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IS Public cloud security remains MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

5 cloud security companies to watch

By Christine Burns, Network World
October 10, 2011 12:06 AM ET

Network World - Security is one of the major impediments to enterprises moving their resources into the cloud. So, it's not surprising that numerous cloud security companies are springing up, attempting to address specific cloud security issues, like protecting virtual machines or encrypting data in motion.

Here are five up-and-coming companies - some still in stealth mode - that hold a great deal of promise.

1. Bromium

Headquarters: Cupertino, Calif., and Cambridge, U.K.

What it offers: Still in stealth mode, but founders have hinted they are building a product that uses virtualization to help secure all types of endpoints. 

How much it costs: No pricing available at this time.

Who heads the company? Its founders are Gaurav Banga, the former CTO of Phoenix Technologies; Simon Crosby, the former CTO of the Data Center and Cloud Division of Citrix; and Ian Pratt, the current chairman of and another Citrix veteran.

Why we're watching the company: Crosby is one of the more outspoken proponents of public cloud computing. He contends the security threats to cloud computing don't grow out of inherent holes in the cloud, but rather stem from unprotected clients, like the ones enterprise users are adding to corporate networks at alarming rates. While the company - which picked up $9.2 million in venture capital money early last summer -- won't be divulging product details until later this fall, Crosby has gone on record as saying that the primary benefit of virtualization will be security. It will be a neat trick if they can pull it off.

2. CipherCloud

Headquarters: Cupertino, Calif.

What it offers: Cloud data encryption and tokenization.

How much it costs: $20 per user per month

Who heads the company? Pravin Kothari is founder and CEO. Prior to starting up CipherCloud, Kothari was founder, CTO and interim-CEO of Agiliance, a GRC software company and was co-founder and vice president of engineering of ArcSight, a security and compliance vendor.

Why we're watching the company: CipherCloud is attempting to take on encryption and tokenization in a way that protects both data at rest and in motion, has low performance overhead for SaaS applications, and does not require enterprise customers to hand over control of encryption keys to their cloud service providers.

According to Kothari, the CipherCloud gateway is a lightweight software appliance that encrypts and decrypts data and attachments as they pass through it. It does so in real-time without loss of performance, format or functionality of the application.

"Our gateway is designed as a stateless solution. This, along with our high-performing encryption algorithms, ensures near-zero impact on the performance," Kothari says. In fact, in certain configurations where CipherCloud has switched on static caching, Kothari says they have seen improvements in performance with its gateway in the middle.

3. Cloud Passage

Headquarters: San Francisco

What it offers: Halo SVM and Halo Firewall SaaS products, both of which aim to lock down virtual servers.

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