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12 must-watch security startups for 2013

Security ventures target cloud computing, mobility, malware detection, catching stealthy attackers

By , Network World
January 08, 2013 01:26 PM ET

Network World - Despite security concerns, businesses are growing more confident in adopting cloud-based services, and in addition are investing more in corporate mobile devices while also allowing employees to use their own in bring-your-own-device mode at work. So it's not surprising that recent security startups are zeroing in on things such as encrypting data held in the cloud or how to safeguard corporate data on BYOD devices. Venture-capital firms are eagerly funding these startups -- noticeable among them is Andreessen Horowitz, plowing $9.5 million into mobile-security startup Bluebox in June and $30 million into CipherCloud just last month.

RELATED: 12 hot cloud computing companies to watch

Here are the security startups we're keeping an eye on in 2013 to see what they roll out, and if they're snapped up by larger security vendors to quickly gain a foothold in cloud or mobile security. That's what happened to mobile risk-management startup Mobilisafe just three months after its debut, acquired by vulnerability-assessment firm Rapid7.

Some startups have large-scale aspirations to change the world of cloud security. Nok Nok Labs, still mainly in stealth mode, is backing the concept of a new open and flexible authentication protocol for cloud-based Web infrastructures that would be basically free but supported by the larger hardware and software vendors. ForgeRock is also an open-source advocate with its Open Identity Stack that lets enterprises and service providers centrally provision the enterprise, mobile and software-as-a-service applications. Others, though, simply contend they are building a better mousetrap for the enterprise -- as Lastline claims to do with its Previct product and service to detect malware, or TaaSERA, which formally launches at the end of the month with its behavior-based threat analysis product.

Allgress Business Risk Intelligence

Allgress

Headquarters: Livermore, Calif. 
Founded: 2008 
Funding: About $6 million, mainly from founders Jeff Bennett and Gordon Shevlin 
Leader: Gordon Shevlin, CEO

Why we're watching it: Allgress last June introduced software designed to give CISOs a view into the security and risk-compliance status of corporate networks and data resources. The company aggregates information into a "heat-map" view of where compliance is strongest or weakest. The purpose is to make good use of security-related information that's already available from scans, penetration tests and other technologies used to determine compliance with the PCI payment-card rules or healthcare regulations related to HIPAA, for example, and express it in business language that can be easily shared with CIOs and upper management. "It's about gathering the information together and helping them use what they have," according to Jeff Bennett, Allgress president and COO. The company claims to have about 40 customers, including eBay and several banks.

Fun fact: Shevlin is also co-founder and COO of another startup, Security Starfish, the company founded last year with eBay's former Chief Information Security Officer Dave Cullinane for discreetly sharing real-time cyberthreat information among IT security professionals.

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