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‘Mass demand’ is building for cloud-native security, Aqua CEO says

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Enterprises are poised to accelerate their adoption of security for cloud-native technologies starting this year, with many companies now placing a higher priority on modernizing their applications and embedding security during development, Aqua Security cofounder and CEO Dror Davidoff told VentureBeat.

When it comes to securing cloud-native technologies such as containers and microservices, there is now “a clear realization in the market that [companies’] existing security solutions do not apply for this new stack,” Davidoff said in an interview.

“I think the education part is very much done. Everyone gets it,” he said. “It’s now a matter of organizations actually adopting and moving.”

Aqua Security offers a cloud-native application protection platform that spans the app development lifecycle, with capabilities for securing the build, infrastructure, and workload/runtime. The company acquired a startup in December, Argon, that will add a solution for securing the software supply chain to the platform, as well.

Aqua’s various modules are offered individually, but are also integrated in order to “connect the dots” and provide a full security picture for a customer’s cloud-native stack, Davidoff said.

Based on what the company has seen around exploration of cloud-native security in its customer base, “many organizations that have toyed with the idea and did it on a very small scale, have now gained the confidence to go on a broad scale or much bigger scale,” Davidoff said.

“We have Fortune 100 companies—very large-scale—that are going all-in. They have plans that within three to five years, everything will be in the cloud. Everything will be cloud-native and modernized. And then there are other organizations that take a much slower pace, but they have the same understanding that this is the direction,” he said. “So, yes, we definitely saw in ’21 that there was a turning point. And I think in ’22 and ’23, we will see mass demand for these solutions.”

The Ramat Gan, Israel-based company was founded by Davidoff and chief technology officer Amir Jerbi in 2015 — at a time when “containers and serverless technologies were just emerging,” Aqua notes on its website.

Last March, Aqua raised $135 million in series E funding, led by ION Crossover Partners, at a $1 billion valuation. The company expects to double its revenue in 2022, Davidoff said.

“I think there is a potential for hyper growth,” he said. “At our scale, to double is a great challenge.”

What follows is an edited portion of the interview with Davidoff.

What was 2021 about for Aqua Security, and what do you see as the key themes for 2022?

For us, the main theme of the past year, or even the past 18 months, was really the transition that the market is seeing from [relying on] multiple point solutions. Organizations, CISOs, practitioners, they all understand that you can’t keep slicing cloud-native security into many, many point solutions. You have to frame it differently. And we’ve been thinking this way for quite some time. We’ve pretty much pioneered [the idea of] looking at the full lifecycle of the cloud-native application—really connecting the dots and looking at it as one thing. I think this notion is finally being adopted by the market.

What are the signs that you see of this?

We see more and more that CISOs are understanding, No. 1, that the number of vendors that they have to deal with is overwhelming. But also, when you buy those disparate solutions, then there’s a huge overload on the organization to put it all together.

For us, it’s much more than that. We actually see an opportunity to do security better by connecting the dots. If we identify a vulnerability in the build stage, we can then put a policy that if anyone tried to exploit the vulnerability in runtime, we will be able to protect [the customer]. So, connecting the dots. If we set a certain threshold as an organization for not allowing a certain vulnerability in the organization, we can now monitor that in multiple control points—in the build stage, in the Kubernetes staging, in the runtime.

What are the benefits of this for customers?

[It’s about creating] a much more consistent security posture for your cloud environment as a whole and the application itself. I think this is a huge vision. The big theme of last year was the fact that it’s turning into a reality. Looking forward, I’m sure we will see a lot of consolidation. Because the demand from the market is for more complete solutions, we will see a lot of consolidation. The different vendors will try to expand and complete their offering.

And Aqua, of course, is in a very strong place from that perspective. We already have a platform with the most comprehensive coverage. And we just announced a very important acquisition, of Argon, that further extended the scope of our platform. So right now, I can say very comfortably that we’re the one that’s really looking at the complete lifecycle—from your software supply chain all the way to your production, and having all the [solutions] along the way. So, this is something that started last year, and this is the year where it’s going to happen. We will see CISOs really reframing the problem. Rather than having five different RFPs, they will go for one RFP [that says] “this is the problem I need to solve: the cloud-native application.”

