What Rippling Will Do To HR, XDR Will Do To Security
In this tumultuous software equity market, where corporate valuations are coming back to levels based on fundamentals, one private software company stands out — Rippling. Rippling is an all-in-one HR & IT platform built from the ground up for managing everything related to employees. The key word there is everything — that is the company’s strategy: to be a single platform and displace siloed tools that manage aspects of the employee experience. Rippling just raised another $250 million at an $11.25 billion valuation, with supposedly over $100 million in annual recurring revenue, and they certainly have everyone’s attention.
What does Rippling have to do with security or XDR? Nothing directly (however, if they really solve app and device management for employees, that solves a serious corporate security issue today), but it serves as perhaps the most relevant analogy for XDR’s future. Over the last decade or two, software across all verticals has become more and more siloed, as vendors find important niches and exploit them. This has produced impressive and important companies quickly, as it is way easier to make a silo than it is a platform. However, this has left users struggling with a swamp of siloed tools to deal with, and the ultimate effect is that they may arguably be worse off just due to managing all that complexity.
Enter the platform approach. The platform approach is the antithesis of the niche, siloed software approach and instead tries to solve enormous problems end to end. Rippling, with its platform approach, is very clear about which competitors they want to displace at your organization. Those competitors span payroll to benefits to accounting to learning to IT management. Rippling’s most recent raise and their incredible customer stories show that their strategy is working. Building a platform is so much harder than building a siloed tool; a founder’s likelihood of getting to a meaningful exit is much greater by sticking to a niche. But when a company like Rippling can pull it off, they are disproportionately more valuable in the world.
XDR is on a path to deliver the same outcome to security that Rippling is delivering for HR & IT. Every security professional knows the pain of dealing with dozens of vendors, dozens of tools, and an incomprehensible pile of data with the objective of continuously reducing risk and defeating threats. While that objective sounds straightforward, executing that with status quo approaches is frankly impossible at scale. XDR’s goal is to be a unified platform for securing and defending the entirety of an organization. It builds many historically disparate security controls and analytical approaches into one platform, and then seamlessly commands and controls every other IT or security tool at an organization.
Building XDR is hard; there is no way around that. However, the market sees the opportunity of XDR, because almost every security vendor has become an XDR vendor in the last 9 months, regardless of what their actual product is (this is partially a joke but mostly true). There is a battle amongst XDR vendors where the big established players are trying to build XDR via acquisition and re-architecting their products. They are being challenged by companies that have been building XDR from the ground up from the beginning, before there was even a category. If the Rippling analogy holds, the ultimate winners will be those who architected for the vision of XDR from the beginning. That is exactly what we have been doing since our inception here at Stellar Cyber.