In response to the mind-numbing, never-ending reports of data breaches in the news, I am seeing a distinct move to data encryption as the latest best hope for information security. While encryption is certainly not new and is far from a panacea, the notion that my data is protected even if I am breached or compromised is appealing to many.
Two companies I have spoken with recently are riding this wave in raising VC money and gathering big-name clients. While both are in the encrypted data market and both have Israeli roots, they are actually not very competitive with each other. They play in different areas of the encryption game.
The first company is Secure Islands. Founded by brothers Aki and Yuval Eldar, two veterans of the Israeli tech scene, Secure Islands has a patented and patent-pending group of technologies that make up IQProtector. IQProtector offers Data Immunization, which in the Secure Islands view includes three logical stages:
- Interception: Interceptors throughout the organization catch data as it is created or enters the organization, and submit it for classification.
- Classification: The data is intelligently analyzed by multiple configurable criteria, including content, usage, data type, user, and source, and tagged according to a configurable policy.
- Protection: According to policy, IQProtector protects the data by embedding in it encryption and usage rights, and determines whether to allow access to the data or not.
In my conversation with CEO Aki Eldar, he told me that what Secure Islands does not waste cycles on is coming up with their own encryption algorithms. Instead, they rely on the industry-standard Microsoft RMS. This allowed the company to come to market much faster and already using a standard-based encryption formula.
Secure Islands has seen real traction in the finance and healthcare industries. In fact, CreditSuisse is not only a customer, but a strategic investor in the company. With the recent hire of an EVP of Sales based here in the U.S., Secure Islands is making a bigger push into the U.S. market now as well.
With a strong customer base and working capital, Secure Islands could be in the right place with the right technology at the right time to ride the encryption wave to the top of the market.
The other encryption company I have recently been briefed by is Vaultive. Vaultive uses its unique technology to allow users to retain total control over their data even when it is in a third-party environment, such as a cloud provider. No one, including third-party governments, can access your data, as you retain singular control over it. This is a big help with compliance as well, where data privacy is a key component.
Another unique feature of the Vaultive product is its ability for data encryption in use. Most data encryption is based on encryption in transit or encryption at rest. But encrypting while the data is being used adds an additional element of security.
The Vaultive technology is sold as a service that you can subscribe to for popular third-party apps, like Microsoft Office 365, Box, and Yammer. This SaaS model is perfect in a world where we are storing more and more of our data off premises in third-party clouds.
Both of these companies represent another take on protecting us from the seemingly inevitable data breaches that we read about daily. This approach could be a real winner for the security industry and all of us.