Do you think it’s likely that you’ll make an acquisition in 2022?

I think there are good chances. We’re in a position that we are actively looking for the next thing for us.

[The Argon acquisition] was very big and strategic for us. I’m sure there will be more. And again, Aqua is already in a place that we have the platform. We have that advantage. So we can now, relatively easily, add the components that we want. A lot of it we do organically–but there are certainly opportunities to do non-organic additions to the platform.

What are the other vendors that you see as the major consolidators in this cloud-native security market?

Palo [Alto Networks] has shown a great appetite. They’ve done a series of acquisitions for their Prisma cloud. I think we’ll see more of that. And I’m sure we’ll see many more [beyond Palo Alto Networks]. There’s a lot of money funneling into this market. And some of that would go into acquisitions.

In terms of your platform, are there any challenges that come from this approach, rather than being focused on one specific area within cloud security?

We’re not forcing a customer to take the full platform. The platform is the vision—that this is where we want to take our customer by the end. With the addition of the Argon solution, we have four modules that our customers can buy independently. They don’t have to buy the full platform. They can decide, I want to start with supply chain. I want to start with securing my build phase. I want to start with securing my infrastructure, or with securing my workloads. There are four modules right now in our offering. And each one of them is also an independent offering.

But we’re investing very heavily to not only put them on one platform, but also create a lot of complementary value between the different modules—and really turn it into one solution. Which, I think, is where everyone will get to. Now, it depends on the maturity level, depends on the skill set, depends on the capacity of the enterprise to say, “OK, this is what we need to do.” Like I said, it’s something very new in this market. But when we think about the platform, this is where we want to take our customers. Even if they decide to buy one subset of the capabilities that we have, for them, it’s very important to understand what their roadmap is—and how they can grow their security posture and improve their security posture by using more and more Aqua offerings.

Security is always a journey. There are always more and more layers of defense. Securing something that is very new, like cloud-native, is even more so—because you’re constantly learning, evolving, using new services in the cloud, implementing new processes. And then there are more and more new security requirements, which we try to help enterprises to address.

Are a lot of your customers using more than one module at this point?

We have a very healthy percentage of our customers using more than one module. We still have a relatively small percentage using the full range of capabilities. Like I said, this is a very advanced concept to deploy. But yes, it’s something that we certainly see. And like I said, there is complementary value between the different components, and I think eventually the entire market will get to that.

For customers that are using all four modules, how does that increase their security in a way they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise?

The beauty of the cloud is that it connects the dots. Everything sits on one pipeline, the CI/CD pipeline. With the application lifecycle, there are continuous updates and new software that is being pushed into the application. So, imagine you scan for malware and vulnerabilities in the build stage. And everything’s good. But now, you want to make sure that as this piece of code is being pushed out, no one is tampering.

So there’s “day one” security—hygiene cleaning, inventory, understanding what you have out there, seeing if there are any vulnerabilities that you need to fix. That’s day one. Day two and day three, you want to start to implement more advanced control—runtime control, risk prevention. Once you sign something, you don’t let anyone tamper with it. So if any little thing changes, you immediately can identify it and block it. These are the more advanced controls. But it’s an evolution. It’s like the Maslow pyramid of needs. There are some basic things that you have to start on day one. And then as you evolve, you add more and more layers and more advanced controls. So security posture is an ever-evolving thing. By the way, the bad guys are ever-evolving, too.

At this point, how mainstream is it to be thinking about security at the early stages in the application development lifecycle?

What we saw in 2021 was certainly a turning point in the market. It moved from the early adopters into the mainstream market. Almost any organization is interested. We see two dimensions of growth. No. 1, there are many more enterprises where it’s now becoming a priority for them. But No. 2, many organizations that have toyed with the idea and did it on a very small scale, have now gained the confidence to go on a broad scale or much bigger scale.

Now, everyone understands that they have to move to the cloud. And everyone also understands that in their move to the cloud, there is an opportunity to modernize their applications and move into a cloud-native stack. Maybe there is a longer nurturing process for some organizations, but everyone understands that this is the direction.

