dell Inc as a technology partner.

The firm boasted 425 employees as well as more than 1,000 customers, including 50 of the Fortune 500, at the time, as well as worldwide launches. Cylance was positioned as a visionary in the 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms.

Reg comment

It sounds very impressive. And at Black Hat and other tech conferences, we have seen Cylance's booth drawing in the sysadmin and CISO crowd for cut-down demos of its technology (the full fat Cylance Unbelievable presentations to media last a bladder-challenging two hours plus). Potential customers are interested in the ability of the technology to offer a much smaller footprint and greater agility in defending against new threats compared with competitors such as Symantec and McAfee.

But significant false positives appear to be a fly in the ointment. Cylance is said to flag up everything from software deployment packages to Office365 automatic updates as potentially malign, although it contests this claim (PDF).

Resolving this might involve whitelisting and other measures, we are told, contrary to claims of easy deployment. This issue may explain why pilot programs in Fortune 500 firms are not graduating to prime time at the rate Cylance's investors would hope for.

This could be a teething problem but it shows yet again that the computer malware problem is a tough nut to crack, despite frequent and long-standing marketing claims to the contrary. ®

Updated: * Cylance has since contacted The Reg to let us know that the job cuts affected 4 per cent of its workforce.

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