Fresh batch of security start-ups aim to safeguard mobile devices, SaaS apps

Fresh batch of security start-ups aim to safeguard mobile devices, SaaS apps

Security start-ups continue to blast out of stealth mode, and among the ones seen this week, the focus is on mobile security as well as cloud-based monitoring and threat detection of software-as-a-service applications such as Salesforce and Box.

+ Also on NetworkWorld: Elon Musk sidekick, ex-Juniper exec lead new batch of security startups +

* Bluebox Security is jumping into the crowded mobile-security arena with a "data-wrapping" technology for Apple iOS and Android that acts like a container on the device so that enterprise IT managers can have visibility and control over corporate apps, but at the same time separate out personal apps so employees can use them unencumbered. "It lets employees use whatever apps they want," says Caleb Sima, CEO, who co-founded Bluebox in San Francisco in 2012 with Adam Ely, COO. The Bluebox software can enforce policies such as data encryption, requiring apps from the corporate apps store or monitoring for iOS jailbreaking, for example. The Bluebox client agent, which requires no special software development or SDK, is being used by early adopters Netflix and Zion's Bank, says Sima. The software is licensed per user per month at about $21 depending on volume discounts. Bluebox has received $27.4 million in venture-capital funding from Tenaya Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Sun co-founder Andreas Bechtolsheim, among others.

* Also out of stealth mode this week is Cyphort, a Santa Clara-based start-up whose Advanced Threat Detection Platform is designed to copy enterprise traffic streams in order to examine executables such as PDFs to find indications of attacks or compromise through its own sandboxing process. It's available as an appliance or as a virtual-machine form factor for VMware or KVM, according to Shel Sharma, director of product marketing. The Cyphort platform, which starts at $27,500, is distributed across the enterprise to collect evidence of cyber-intrusions by also monitoring outbound traffic. In terms of remediation, it can produce signatures for some anti-virus products, URL blocking or automated interaction with some firewalls.

The company, which will be demonstrating at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, was founded by Ali Golshan, CTO, and Fengmin Gong, chief architect. CEO Manoj Leelanivas has 21 years combined at Cisco and Juniper Networks, where he  most recently served as executive vice president of worldwide sales for advanced technologies. The company has received approximately $22.7 million in venture funding from sources that include Foundation Partners, Matrix Partners, and Trinity Ventures.

* Yet another cloud security start-up, Elastica, also launches with the goal of providing visibility into software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, including Salesforce, Google Drive, Box and others, used by employees from anywhere, including mobile devices, so that the IT security managers can receive alerts or even block traffic that violates security policies.

San Jose-based Elastica was founded in 2012 by CEO Rehan Jalil, who says his firm now has about a dozen customers in beta with the Elastica security service. He says Elastica  competes most directly with two other cloud-security start-ups -- Netskope and Bitglass. Elastica has received $6.3 million from Mayfield Fund.

* Finally, Forter, makes its debut this month, with the mission of preventing e-commerce fraud through its cloud-based payment-card protection service that in real-time evaluates customer transactions and card submissions to flag suspicious purchases made at websites. According to COO Liron Damri, who founded the Tel Aviv-based company with Michael Reitblat and Alon Shemesh, the fraud-detection service can begin to work after simply installing a single line of supporting code from Forter on the merchant website to be protected. Damri says Forter's approach is to automate the fraud-detection possibly so fully that the merchant doesn't have to get involved in manual reviews. The cost for using the Forter service is based on a small percentage of the transaction. Forter has not yet disclosed venture-capital funding.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail:

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