This is a guest post by our newest board partner, John M. Jack.
Is there any question in today’s economic environment that enterprises of all sizes continue to search for solutions that fit the “better, cheaper” mantra? Cloud, as we know, meets the criteria and offers other tremendous benefits to such enterprises. However, there has been a consistent theme causing resistance to the adoption of cloud applications—security. Companies are subject to regulatory requirements and internal policies that prevent them from using these applications despite the benefits. European data protection laws, the recent guidance from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and the U.S. Patriot Act introduce another layer of complexity to decision making on using cloud applications. Finally, vendors of cloud applications do not want to give up the benefits they reap from the shared architecture to satisfy a subset of companies.
Enter a unique approach invented by CipherCloud.
CipherCloud encryption software resides within a customer’s network to secure sensitive cloud application data in real-time, while retaining all the native functionality of the application. The information that is encrypted is determined by the customer including, for example, sensitive fields in a database, text of email messages, documents attached to email messages or perhaps only data items occurring in messages that have a certain specific format such as social security and credit card numbers.
CipherCloud also manages the encryption keys for the customer. These keys never leave the customer’s site and are not shared with the cloud provider. This ensures that the data stored in the cloud application by the cloud provider is completely undecipherable to anyone who accesses those servers—whether it be one of the provider’s employees performing a legitimate sys administration task, or a malicious insider like a Bradley Manning seeking to leak information, or an outside attacker who has somehow gained access to the system, or even the U.S. government knocking on the cloud provider’s door with a copy of the Patriot Act in hand.
Additionally, CipherCloud’s solution extends to the most commonly used cloud applications and technologies:
- Google Gmail
- Microsoft Office 365
- Database Gateway
- Amazon Web Services
- Connect AnyApp
The CipherCloud Connect AnyApp offering enables customers to connect to any number of other cloud applications including third party and homegrown applications in the private cloud. For example, an enterprise interested in using CipherCloud to encrypt data in their SAP SuccessFactors HR cloud application can do so with AnyApp.
Today we at a16z are announcing a significant investment in CipherCloud and the team. We are very excited to work with Founder and CEO Pravin Kothari on introducing this solution to security in the cloud. Pravin has accomplished amazing things as the CEO in his first couple years, including hiring 130 employees and maintaining the same cash balance in the bank he had at his seed round (in which we participated).
Pravin was a co-founder at ArcSight, which went on to become the market leader by all measures in the SIEM security segment. His early work positioned the products in the company to achieve this success. He has a world-class team surrounding him at CipherCloud that we believe will only make the company accelerate its success.
There is much more to like about CipherCloud: 1.2+ million users, 100+ million customer records protected, 40+ customers installed, 10 industries represented and eight countries—a global presence in only two years.
In 2009, when I was CEO of Fortify Software (later sold to HP), my team and I had an innovation meeting. The Fortify founder, the VP of Products and I were in this meeting and discussing an idea around encrypting the data between the user and their cloud applications. Our belief was this would broaden our offerings in application security. After discussing the idea in depth, our conclusion: too hard! CipherCloud figured it out!
I can’t wait to work with Pravin and his team to build this exciting company!