By Kelly Jackson Higgins
December 17, 2007
eEye Digital Security has had plenty of upheaval this year, with the
sudden departure of CEO Ross Brown in April, a round of layoffs and
departures of sales and technical staff, and most recently, the quiet
exodus of co-founder and CTO Marc Maiffret. (See eEye's Two Releases 
and Maiffret Says Bye to eEye. )
But in an interview earlier today with Dark Reading, eEye CEO Kamal
Arafeh said there's nothing to the most recent speculation that Maiffret
has jumped a sinking ship. Talk of problems at eEye resurfaced last week
after Maiffret disclosed that he had left the company back in September,
and soon will launch a new non-security startup.
Arafeh says eEye's revenue has actually increased 53 percent over the
same period last year, and that it has diversified its customer base
beyond the government agencies and large corporations it first targeted
with its Retina vulnerability scanner.
"We've restructured, and we have a more agile process on the engineering
side, and roll out more products on [better] timeframes, and we have
more people testing products to make sure they are up to snuff," says
Arafeh, the former senior vice president of worldwide sales and
marketing who took over the reins after Brown left the privately held
Arafeh accepts much of the blame for the slowdown this year on the
research side of eEye. He says he had to first get up to speed in
understanding just how research could play with the company's products.
"I had to grow professionally to understand that from our customers'
perspective," he says. "We are re-emphasizing it... There's more of an
emphasis on research today than there was six months ago." Look for
eEye's vulnerability research to go more hand in hand with its products,
He says there are still some familiar faces from the company's original
research team on board, including Andre Protas, who was recently named
director of research and preview services for eEye. Arafeh was unable to
divulge any information on the number of employees or the research team,
But some security experts argue that eEye has not been in the spotlight
much over the past year in public vulnerability research like it was the
year before, or in its earlier days.
Why the delayed announcement of Maiffret's departure? Arafeh says there
was no single reason. "It was a combination of him being worried that
people would make assumptions similar to what's coming out now [and
other factors]," he says. "[People] blew it out of proportion."
Maiffret said in an interview last week that he held off on spreading
the word about his departure until the transition was complete.
Meanwhile, Arafeh says eEye's main source of revenue continues to be its
vulnerability assessment tool, Retina, which represents about 60 percent
of its business, and that the company is working on expanding into the
small- to medium-sized business market here as well. Next for eEye, he
says, are more form factors for its products and technologies, including
new services. The company also will roll out solutions in '08 that
reduce the amount of time it takes to deploy its VA and Blink endpoint
products, Arafeh hinted.
Arafeh also revealed that in the next few weeks, the company will be
moving from its home in Aliso Viejo, Calif., to a new headquarters space
on the campus of the University of California-Irvine, where companies
such as Cisco and Google also have a presence.
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