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12 hot security start-ups to watch

Ellen Messmer | Nov. 14, 2013
Going into 2014, a whirlwind of security start-ups are looking to have an impact on the enterprise world. Here's our slate of security start-ups worth watching in the near future

BitSight Technologies has a simple proposition. It's not uncommon for companies to want to try and evaluate the IT security of another business before entering into an e-commerce arrangement where networks may be interconnected in some way. BitSight, co-founded in 2011 by CTO Stephen Boyer and COO Nagarjuna Venna, has a security "rating" service to do this, though there are limits on how far it can go at this point. The BitSight approach, says vice president of marketing Sonali Shah, relies on an analysis of Internet traffic by BitSight sensors on the Internet to detect if the company's IT assets, such as computers, server or network, have been commandeered by threats such as botnets or denial-of-service attacks. But she acknowledges there's not yet a way for BitSight to determine what security issues might arise in a company's use of cloud services. Cambridge, Mass.-based BitSight has received $24 million in venture-capital funding from investors that include Menlo Ventures, Globespan Capital Partners, Commonwealth Capital and Flybridge Capital partners.

Defense.net is focusing on stopping denial-of-service attacks aimed by attackers at both enterprises and cloud service providers. Founded by its CTO Barrett Lyon, who started another anti-distributed denial-of-service firm called Prolexic in 2003, Defense.net relies on a cloud service without the need for an appliance to mitigate against large-scale DDoS assaults. Many in the industry say DDoS attacks are growing worse in scale and number. For his part, Lyon says he thinks the average DDoS attack is probably 16 times larger and "significantly more sophisticated than it was a year earlier." Defense.net has received $9.5 million in funding from Bessemer Venture Partners.

Illumio, founded by its CEO Andrew Rubin earlier this year, is still in stealth mode, maintaining a discrete silence about its intentions. But the little hints sprinkled across its website indicate the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's focus is likely to be tackling cloud-based security with an emphasis on virtualization. Illumio has brought in former VMware techies and execs. As for Rubin himself, he was formerly CEO at Cymtec Systems, a security firm providing the means for visibility, protection and control by the enterprise of Web content and mobile devices, plus a means for intrusion-detection analysis. Illumio has received more than $42 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, Formation 8 and others.

Lacoon Mobile Security has come up with a sandboxing approach to detect zero-day malware targeting Android and Apple iOS devices by means of a small lightweight agent that examines mobile applications through behavior analysis and a process tied to the Lacoon cloud gateway. The start-up was founded by CEO Michael Shaulov, vice president of research and development Ohad Bobrov, and Emanuel Avner, the CFO. The company has its R&D arm in Israel and its headquarters in San Francisco. It's backed by $8 million in venture-capital funding led by Index Ventures, plus $2.7 million in angel investing, including from Shlomo Kramer, CEO at Imperva.

 

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