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Network World - Going into 2014, a whirlwind of security start-ups are looking to have an impact on the enterprise world. Most of these new ventures are focused on securing data in the cloud and on mobile devices. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Illumio, for example, founded earlier this year, is only hinting about what it will be doing in cloud security. But already it's the darling of Silicon Valley investors, pulling in over $42 million from backer Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, Formation 8 and others.
The cloud’s lure is easy to see. More businesses continue to adopt a wide range of cloud services -- whether software-as-service, infrastructure-as-a-service or platform-as-a-service. That means the enterprise IT department needs more visibility, monitoring and security controls for what employees are doing and evidence their data is safe. In addition, employees today increasingly use smartphones and tablets they personally own for work in “Bring Your Own Device” mode, leading to other management and security questions. When there are perceived security “gaps,” start-ups see opportunities, as the 12 firms we identify here do.
Security is increasingly delivered not as on premises software or hardware but at least partly if not wholly as a cloud-based service. Gartner is predicting security-as-a-service will grow from about $2.13 billion now to $3.17 billion in 2015.
With all of that in mind, here’s our slate of security start-ups worth watching in the near future:
Adallom is based in Menlo Park, Calif., but has its research and development roots in Israel, where its three co-founders, Assaf Rappaport, vice president of R&D Roy Reznik and CTO Ami Luttwak have backgrounds in the Israel cyber-defense forces. Adallom — a word which means “last line of defense” in Hebrew — is taking on the problem in monitoring user actions related to software-as-a-service (SaaS) usage. The firm’s proxy-based technology announced this month is offered to the enterprise either as a security service in the cloud or server-based software for on premises.
The goal is to provide real-time analysis and a clear audit trail and reporting related to SaaS-based application usage by the enterprise. The monitoring can allows options for automating or manually terminating sessions or blocking content download. Though not wholly similar, its closest competitors could be considered to be two other start-ups, SkyHigh Networks and Netskope. The venture has gotten $4.5 million in funding from Sequoia Capital.
AlephCloud hasn’t yet made its software and service called AlephCloud Content Canopy generally available, but its purpose is to provide controlled encryption and decryption of documents transmitted business-to-business via cloud-based file synchronization and sharing services such as Dropbox, SkyDrive and Amazon S3. The company was founded in 2011by CEO Jieming Zhu and CTO Roy D’Souza. Zhu says Content Canopy works by means of the “federated key management” process AlephCloud developed that can use existing enterprise public-key infrastructures used in identity management. For the end user, though, who is permitted to retrieve and decrypt the encrypted document via Dropbox or SkyDrive, it’s all transparent. AlephCloud says its “zero-knowledge” encryption process means the company never holds the private encryption key. AlephCloud will first be supporting PCs, Macs, and Apple iOS devices, and Android next year, and specific file-sharing services. Zhu says the underlying technology can be expanded further to other applications as well. AlephCloud has received $9.5 million in venture-capital funding, including $7.5 million from Handbag LLC and the remainder from angel investors.