And then, I think there is also a clear realization in the market that their existing security solutions do not apply for this new stack—for the cloud-native stack. And they have to look for new security tools, processes, measurements—because it’s a new world. So I think the education part is very much done. Everyone gets it. It’s now a matter of organizations actually adopting and moving. And each organization does it at its own pace. We have Fortune 100 companies—very large-scale—that are going all-in. They have plans that within three to five years, everything will be in the cloud. Everything will be cloud-native and modernized. And then there are other organizations that take a much slower pace, but they have the same understanding that this is the direction. So, yes, we definitely saw in ’21 that there was a turning point. And I think in ’22 and ’23, we will see mass demand for these solutions.

So you’re basing that on what you’ve been seeing among your customers?

We’ve doubled our installed base. We have 30 Fortune 100 customers and more than a quarter of the Fortune 500. Half of the top 20 banks in the world are our customers. And then there are hundreds of smaller enterprises. We see a shift in the market, shift in adoption. And we also see a shift in the scale of the projects that are being deployed into Kubernetes, into cloud-native. And I can very comfortably say that we are securing the largest Kubernetes deployments out there.

Would you say you were earlier on Kubernetes security than others?

Absolutely. Docker, Kubernetes, [AWS] Lambda, all these modern cloud-native technologies—this is our bread and butter. This is where we started. When we started, it was Docker. And then we evolved into Lambda, and then we evolved into Kubernetes. Now, like I said before, we don’t think about it anymore in small pieces—we think about cloud-native as a whole and the full lifecycle of the application. Obviously, Kubernetes is an important component of that. And Docker is an important component of that. But there are many other important components in there.

[On container security] we were the first one from a security perspective. From a security perspective, we were the first one that said, containers are going to be huge and containers will need a dedicated security solution. And we were very right.

That gives us a lot of advantages—certainly in the runtime, because we gained a lot of experience growing with our customers. In the early days, those used to be deployments of dozens or maybe a few hundred containers. Now we’re securing deployments of millions of containers. So the scale, understanding the needs and the security threats, improving our control, improving the deployment mechanism—there is a lot of experience that we can build into our product. And it’s a continuous effort with our customers, to really understand what’s the next thing for them and how we can help them do that in a secure way.

What kind of growth are you aiming for in 2022?

Doubling again—that’s the pace. We’re growing at a very high pace, and we think the market is there for us. So I think there is a potential for hyper growth. At our scale, to double is a great challenge.

The other thing is this new expansion of how we can help our customers. The acquisition of Argon is a great example. We scan for malware and vulnerabilities at the build stage, but there is an earlier stage—the supply chain—where these pieces of code are coming from. With Argon, they’re a young company, and this whole problem of securing the supply chain is very, very new. Aqua was the first one to make such a move to integrate the supply chain with the entire cycle. So again, using the same philosophy that everything has to be integrated, I think we will see great demand for that solution. And I think that it will also help us to keep differentiating from the other players.

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Here’s how technology and innovation are driving the growth of Arista Vault, India’s first smart luggage brand

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It was a crisp winter evening in October 2017 when Purvi Roy, an ace designer who studied at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan, presented her high fashion fall winter collection – Warriors Alley- at India Runway Week. The collection was powerful and the show was a great success. At the after-party, she crossed paths with Colonel Krishan Kumar Singh and finance expert Atul Gupta.

After a brief conversation with Purvi, the Colonel suggested that maybe it was time for her to do something for the regular masses which would serve a larger purpose. They began brainstorming and after much deliberation, hard work, and perseverance Arista Vault was born.

Arista Vault is an innovative tech company creating concept-based products to make human life easy, simple, and safe. The company is headquartered in Delhi with offices in Gurugram, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Goa. One of their first offerings was a smart wallet with inbuilt anti-theft and anti-loss features, that would keep your most valuable belongings safe and protected while travelling.

“Arista is a Sanskrit word that means ‘unhurt’ or safest, and vault is a safe. We particularly chose a Sanskrit word for the name because while we go global it will always depict the roots which are Indian; so Arista Vault is a proud Made in India brand,” reveals Purvi.

