News today from Indegy that it has closed a $12 million Series A funding round led by Vertex Ventures Israel with participation from Silicon Valley-based Aspect Ventures, SBI Holdings of Japan, as well as previous investors Shlomo Kramer and Magma Venture Partners. This round takes total funding for this little-known company to some $18 million.
Indegy is in the business of protecting industrial control systems (ICS). ICS may not sound sexy, but before the Internet of Things (IoT), huge industrial processes and infrastructures were controlled, monitored and maintained by large ICS networks. Unlike IoT, which tends to work on the public internet, ICS generally runs on private networks and is hence less visible to the general public. And while everyone fixates on the latest iPhone or hot dating app, they remain blissfully aware of what controls their power systems, water and sewerage systems, and large HVAC installs.
General consumers may be oblivious to the fact, but bad characters, unfortunately, are not—and neither are the people running the companies involved in ICS. According to a recent report by accounting and consulting firm BDO USA, nine of 10 (92 percent) manufacturers surveyed cited cyber security concerns in their U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosures in 2016.
Protecting ICS from cyber attacks and operational mistakes
This is where Indegy comes in. The company's platform secures ICS used across all critical infrastructure sectors. The Indegy platform is natively designed for ICS networks and provides visibility and control to ensure operational safety and protection against cyber attacks, malicious insiders and operational mistakes. In practice, Indegy monitors all ICS network activity with a focus on proprietary (and hence tempting to hackers) control-layer protocols, and it detects industrial control configuration changes in real time.
Like other security products in different spheres, Indegy has a singular vision. Its is to enable ICS engineers and security staff to quickly pinpoint the source of problems and effectively respond to prevent operational disruptions and physical damage.
It should come as no surprise that Indegy has its origins in Israel. Israel is almost uniquely positioned at the crossroads of physical and virtual attackers, and it has built a massive amount of subject mater expertise in the general cyber security fireld. Indeed, many of the companies in the space—both startups and larger vendors—can trace their origins back to Unit 8200, the Israeli Defense Force's crack cyber warfare unit.
Mirroring the risk that this nation faces, and reflecting on the opportunity for Indegy to protect industrial companies against that risk, is one of Indegy's founders, Aviad Ariel, general partner of Vertex Ventures:
“Industrial infrastructures are the next battleground in the cybersecurity war,” he said. “Indegy has developed a unique approach for protecting critical infrastructures that provides much-needed visibility and control. We were really impressed with the technology and management team.”
A huge number of players are trying to protect against industrial hacking, and Indegy joins a busy space. It will be interesting to see how they leverage their expertize, their early customers and their newfound cash to grow their business.
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