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10 security start-ups to watch

Ellen Messmer | July 1, 2014
Security start-ups arise because they have fresh approaches to fighting malware and cyber-espionage or combatting the insider threat through network monitoring. In this round-up of some of the newer security firms, Distil Networks, Observable Networks and Vectra Networks fit into that category. But two others just out of the gate, Exabeam and Fortscale, are part of another trend--squeezing more out of existing log management and security information and event management products.

Security start-ups arise because they have fresh approaches to fighting malware and cyber-espionage or combatting the insider threat through network monitoring. In this round-up of some of the newer security firms, Distil Networks, Observable Networks and Vectra Networks fit into that category. But two others just out of the gate, Exabeam and Fortscale, are part of another trend — squeezing more out of existing log management and security information and event management products.

And then there's Denver-based ProtectWise, founded by former McAfee veterans, which is still in stealth mode and only vaguely alluding to cloud-based security as a future offering. But investors are pouring money into it. ProtectWise has snagged over $17 million in venture-capital funding.

Here are 10 hot security start-ups to watch:                       

Distil Networks is all about bot detection and protecting websites that get bombarded with comment spam, click fraud and content stealing. Based in Arlington, Va., Distil was cofounded by CEO Rami Essaid, CTO Engin Akyol, and chief scientist Andrew Stein, whose bot-fighting method is to inspect a flow-through of the customer's website traffic to detect and block botnet activity.

Distil's botnet-fighting force became available last year as a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) or as an on-premises hardware and virtual appliance. Cost typically runs from $100 per month to $30,000 depending on the website traffic, says Essaid. He sees one of Distil's main competitors as start-up, Shape Security, whose product also seeks to protect websites. Last month Distil picked up an additional $10 million in funding led by Foundry Group and Techstars' Bullet Time Ventures.

Exabeam, based in San Mateo, Calif., came out of stealth mode just this month. According to co-founder and CEO Nir Polak, Exabeam's product due by year-end will be a big data security analytics platform to get more detail in threat prioritization in the enterprise by making use of what already exists.

Polak said Exabeam's software will have machine-learning capabilities so security queries can pull up information related to possible insider threats and external threats. Exabeam's co-founders include vice president of products Syvain Gil, and chief technology officer Domingo Mihovilovic. The start-up has received $13 million in funding from Norwest Ventures Partners, Aspect Ventures and angel investor Shlomo Kramer.

Fortscale is another security start-up that believes there's a lot to learn from existing information by adding tools to do queries. For Israel-based Fortscale, which has an office in New York, the focus is on gaining visibility into what users, including employees and contractors allowed into the network, are typically doing in order to develop profiles. This can help determine if an attacker has hijacked user credentials or indicates an insider threat.

 

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