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Elon Musk sidekick, ex-Juniper exec leads new batch of security startups

It's already been a prolific year for new IT security companies, and now Bitglass, Spikes Security and Cybereason are making their debuts this month.

Meanwhile, Skyfence, a start-up that launched just last month, was just acquired for a reported $60 million by data center security company Imperva.

As for February's fresh faces in IT security, here's a quick look:

* Bitglass, based in Campbell, Calif., has come up with a proxy-based "watermarking" technology for enterprise security that can identify who has used applications and who may have leaked data, even involving cloud-based applications and mobile devices. The service starts at $5 per user per month.

The company was founded by CTO Anurag Kahol (formerly director of engineering in Juniper Networks' Security Business Unit), CEO Nat Kausik and Chief Scientist Anoop Bhattacharwy. Bitglass has received $10 million in venture-capital funding from New Enterprise Associates and Norwest Ventures. AMAG Pharmaceuticals is among the early adopters.

+ Also on Network World: Three security start-ups you should keep an eye on | The Skyfence security gateway protects and monitors cloud apps | Pharmaceutical IT chief melds five cloud security companies to bolt down resource access +

" Out of stealth mode today is Cybereason, a Boston-based start-up with Israeli roots that has developed software for Windows PCs and servers that work as agents to collect and centralize information that might be related to a stealthy cyberattack aimed at stealing critical corporate data. This agent software collects and centralizes collected information about potential compromises through an ongoing analysis of user activity and relationships. The Cybereason Platform is expected to be developed for Apple Mac, Linux and mobile devices in the future as well. Not yet priced, the Cybereason product is expected to be generally available in the second quarter. The company is led by co-founders Lior Div (CEO), Yonatan Striem-Amit (CTO) and Yossi Naar, chief vision officer, managing research and development. Cybereason has received $4.6 million from Charles River Ventures.

* Spikes Security of Saratoga, Calif., bears the last name of CEO/CTO and founder Branden Spikes, whose bio describes him as having served as "the technology right hand of Elon Musk for over 15 years at Zip2, PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX."

The Spikes product is called AirGap, also available as a service online, and it's designed to protect browsers used by corporate employees from malware-based cyberattacks. It does this seeking to establish a secure web-browsing experience outside the firewall, says Franklyn Jones, chief marketing officer. AirGap costs $100 per web session per year, based on concurrent web sessions. The company says it's received about $2 million from Javelin Ventures.

Startup snapped up

As for the recently acquired Skyfence, it already had close ties to Imperva. Skyfence co-founder and vice president of R&D Michael Kantarovich was previously director of R&D at Imperva, while Imperva CEO Shlomo Kramer contributed to Skyfence's $3.2 million in venture funding, originating from the Israeli high-tech community of which Kramer is part.

Skyfence offers a security gateway for software-as-a-service applications, and Imperva said acquiring Skyfence in its early stage would help Imperva be in a good position to help customers in the future with cloud applications.Imperva also said it's acquiring Tomium Software and would also buy remaining shares in Incapsula, the start-up Imperva spun out in 2010 that now offers cloud-based denial-of-service defense, web application security, and other services.

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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