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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.

This "containerization" software and an accompanying service that's intended to give IT managers control over mobile-device apps and their content, according to Marc Olesen, Averail president and CEO. Olesen was previously senior vice president and general manager at McAfee's SaaS security business unit. "You can say, this document is so sensitive, you can't download it to the mobile device," Olesen says. Other options might be to let the user download it but it needs to stay encrypted via Averail.

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.

"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, 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.


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