Networking is a challenge for modern organizations that rely on cloud-native technologies, and network security is especially difficult in multicloud environments. In this article, we look at four startups that have recently raised funding and are doing all they can to secure the network fabric of organizations large and small.
GreyMatter is the main product of ReliaQuest. It unifies security data across SIEM, endpoints, cloud, and applications. With data spanning these many sources, it can become overwhelming, but GreyMatter promises ease of use along with its powerful integration capabilities.
The challenge with complex networks is being able to spot a vulnerability ahead of time. With the number of moving parts and large quantities of data to monitor, threat detection is illusive. GreyMatter specializes in threat detection. It performs intrusion detection, which scans looking for new personal devices, new users that connect to the network. It also scans firewalls to check for vulnerabilities. The benefit of collating a large pool of security data from various sources is that GreyMatter can detect vulnerabilities faster. In fact, GreyMatter enables real-time network security that can identify and help remediate threats as they happen.
GreyMatter simulates attacks to test security controls of an organization and help them build a better security posture. It does these “hunts” using the power of machine learning to automate and scale security scanning. It would be a relief for its customers to finally be on the other side of the hunt, where they switch roles from being the hunted to the hunter. This proactive approach is required for state-of-the-art security today.
ReliaQuest relies not only on ML but also on a human team of security experts that augment the algorithms at work. This would enable them to apply learnings across all customers so that everyone benefits from the lessons learned.
GreyMatter can combat modern threats that traditional network security tools are not equipped to deal with. For example, it can spot abnormal network traffic that could help identify issues like cryptomining. These are new kinds of threats that catch even security professionals by surprise. With robust network security and threat detection solution like ReliaQuest, organizations can be confident in their readiness to face such attacks.
ReliaQuest is on a high-growth path, having just received $300 million funding to help with its expansion efforts.
128 Technology is innovating in networking, and security is an important part of its mission to modernize networking. 128 Technology believes that software-based routers (not physical routers) are key to transforming network security today.
128 Technology sees that the network has changed drastically because of the changes in applications, resources, and user consumption. Applications have become microservice-based and container-run. Resources are spread across multiple public clouds, and physical data centers as well. Users now access apps and data via mobile devices, edge devices, and an integrated mesh of applications.
With all this change, the network should have followed suit. Unfortunately, networking and network security are still hardware-based. Network security is still perimeter-based and is outdated. Current virtual networks are based on VPNs, which have the same limitations as physical routers. They aren’t adequate to secure networks that span the multicloud, mobile, and edge use cases of today.
128 Technology instead offers a better alternative — their Smart Session routing technology. This is a software-centric approach to routers that is meant to be cloud-native, software-driven, elastic, mobile-first, and experience-based. 128 Technology focuses on sessions that it defines as “a temporary association between a user and an experience.” Every interaction a user has with a software system can be seen as a session. This includes activities like a click, a phone call, or a download — they are all sessions. They are what create experiences for users.
In terms of security, 128 Technology enforces security policies that are based on the router. Secure Vector Routing is what they call it. It traces every session’s unique path in a network and talks to the server that powers the session. This approach involves hop-by-hop authentication, selective encryption, and granular segmentation. The key difference from traditional network security is that it is built into the network fabric rather than at the perimeter only.
128 Technology has just raised $30 million in Series D funding and is already winning customers looking for a zero-trust security solution.
Perimeter 81 points to the inadequacy of physical appliances to secure today's cloud-based networks. Legacy networking hardware is site-centric and doesn't scale or secure adequately.
Perimeter 81 counters this with its SaaS service for network security that focuses on mid-sized organizations. Perimeter 81 handles routing of traffic through secure IPSec tunnels. Its software-defined perimeter (SDP) ensures one-to-one access between the user and the resources they’re trying to access, thus, making the rest of the system invisible in any session.
Perimeter 81 promises zero-touch onboarding that enables organizations to deploy a secure network in under 15 minutes. Once the network is deployed, Ops teams can manage the network in the Perimeter 81 SaaS app.
Perimeter 81 addresses the need to operate secure multicloud networks as well. It connects multiple public cloud services securely and brings visibility into the traffic flowing between these clouds.
Perimeter 81 boasts patented WiFi security features that focus on securing remote users’ access via unsecured WiFi networks. This is highly relevant to today’s remote work environment. It also handles two-factor authentication as an added security measure.
The key objective of Perimeter 81 is to take organizations that rely on hardware-based solutions and make them operate comfortably in software-defined networking stacks. It has a tightly-knit solution that does this well, and its primary capability is to secure communication between just the user and the server being accessed at any given time.
Perimeter 81 raised $40 million in Series D funding recently, which proves investors’ confidence in its approach to network security.
Cycognito takes a completely external-first approach to securing networks. It thinks like an attacker and simulates what they would do to find critical vulnerabilities in an organization’s network.
Cycognito knows that attackers look for the path of least resistance when they target an organization. They identify a handful of critical vulnerabilities that can give them access to a company’s data. Cycognito can figure out what these critical attack vectors are and give organizations an attacker’s view of their system.
Cycognito terms what they do as “shadow risk elimination” whereby assess unknowns related to an organization and uncover critical risks. They do this by first identifying an organization’s IP address, servers, SSL certificates, logos, and other “fingerprints” unique to the organization. It then builds a mathematical graph of all objects related to but not owned by the organization. For example, a partner may be using the company’s logo and IP for completely legitimate purposes, and these would not be flagged as suspicious. However, when Cycognito notices that an unidentified source has the unique “fingerprints” of an organization, it flags it as suspicious and prompts the organization to secure their system against this threat.
Cycognito runs attack simulations using this data and can give CIOs and CISOs a very real view of what their security posture is from the outside in. They do not believe in reducing the attack surface, but rather, in eliminating the few critical attack vectors that are visible externally. This reduces data overload for security professionals and enables organizations to be strategic about network security.
Cycognito recently raised $30 million in Series B funding.
The cloud is complicated, and much of the complication lies in the networking layer. Fortunately, with innovative network security startups like ReliaQuest, 128 Technology, Perimeter 81, and Cycognito, organizations now stand a good chance to outmaneuver their shady opponents.
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