New chapter opens for ZoneFox after US acquisition

Date posted

24 October 2018


A company which grew out of Edinburgh Napier PhD research has been taken over by a California-based cybersecurity giant.

It was announced yesterday that Edinburgh-based ZoneFox, which specialises in cloud-based insider threat detection, has become part of the Fortinet empire.

ZoneFox, which spun out from Edinburgh Napier in 2009, grew out of the PhD work of digital forensics student Jamie Graves and his research supervisor Professor Bill Buchanan, from the university’s School of Computing.

Portrait of Jamie Graves

The two were unhappy with the tools available for investigating data breaches, and teamed up to launch an information security software company with the support of Scottish Enterprise.

The ZoneFox product protects business assets from malicious and accidental threats from within a company by monitoring employee behaviour and data flow for abnormal activity.

ZoneFox is used by clients to protect intellectual property by monitoring users in real time for breaches of company policy as well as providing forensic tracking for auditing and investigation.

Dr Graves, founder and chief executive of ZoneFox, said he was delighted to join the Fortinet team.

"The acquisition encompasses both our technology and team – which will enable our employees to thrive as part of the Fortinet family, whilst accelerating the route to global markets for our cutting-edge UEBA technology.”

He added: “ZoneFox will always have its roots in Scotland and will remain part of the local Scottish Security community to both access and develop talent. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us on the journey so far; Scottish Enterprise, Edinburgh Napier University, our seed and investors Archangels, mentors, customers, colleagues, friends, and family."

Professor Bill Buchanan

Edinburgh Napier’s Professor Bill Buchanan said: “As a spinout from our School of Computing, Jamie has managed to push forward and has developed a world-leading security product.

“Their success also highlights the strength of the innovation infrastructure within Scotland, and especially in Edinburgh. The ready supply of experts in key areas of cyber security and in business development has showcased the city as being a leader in supporting the development of technology-driven businesses.”

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “This is a perfect example of the difference Edinburgh Napier University makes to our communities and the impact our Schools’ research collaborations can have on wider society.

“It is applied and practical evidence of how as a University we can help shape businesses to face the needs of industry both today and in the future.”

Ken Xie, founder, chairman and executive officer of Fortinet, said: “By combining ZoneFox’s cloud-based threat-hunting technology with Fortinet’s existing endpoint and SIEM security offerings, we are well positioned to provide our customers with an integrated approach to defend against insider threats, eliminate network blind spots and protect today’s expanding attack surface with automation and machine learning.”

School of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment

According to the Research Excellence Framework in 2021, we are the number one Scottish Modern University for research in Computer Science & Informatics, Engineering and for Architecture, Built Environment and Planning.