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Cyber training leader KnowBe4 to buy email security firm Egress

Security awareness training and phishing simulation specialist KnowBe4, the firm behind the popular Inside Man cyber training movies, has announced it is to buy UK-founded cloud email security firm Egress for an undisclosed sum.

The purchase will see KnowBe4 add Egress’s Intelligent Email Security suite – a set of scaled, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled protection tools that learn on the job to help users defend against ever more sophisticated email threats – to its own product stack, creating what it claims will be the “largest advanced AI-driven cyber security platform for managing human risk”.

It hopes that eventually, this platform will be able to dynamically aggregate threat intelligence data to offer email security and training that is automatically tailored to users relative to the risk they pose.

KnowBe4 said its customers worldwide continue to struggle to contain behavioural-based data breaches, with the last edition of Verizon’s evergreen Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) revealing that roughly 74% of breaches now contain some element of human error – whether that originates from ignorance or malice.

“The future of security is personalised AI-driven controls and real-time coaching,” said Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4 CEO. “By providing a single platform from KnowBe4 and Egress, our customers will benefit from differentiated aggregate threat detection to stay ahead of evolving cyber threats and foster a strong security culture.

“As integration partners for over a year with strong philosophical and cultural alignment, this acquisition is a natural progression for both companies to take human risk management and cloud email security to the next level,” he said.

“KnowBe4 and Egress have a shared vision of delivering tailored and relevant security to each employee,” said Egress CEO Tony Pepper. “One of the biggest challenges organisations face is accurately identifying who the next source of compromise is – and why. By combining intelligence and analytics from integrated applications, companies can gain valuable insights across their entire cyber ecosystem, allowing them to focus on the risks that matter most.”

Egress was co-founded in 2007 by Tony Pepper and colleagues Neil Larkins and John Goodyear, who first met at a data security company that was acquired by sector powerhouse Check Point. All three remain with the firm today. The trio launched their first product, an email encryption service called Egress Switch (now Egress Protect) in 2010, with early customers including a number of local authorities in London.

The firm has grown through several rounds of venture capital funding, most recently launching an AI-enhanced service called Automated Abuse Mailbox, which supposedly cuts the time security teams need to spend investigating suspicious emails by 98%.

It counts organisations across the UK public sector among its customers, including local councils, NHS bodies and fire brigades, as well as large public bodies such as the Civil Aviation Authority and The National Archives, and charities including the NSPCC and Victim Support. Private sector users include multiple law firms and financial services organisations.

The transaction is expected to close in the coming months subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals.

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