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10 hot security startups to watch

Ellen Messmer | July 11, 2013
Whether it's mobile, cloud, virtualization or SDN, these start-ups are taking up the security challenges.

Tablets and smartphones, which employees are bringing into work in "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) style, are leading IT managers to ask security questions, starting with whether they should sort out corporate mobile apps and data from personal ones. It's all encouraged a spate of security start-ups to come up with their own answers, and highlighted here are a few that have recently hung out a shingle for mobile security. But it's not just mobile spurring the creation of young security firms out to change the world.

Many have fresh ideas on how to prevent stealthy attacks aimed at stealing sensitive information, or how to provide security for virtualized networks or software-defined networking (SDN). Gartner analyst Greg Young has pointed out that security around SDN in particular is still an open field--not necessarily a good thing for security managers who might be faced with securing SDN in a few years.

In alphabetical order, here's the start-up lineup to watch:

What Armor5 has come up with is a cloud-based security and management service for mobile devices introduced in April that works without needing client-based software. The Armor5 CloudSpace service requires enterprise customers to move VPN and other server connections into the cloud. The end effect is that any mobile device with a browser can gain access to restricted corporate data but "we won't let the data stay resident on the mobile device," says its company CEO, Suresh Balasubramanian.

By way of another example of how CloudSpace works, an individual could make use of the service to fill out forms, but the minute he tried to download data, it would be blocked.

The technology is basically a "virtual browser in the cloud," says Balasubramanian. A secure container is created and the service can be set up to track file usage and other metrics, making use of the Active Directory policy engine as well for authentication or other purposes. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has had some early adopters testing it out, including CPP, the firm whose organizational management products include the well-known Briggs-Myers tests. Keith Phillips, chief information officer at CPP, has said one appeal of Armor5's approach is that it's agentless and easy to set up.

Armor5 was founded in March 2012 by Sunil Agrawal, CTO , and Naveen Ramaiah, vice president of engineering. The start-up has received approximately $2 million from Trinity Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners and a fund Citrix has for startups called the Citrix Startup Accelerator.

Mobile-device security is an area where both start-ups and established players are tackling the BYOD challenge through various approaches intended to restrict and control corporate data on a user-owned tablet or smartphone device while trying not to interfere with the user's personal data usage. Into this fray has stepped Averail which made its debut three months ago with what it calls Averail Access.


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