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10 Hot Security Startups to Watch

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

By , Network World
July 10, 2013 01:56 PM ET

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Averail Access has a cloud-based console that lets IT managers designate apps or documents for corporate use, including restricting content based on permissions to browse, search, annotate, share and upload—while leaving the user’s personal apps alone.

San Jose, Calif.-based Averail was founded in 2011 by John Drewry, whose product development  background includes stints with Cisco and 3Com, and Rahul Sharma, whose engineering background includes Microsoft and Motorola. The start-up has received $6 million from Foundation Capital and Storm Ventures.

The ongoing trend to virtualize data centers and desktops has also been a disruptive force in networking. Virtualization raises questions about whether older security technologies designed for traditional physical servers or example, is effective in a virtualized network.  One start-up, Cupertino, Calif.-based Bromium, argues new approaches to hypervisor security are needed and Bromium  leverages CPU hardware to do this.

Bromium’s vSentry code deployed at the endpoint uses Intel CPU features to automatically hardware-isolate each Windows task that accesses the Internet or untrusted documents. And its Live Attack and Visualization Analysis tool used in the security operations center automates live attack visualization. The goal of all this is to use virtualization hardware built into Intel-based devices today  to instantly create hardware-isolated micro-VMS for each end-user task.

Simon Crosby
Simon Crosby, co-founder and CTO at Bromium

“We use it for tasks running in the operating system,” says Bromium co-founder and CTO Simon Crosby. “You never know when you’re being attacked.” The moment you close the tab in your browser, though, the malware code is simply tossed away. “Any changes the attack made are thrown away,” Crosby adds.

 Crosby is a virtualization veteran. He was previously CTO (with a focus on data in the cloud) at Citrix Systems, which acquired XenSource, where he was co-founder and CTO. Bromium’s CEO, Gaurav Banga, was previously CTO and senior vice president at Phoenix Technologies. Ian Pratt, senior vice president of products, is also chairman of Xen.org, the organization leading the creation of the open source Xen hypervisor.

The company is gaining momentum, citing the New York Stock Exchange, BlackRock and ADP as Bromium technology adopters. The start-up has gotten two rounds of funding totaling $35.5 million, including from Andreessen Horowitz, Highland Capital Partners, Ignition Partners and Intel Capital.

Getting the word out to employees about the variety of compliance rules and regulations they should be following is seldom easy, nor is training them or tracking possible workplace violations. But startup Convercent in January introduced its software-as-a-service intended to do all that in an interactive way by letting businesses get the word out to employees via either PC or mobile device.

“For the new employee, it’s usable as a compliance document,” said Patrick Quinlan, CEO of Denver-based Convercent, which he co-founded with Philip Winterburn, CIO and Barclay Friesen. On the day it introduced its service, the start-up also said it had received $10.2 million in funding led by Azure Capital Partners, Mantucket Capital and City National Bank. Convercent now publicly says it has hundreds of customers, including ViaWest, Cbeyond, and medical suppliers Symbius and Owens & Minor. The Convercent SaaS supports more than 50 languages, giving it some global appeal.

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