As a D2C brand, it is also India’s first smart luggage company having filed six patents with one of them being an internationally published patent. The company is the perfect amalgamation of indigenous technology and in-house design that attempts to make customers feel the luxury as well as the safety of carrying a smart wallet.

Backed by Purvi’s years of knowledge and experience as a designer, the wallet while being the best at technology also has the slimmest silhouette which gives it a very luxurious look, making it a great gifting product. Purvi always wanted to make sure that the aesthetics of the product felt opulent, hence it has a jewel packaging with a matte-finished box.

The logo which is a power button inside a hexagon has a touch of gold to it, symbolic of a sense of pride and luxury. So you have a plush feeling when you own an Arista Vault smart wallet along with complete security of your wallet and its belongings.

Making traveller’s life hassle-free

If you had a penny for every time your heart skipped a beat while you frantically searched your pockets thinking you had lost your wallet, you’d probably beat Elon Musk’s wealth!

While that is a far-fetched reality, safeguarding your wallet is not. Arista’s Smart Wallet, with its many features, offers customers the relief to travel hassle-free even in crowded areas like trains and buses. The wallet has a power button which when pressed activates its features.

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Its main USP is the anti-loss and anti-theft features. It comes with an abundance of technologies such as an anti-theft alarm, built-in power bank, two-way tracker, remote selfie feature, RFID protection. The wallet also has a 20-meter separation alarm with two-way connectivity to your mobile phone. This way the phone can ring the wallet and vice versa. This feature especially comes in handy if your phone is either lost or stolen.

To enable such a high level of technology in a product as simple as a wallet would mean a dedicated amount of research and development.

“We are backed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and were incubated at the Electropreneur park and IIITD. We work in two world-class labs – Power lab and Fab Lab, which have state-of-the-art technology where the design, research, and technology integration are done. We also have a dedicated tannery and product design manufacturing unit where the integration of technology is done into the product after three layers of quality control,” Purvi says.

Along with technology and design, the co-founders were clear on maintaining the highest level of safety for the smart wallets. Hence all wallets are ISO certified with their privacy policy in compliance with the IT Act of the Government. As of the last quarter of this year, 6,000 smart wallets were sold amounting to Rs 2.6 crore.

Challenges along the way

It’s the trailblazing technology that makes the smart wallets of Arista Vault stand out. But this technology was not easy to develop. Purvi says that it took over a year of R&D to develop a prototype finally, but by this time all the seed fund had been exhausted.

“We knew we had a great product but for further research, innovation and product marketing more capital was needed. So all the three founders decided to put their savings and I supported the company with the earnings of my fashion venture that had initially incubated Arista Vault,” Purvi adds.

The company ran a pilot of their wallets on Amazon Launchpad and those were all sold out within three days. They used all the feedback received to further improve the product. The turning point in their entrepreneurial journey came in 2019 when the company got funding and support from the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology under Electronics System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM), with Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) & Electropreneur Park.

Using this support, Arista Vault was able to scale their venture sustainably to build world-class smart wallets that eventually got them recognition from Amazon with the Viewer’s Choice award as an Emerging Brand in 2019. In 2021, the company received the prestigious Star award for Most Innovative Brand Year. They were also able to enter the international market by exporting their products to Germany, Chile, Dubai, and other gulf countries and finally to the USA.

This year the company achieved a major milestone in its journey when it became one of the few smart luggage brands in India to raise funding from Germany-based MainStage Angel Network and UK-based Pontaq VC.

Establishing itself in a new segment

Purvi says that while the funding was a great boost both financially and morally, the true journey of the company has begun now. The capital raised is being used to scale the business and establish itself as a market leader in a fairly new segment of smart luggage.

To do this, the company has grown its distribution model and channel partners to cover various cities across the country where Arista Vault products are being sold in a brick-and-mortar model. They have forged partnerships with relevant stakeholders like the Goa government to enter the travel and tourism sector as well, with their smart products.

In October when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G services in India, Arista Vault was one of the few tech companies to exhibit their smart products. They are also coming up with a series of 5G-implemented products.

