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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.

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.

Stopping stealthy intrusions aimed at stealing sensitive information or otherwise compromising networks is the mission of Irvine, Calif.-based start-up Cylance. Last month in June, Cylance completed controlled beta tests of its first product intended to do this. Called Cylance PrivateDETECT, it's endpoint detection and prevention software that makes use of Cylance's "secret sauce" based on algorithms that are supposed to sort out  "good" and "bad" files, in order to block Windows-based attacks and malware.

Irvine, Calif.-based Cylance was founded in July 2012 by president and CEO Stuart McClure and Ryan Permeh, CTO, both with many years in the security industry. McClure launched Foundstone, acquired by McAfee in 2004, and McClure became CTO of McAfee. Permeh was founder of eEye and former scientist at McAfee.

McClure says what Cylance has come up with to detect stealthy attacks, whether they originate inside or outside the network, is not signature-based or malware-specific but a way to look at "millions of files per day" and "detect mathematically and algorithmically, what's bad or good." He says the goal is to monitor attacks and protect networks by preventing code execution. Additional products besides PrivateDETECT are likely to appear by year end.

Cylance has received $15 million in funding from a number of sources, including Khosla Ventures and Fairhaven Capital, and its board includes Patrick Heim, chief trust officer for, and William Fallon, former Admiral of the US Central Command.

Another start-up on our list, NetCitadel, made its debut in January, with its Threat Response Platform and a product called OneControl intended to automate what might otherwise be manual research and changes related to configuring firewalls, switches or other gear when virtual-machine workloads are spun up or down in enterprise data centers of cloud environments.


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