Hot Security and AI Startups Thrive During COVID-19By Drew Robb
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the IT world hard. Projects were put on hold, personnel had to work remotely, layoffs and furloughs reduced numbers, and budgets were slashed. All those changes created new attack vectors for cyber criminals - and opportunity for cybersecurity startups. Pushing on despite the pandemic's New Normal, technologies that made the new work environment more secure, like zero trust, edge security and cloud, were among the hottest emerging areas.
Here are a few of the notable IT security startups.
Ananda emerged from stealth in the summer of 2020 with $6 million in seed money. It offers a cloud-based network connectivity service known as Secure Global LAN (SG-LAN). This Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) concept helps organizations create private networks to connect users, devices, and cloud services.
This zero-trust environment is said to be 25 times faster than traditional VPNs. It comes with end-to-end encryption, and can operate securely without firewalls, SD-WAN, VPNs, or network access controls.
“We are building the network from the ground with speed and security built-in,” said Adi Ruppin, founder and CEO, Ananda Networks. “It’s a cloud-managed, private overlay network that connects all edge computing devices to the data center or cloud services securely and optimally – as if they are on a LAN.”
This one is all about source code control, detection, and response. Cycode’s Source Path Intelligence engine delivers visibility across on-premise and cloud source code management systems. It can detect anomalies in source code access, movement, and manipulation automatically. The company has raised $4.6 million in seed funding to date from YL Ventures and others.
Satori Cyber is another YL Ventures-funded outfit, with $5.25 million raised to date. It focuses on data protection and governance via its Satori Cyber Secure Data Access Cloud. This access control service also offers visibility into data flows across cloud and hybrid environments. The focus is on data and data movement and providing protection from that standpoint.
COVID-19 has led to a massive upsurge in enterprise deployments of Office 365, Salesforce, NetSuite, Slack, Zoom, and other SaaS platforms. The problem is that many organizations lack resources to deploy those apps securely. Adaptive Shield is a way for IT to gain control over SaaS apps. Founded by cybersecurity experts from Israeli Defense Forces, Adaptive Shield makes it easy to integrate popular SaaS apps into workflows without risk of breaches and exfiltration of data. It secures cloud-based communications, productivity, collaboration and other apps by analyzing and repairing misconfigurations. It also ensures that those apps conform to established corporate security policies.
Cipio.AI has married AI with the fitness world, for that industry’s only AI & domain-infused customer intelligence platform. Its goal is to help health clubs and fitness professionals accelerate revenue, predict growth, and reduce churn. The platform helps users see what actions are resulting in the increase, retention, and broader engagement of members and subscribers. It uses AI to provide personalized recommendations and predictions throughout the customer journey.
The company has raised $1.25 million in pre-set capital from DX.Partners. Co-founders include former execs from MicroPact, Marketo, and Motionsoft. Early adopters of Cipio.AI include Crunch Fitness, World’s Gym, and Xponential Fitness’s streaming platform, Go.
Available on the Snowflake Data Exchange and the CrowdStrike store, Hunters.AI’s XDR (Extended Detection & Response) brings together attack intelligence and AI. It is said to be able to easily scale threat hunting techniques, detecting cyberattacks that bypass existing security defenses. Hunters.AI works with raw organizational data to extract threat leads based upon TTP (tactics, techniques and procedures). The AI app performs autonomous investigation and correlates threat leads across all attack surfaces. The company has raised $15 million in Series A funding to date.
While predictions differ on when the world at large will emerge from near-lockdown conditions, security and AI will continue to play outsized roles in the startup arena.