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What's in a Name?

NEWS / 02.13.13 / Stuart McClure

So what's in a name? Well a ton if you are a startup. With little brand recognition or brand association, the name of a new emerging company is a critical step. The name creates an identity, a meaning, and a soul. The name needs to differentiate the company. The name needs to positively identify your values, mission and vision all in one expression. If you don't provide those associations to the audience, you risk pigeon-holing yourself, or worse, creating confusion and eventually disassociations to your goal.

When we sat together in those early days, we recognized the importance of a name. And we took our job seriously. How do we present our soul in a single word or concept? We thought it would take weeks and months to come up with the best answer. But we didn't have to hire an expensive branding company or global PR firm. Instead we came together in the matter of a couple of days and, as a family and team, immediately identified with the word "Cylance".


Pronounced "sigh-luns" as in "quiet" or without sound.

Probably half of the people we talk to pronounce the name "Sigh Lance". Outside of the immediate concern about confusing us with Lance Armstrong and all of his turbulence, we realize people are thinking "Cyber Lance", as in the weapon (lance) meaning "to strike". It may be a surprise but we don't discourage this pronunciation, we embrace it. What better image could we provide for people than one that strikes back at the attacker?

Few people would argue that the balance of power must return to the defenders. Today we have NO deterrence for the attacker. No pause for them to think "should we do this?" And that is exactly what they need. Something to give them pause or a second thought. We are almost bound to provide some sting to their attacks. We must provide deterrence.

Today, the balance dramatically favors the attacker. We have to shift the balance.

The global threat formula works something like this: Ability + Motivation + Opportunity = Risk. We all know the Ability of the bad guys is improving every day at almost a geometric rate, with Metasploit and exploit kits like Nuclear (Russian) and Blackhole (Russian) rampant in the attacker's arsenal. Motivation is at an all-time high with few regulations and laws combined with a severe lack of enforcement globally. And finally, Opportunity is growing at an exponential rate with predictions of 50B devices connected by 2020 with endless security design flaws and vulnerabilities to go around.

We have to change the game to affect the hacker. We have to start from scratch and change the rules. We cannot rely on the error of our past to dictate the security of our future. We need to give up the signature based approach of our failures and look to new, innovative and algorithmic approaches to security that definitively guide our decisions around good and bad. We need a holistic approach to security that values Prevention over Response. We HAVE to make a difference.

Cyber Vigilance

In an almost surreal flash of logic and harmony, we had an epiphany, the name "Cylance". After all, real security calls for continuous cyber vigilance. We as defenders must be forever vigilant, forever awake, forever alert because the actors, their tools, techniques, and tactics are forever evolving, shifting and adjusting to constantly bypass the foundationally broken industry we call security. We spend billions monitoring, detecting, responding and cleaning up after an attack that we've forgotten how to prevent. We have devalued the effort and exertion of prevention, and for this we feel responsible.

We spent the better part of the last 25 years, and 7 editions of Hacking Exposed, trying to demystify protection and prevention but we have honestly failed you. We have beaten our heads into the wall trying to get security operations to listen and respond to the discoveries of security. We've seen countless SANS Prevention infographic posters turn into hackneyed Response posters surrendering any hope of prevention.

But Cylance was created to shake things up and do just that. We are here to announce that PREVENTION is not only "possible" but trivial. Cylance is so much more than Response, more than Forensics, more than Reaction.

Cylance is about providing eternal cyber vigilance to protect and empower those who cannot protect themselves, simply and invisibly. And make a difference.

Stuart McClure

About Stuart McClure

CEO, President, and Founder of Cylance

Stuart leads Cylance® as its CEO for the first math based approach to threat detection, protection and response. Prior to Cylance, Stuart was EVP, Global CTO and General Manager at McAfee/Intel. Stuart is the creator and lead-author of the most successful security book of all time, Hacking Exposed. He is widely recognized for his extensive and in-depth knowledge of security, and is one of the industry's leading authorities in information security today.