Houston's PAS, a security firm focused on industrial control systems, has raised $40 million as the company looks to expand its channel program for operational technology (OT) security.
PAS, which provides security for industrial control systems – including distributed control systems, programmable logic controllers, turbo machinery controls, and compressor control systems – wants to broaden its sales approach and involve new system integrators.
"One of the reasons for our news is to establish and expand our channel strategy," PAS CEO Eddie Habibi told CRN. "We're very aggressive about [building out a channel]. We're hopeful that by the end of the year we will have established a network of system integrators large and small."
IT will face a "cultural" challenge in understanding the requirements, lifecycles, and various brands of OT – which is why system integrators with industrial market vertical expertise will be critical in bringing cybersecurity solutions to market, said Habibi.
"We believe the channel partners play a critical role because they understand the verticals, and they have deep expertise within the facilities," he said. "They culturally understand the customer better, and they provide a reach that would be helpful for a company like ours. Especially if they have an operational technology background."
PAS received its $40 million growth investment from Tinicum, a private investment partnership focused on late stage investments in manufacturing, energy, technology and infrastructure.
Channel partners will want to tap into the industrial Internet of Things security opportunity, said Habibi: "There is an excess of $300 billion of control systems installed throughout the world," he said. "If you take just a fraction of that, just 10 percent, as the value of security spend that needs to go into the industrial sector, it’s a very large number. And a large portion of that has to be served by system integrators."
Enterprises with industrial businesses are grappling with security concerns as more of their systems become connected to the network. These aren't your run-of-the-mill IT environments.
"The thing that's unique about the industrial sector is that unlike enterprise IT, systems are not replaced on a regular basis. Some of these systems go back to the first generation of the control systems – from 1975," Habibi said. "They are proprietary, they are highly complex, and they are from multiple vendors. So understanding a common inventory of what you have becomes very difficult and a "normalized inventory" of these systems is necessary," he said.
In addition to expanding its channel go-to sales strategy, PAS said the funding round will increase research and development for its flagship software product, Cyber Integrity, which protects critical infrastructure from security risks associated with industrial IoT applications.
“Our deep expertise in control systems and production-centric approach to securing ICS give us a formidable competitive advantage," said Habibi. "The investment from Tinicum enables us to expand our security solutions portfolio, strategically increase our global reach, and continue protecting our customers from an ever-evolving threat landscape.”