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10 security startups to watch in 2015

Tim Greene | March 11, 2015
One common thread is helping to make detection and remediation easier

A wealth of young security companies is trying to capitalize on businesses moving toward security platforms that help them respond more quickly when they suffer successful cyber attacks in hopes of limiting the damage they do.

These firms take varying approaches to cybersecurity, including analyzing suspected attacks, automating responses, encrypting to make data theft more difficult, and sorting through alerts triggered by other security platforms to help prioritize responses.

These startups are plowing fertile ground, with corporate customers eager to avoid destructive attacks that can hurt their brand names. At the same time customers are fighting ever more inventive adversaries whose exploits require new defensive approaches.

So they are willing to open their wallets, with 46 percent of respondents to a Computerworld survey of IT leaders saying their spending on security this year will show double-digit increases while at the same time overall IT spending increases only 4.3 percent -- so security is definitely a priority. In fact it has been for the past 10 years, Computerworld says, getting double-digit boosts in each year.

Here are 10 startups worth watching this year because they bring fresh eyes, talent and investment to problems that continue to plague security executives

1. Illumio
Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.               
Founded: 2013
Funding:   $42.5 million from Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, Formation 8, Data Collective, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.
Leaders: CEO Andrew Rubin, CTO PJ Kirner
Fun fact: John Thompson, Microsoft's chairman, sits on Illumio's board.

Why we're following it: Illumio's Adaptive Security Platform enforces policies about what specific ports on what machines are allowed to talk to what other ports on what other machines in order to limit that damage a compromised machine can do by limiting what it is capable of doing. This is a valuable asset at a time when breaches are accepted as inevitable. The platform also sends alerts when machines try to violate policies so staff can remediate the problem.

2. LightCyber
Headquarters: Ramat Gan, Israel, and Los Altos, Calif.
Founded: 2011
Funding: $11.5 million from Battery Ventures and Glilot Capital Partners
Leaders: CEO Gonen Fink, Chief Product Officer Giora Engel, CTO Michael Mumcuoglu
Fun fact: Founders Engel and Mumcuoglu served in the Israeli Defense Force

Why we're following it: LightCyber's Magna Breach Detection Platform provides agentless monitoring and analysis of endpoint machines as it looks for signs of possible intrusions. It winnows out incidents that are most likely intrusions and sends alerts, prioritizing and greatly reducing the number of incidents that have to be checked out by human analysts. The company is methodically going about adding integration with other security platforms so Magna Breach has a mechanism for automatically blocking detected threats. Integration partners so far include Palo Alto, Check Point, RSA Arcsight, FortKnox, and Microsoft (Active Directory).

 

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