10 Hot Security Startups to Watch

Whether it’s mobile, cloud, virtualization or SDN, these start-ups are taking up the security challenges

With vArmour, Lian and Hsieh say they’re creating a firewall for fully virtualized network environments, including SDN. “We’re pioneering a new type of software-defined security,” Lian says. Shieh adds that traditional firewalling methods defined by physical appliances “is not sufficient” for SDN or other kinds of fully-virtualized networks.

The first vArmour firewalling product, now in beta evaluation trials with undisclosed companies, is called SDSec. It’s described as a virtual firewall appliance that can be deployed in any hypervisor environment for application-based control of subnets and other tasks. “We scale the data plane as needed,” says Lian.

The vArmour firewalling approach is intended to be “vendor agnostic” and not dependent on any vendor-specific architectures related to virtual-machine software, OpenFlow or SDN technologies, the two co-founders say.

While vArmour is not yet announcing general availability or pricing for SDSec, Lian and Shieh  voice confidence they will meet the security challenges related to the next generation of network virtualization and SDN. The start-up has received about $8 million in venture-capital funding from Highland Capital Partners.

Our final start-up, Watchful Software, is seeking to revitalize the technology known as digital rights management by expanding it beyond traditional platforms like Microsoft Windows PCs into mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone.

The company’s RightsWatch product that came out in March builds on top of Microsoft’s Active Directory Rights Management Services technology but extends it to non-Microsoft platforms and makes it easier to use, says CEO Charles Foley. He founded the Medford, N.J.-based company along with Bernardo Patrao and Rui Biscaia as a spin-out from Citadel Software based in Portugal. The start-up has disclosed $1 million in venture-capital funding from Critical Ventures.

RightsWatch is a way to determine and set restrictions on access to documents through various means. These include key words that can be used to enforce a kind of data-loss prevention method. “When information is created, it’s classified,” Foley says. One example of how this would work is only authorized users could gain control to encrypted documents.

Watchful Software also has a security product called TypeWatch, biometric technology intended to monitor how users type on a keyboard to determine identity. Used for security access to systems and applications, it can monitor typing behavior to determine if somehow the authorized user is not actually typing at the keyboard, alerting the IT security manager.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: emessmer@nww.com

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