Kevin Mandia: Why selling Mandiant made sense

February 13, 2014: 3:28 PM ET

The cybersecurity pioneer explains why merging the two top security firms was in everyone's best interest.


Kevin Mandia now serves as FireEye's COO.

FORTUNE -- Nearly one-and-a-half months ago, security software provider FireEye (FEYE) acquired Kevin Mandia's company Mandiant in a deal estimated at well over $1 billion. But already, Mandia says integration of the two businesses is nearly complete.

Mandia became a national figure last year after his firm Mandiant, which specializes in responding to computer network breaches, published a 60-page report that revealed the Chinese theft of American trade secrets. The revelation propelled Mandia and his company to the forefront of a national security firestorm.

Regardless of the attention, Mandia decided an acquisition -- or what he prefers to call a "merger" -- was in his company's best interest. "FireEye was the leader in detection, and we were the leader in 'let's-go-from-detection-to-resolution-as-fast as-possible,'" explains Mandia. "It was a way to IPO through their IPO, quite frankly. It was a way to get global overnight, and it was a way to get a sales and marketing infrastructure we lacked."

MORE: The CEO who caught the Chinese spies red-handed

Mandia now serves as FireEye's COO, overseeing the company's newly combined services businesses -- a broad swath that includes overseeing the new solutions, like the slew of products ready to launch at the RSA Conference at the end of February. According to Mandia, many of those new products will be actually projects that were in development at Mandient before the acquisition. 

Looking ahead, Mandia says FireEye's mission remains simple: get faster and better. Explains Mandia: "We're going to learn on every breach ... detect better than anything else, and we're also constantly trying to go from 'detect-to-fix' as fast as possible. Call it 'alert to fix in' under 10 minutes."

  • Cybersecurity: You can't firewall human nature

    Kevin Mandia, who uncovered Chinese hacking, describes how he stumbled onto one of the largest domestic security breaches ever.

    FORTUNE -- When 42-year-old Kevin Mandia went public last February with a 60-page report detailing the Chinese theft of American trade secrets, the move propelled his cybersecurity firm Mandiant to the forefront of a national security fire storm.

    The story of how Mandia discovered one of America's largest security breaches ever -- and MORE

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