IT Channel Insider - July/August 2021

IT Channel Rock Star Profile

Why Jon Murchison And Blackpoint Cyber Partnered With Robin Robins To Grow FAST

O n Memorial Day, 2021, three organizations had their automated network defenses breached. Blackpoint Cyber’s 24x7 Threat Operations Center saved them from being mass-ransomed and having their data stolen. For CEO and founder of Blackpoint Jon Murchison, an ex-NSA computer net- work operations expert, and his Threat Operations Team, it’s a typical day. The fact that Blackpoint could save them means his mission to protect his custom- ers with the fastest and most effective technology is working. “We take our mission extremely seriously,” Jon said. “It’s common for customers of most security companies to get breached on a fairly regular basis. Our active response arm knocks the bad guys out of the network, isolates boxes, and stops lateral spread in the network.” Jon’s foundation in network engineer- ing gave him the IT fundamentals for an extraordinarily successful career in the

cybersecurity work. Jon worked for the National Security Agency and later be- came a government contractor building technology and developing software. By 2014, Jon could hardly keep up with the growing demand of his govern- ment contracting company when he was injured in an unfortunate skiing acci- dent that left him recovering for many months. He’d successfully completed a diverse set of high-profile government missions over 12 years, which he jokingly describes as being the bad guy for the right team. “I was so hyper-engaged that I couldn’t grow my company more, but I couldn’t pull myself away,” Jon said. “But when I got injured, I had no choice. I thought maybe it was time I take a crack at doing defense for the commercial world. I felt that was where the real bat- tleground was in the cyber game, since in many ways offensive cyber missions is an economic weapon the bad guys use against the commercial world.” Jon sold his company and left govern- ment work to start Blackpoint Cyber. He and the team he put together spent

intelligence community and computer network operations. While in college, he developed an interest in IT and com- puter networking when his brother, Rod, who was working in the Silicon Valley tech scene, gave him three Cisco books. Playing on the Division 1 tennis team at the University of Maryland and studying marketing, he was unclear about his professional future. “I was focused on my sport, training six days a week, and didn’t know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Jon recalled. “I always liked computers. My dad worked for IBM for 27 years, so we had laptops back in the early ’90s and were dialing up the bulletin board systems before the web existed. But it was networking that intrigued me because you could build something.” Self-taught from the Cisco books, Jon became certified as a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) while still in college. Changing his focus to network engineering opened doors to intern- ships and living in Maryland gave him government opportunities which led to


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