Spencer Ingram, Newly Appointed SVP of Operations, Trustwave: XDR Is the Present and Future

As a managed security services provider (MSSP), you are expected to be right all of the time. A malicious attacker only has to be right once to successfully break into an organization's environment. This means that having world-class operations with rich, timely threat intelligence is absolutely critical to the success of a top MSSP.


Trustwave recently appointed former IBM and Secureworks leader Spencer Ingram as its SVP of Operations to continue to elevate the company's leading managed security services.


We spoke with Spencer to discuss how he plans to drive the Trustwave MSS team to continue to evolve with the needs of customers and the market to combat the new advanced threat landscape.

Congratulations on joining Trustwave. Can you tell us a little about your background?


I previously served in MSS leadership positions at IBM and Secureworks, where I led global teams across client on-boarding, security engineering, operations, security information and event management (SIEM), client success, and service desk and vulnerability management to provide service delivery to thousands of global clients, representing hundreds of millions in annualized subscription revenue. At Secureworks, I drove the significant expansion of gross margin and served as the key operational delivery lead during the company's initial public offering (IPO).


I am passionate about building a winning team culture and optimizing MSS processes and procedures so Trustwave can provide the very best protection for its clients across the globe.

On the personal side, I am an active video game competitor, saltwater fisherman, scuba diver and avid book reader. I especially enjoy novels focused on the U.S. Revolutionary War. My wife, an elementary school teacher, and I are coming up on our 25th wedding anniversary. We have two children. Our son recently graduated university this spring with a degree in cybersecurity, and he is now pursuing his Master's in Cybersecurity. Our daughter graduated last spring with a degree in marketing.



What made you interested in becoming a leader at Trustwave?


I have seen Trustwave elevate its capabilities and raise its position in critical industry analyst reports like the Forrester Wave for Global Managed Security Services Providers and the new Forrester Wave for Managed Detection and Response (MDR) over the years.


Even while I worked at competing vendors, I told my colleagues to pay attention to Trustwave. Trustwave has a robust set of capabilities and offers something to protect against every stage of the life cycle of a cyberattack. In addition, Trustwave is well-known as a top-tier managed security services provider with a very high reputation amongst clients.

I saw Trustwave's major investments in its cloud-native Fusion platform as a strong step in the company's evolution.


By combining the cloud-native Trustwave Fusion XDR platform and top security talent from Trustwave SpiderLabs, Trustwave is able to give governments, SMBs and enterprises world-class security threat detection and response grounded in award-winning threat intelligence, all under a comprehensive security operations system that can ingest pertinent data from multiple cyber solutions and the cloud.


How do you see the cybersecurity landscape evolving in the next 1-2 years? How does XDR fit into that evolution?


I believe we are going to see the continued convergence of data from the cyber solution players. If you look at how large cyber vendors are positioning themselves, many are beginning to offer a complete solution stack using their technology. If you use their complete stack, they claim you get the most insights into threats and attacks on your environments. The issue is not every company wants or needs the complete stack and instead opts to mix and match solutions from multiple best-of-breed vendors. According to the Gartner 2020 CISO Effectiveness Survey, the research firm found that 78 percent of CISOs have 16 or more tools in their cybersecurity vendor portfolio, with 12 percent of CISOs having 46 or more tools (Top Security and Risk Management Trends 2021; March 30, 2021; by Peter Firstbrook, Zaira Pirzada).


This approach comes with some challenges. With multiple solutions at play, MSSPs can become a noisy alert factory. But the good ones shouldn't be. Working in close partnership with your MSSP, service providers who leverage XDR platforms can execute a more seamless, orchestrated response against a perceived threat through defined playbooks. As an XDR platform pulls in more data from the cloud, endpoint, SEIM, UEBA, etc., it can get a more complete picture of an organization's security posture.


With the power of XDR, MSSPs can enable their clients to focus on high-value alerts and threat analysis, reducing noise and aiming to lower detection and response times. And by taking this data into account, the MSSP team can drastically reduce the probability that it is going to take a response that will impact business operations or functionality.


Simply put, XDR makes proactive cybersecurity more accurate, more precise and gives organizations more visibility into their security posture – all critical for successfully defending against this new wave of advanced threats we're faced with.


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