Skip Glass is an expert on change. He’s been a marketing VP for Sybase, a senior VP at Netscape, CEO of a startup, and an angel investor – and that’s just part of his resume. We asked Glass, 47, now a venture partner at Canaan Partners, where he sees the next big change coming.
“I think there’s going to be a variety of mergers that will take place in the security area,” he says. “A lot of money has been spent, and I’m not sure that that wave isn’t beyond us. I think it makes sense for intrusion detection and firewall to really become integrated as products. We’ll see a whole lot more of that take place.”
The way Glass sees it, companies that are logging and aggregating raw data from events will want to join forces with companies that have the ability to query against that massive amount of information. Today’s competitive market, he says, isn’t satisfied with simply storing the aggregate information. Security services providers are going to have to be able to query that information for security breaches.
Glass also thinks that security testing will become less disruptive. “You’re going to see more behind-the-scenes response to do vulnerability assessment without disrupting the networks. Then I think we’ll see patch management and desktop management merge and we’ll see a big movement towards policy-based management.”
But consolidation won’t happen across the board. Some aspects of database management will remain de-centralized. “What I don’t think we’ll get is the emergence of an all-in-one coming together in one device,” he says. “There are reasons why there are specialized high-speed embedded databases. There are reasons why there are object relational databases.”
Glass believes that we’re at the beginning of a wave of open systems and that the database world is becoming an open model for open databases. He recently took a board seat and led Canaan’s investment in Groundworks, a provider of enterprise class support and enterprise class systems.
Another sector Glass feels passionate about is business process outsourcing (BPO), the profitable yet politically perilous practice of sending processing jobs overseas. “There are whole portions of industries where it doesn’t make sense for people to be building and supporting their own proprietary system,” he says. He became familiar with the BPO space working with companies like Exigen, a Lightspeed investment. “There are plenty of models to look at, big companies that have been very successful in doing that.”
He doesn’t limit the BPO opportunity to India and China, however, and is quick to point out the similar savings can be found by sending processing work to parts of the United States with lower costs of living.
While Glass has praise for the rest of the Canaan team and plans to stay awhile, he doesn’t rule out another tour of duty behind the CEO desk. “At some point in the future I probably will [return as a CEO]. Maybe in another five years or maybe in another 10 years. I think it’s kind of fun to have a combination of the two.”