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Going ahead, the company wishes to build a strong presence in the smart luggage market in a B2B model. For that, they recently launched their Switch2Smart range which has a variety of smart business bags, business trolleys, laptop bags and file holders. These bags have features like GPS live and lost location which makes it almost impossible for them to be lost or stolen. They also have other features like smart charging for mobile phones, geofencing and anti-skimming.

“Nowadays from our homes to watches, everything is smart. So why should our bags be left behind? The Switch2Smart range of Arista Vault will give travellers the luxury to be free and not worry about their luggage,” Purvi says. The company has already started generating sales with B2B orders displayed in DIW 2022 Gift Expo.

In FY 2020-2021, the company generated revenue of Rs 3.59 crore and now they are well on their way to achieving Rs 12-15 crore in this financial year showing more than 4X growth in business.

Along with the sales generated on Amazon, Flipkart and their own website, this festive season Arista Vault also got into corporate gifting for occasions like Diwali and has completed bulk orders from companies such as Bharati Cement, Mitsubishi, etc. They also recently started with Amazon.com in the US and UAE.

“Going forward, both B2B and B2C have their specific areas to serve. Our products are innovative and new and require consumer awareness which is possible primarily through B2C. However at a certain level to reach a wider audience, B2B is a preferred mode of business,” Purvi adds.

Arista Vault aims to establish itself as a market leader in the smart luggage category by bringing revolutionary technology to wallets, business bags, travel backpacks and much more. In the coming year, they wish to strengthen their brand presence in India as well as abroad by launching another 15 product categories worldwide.


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Elon Musk Reveals Twitter Will Soon Release a New Feature

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Elon Musk continues to reach out directly to Twitter users to get feedback on his newly acquired platform.

In a tweet earlier today, the billionaire/Chief Twit turned his focus on lurkers who consume the content but don’t contribute. He politely encouraged these so-called ‘doom scrollers’ to get involved.

“I meet so many people who read twitter every day but almost never tweet,” he wrote. “If I may beg your indulgence, please add your voice to the public dialogue!”

Musk has reason to be concerned. According to a study done in 2021, around 25% of Twitter users in the U.S. produce around 97% of all tweets.

His plea to be more active on the platform received nearly 85,000 responses, but he honed in on one in particular from a Twitter user named Rocket_Medic who, perhaps channeling hundreds of thousands of others in the Twitterverse, wrote:

“I reply a lot…no one reads my tweets.”

Musk then asked Rocket_Medic if he was aware of Twitter Analytics, which can be surfaced by clicking on the graph icon at the bottom right of all users’ tweets. The feature lets you know how many times people have seen, Retweeted, liked, and replied to each tweet.

Musk told Medic that he shouldn’t be bothered by the low reply rate since that’s not the metric that really matters. “Those who read tweets outnumber those who reply/retweet/like tweets by over 1000%,” Musk wrote.

At this point, Musk revealed an upcoming feature that had not yet been discussed publicly.

Twitter will soon start displaying tweet reach metrics up-front on all tweets, just like they do for video views.

The reaction to Musk’s announcement seemed mostly positive, with over 15,000 likes. But one user was not convinced.

@JamieHutchens4 replied:

“My Tweets get zero reactions. I think that’s the case with most people. No reactions give a feeling of being unimportant. Avoiding that feeling is likely why lots do not tweet. Most probably don’t even realize that is why they aren’t Tweeting.”

To which Musk replied: “How many views do your tweets get?”

At press time, @JamieHutchens4 still had yet to respond to Musk’s question.

Ironically, his tweet has been liked over 10,000 times, with nearly 800 replies.

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CEO of Amazon Says Platform Won’t Stop Selling Anti-semitic Film From Kyrie Irving Tweet

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

On Wednesday, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company would not be removing the antisemitic film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America from its streaming service. Jewish groups such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have prodded Amazon to take down the film because it contains antisemitic tropes and allegations that, throughout history, Jews have conspired to oppress Black people.



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The video first received widespread attention near the end of October after Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving shared a link to it on Twitter.

Speaking at the New York Times DealBook Summit, Jassy — who is Jewish — said Amazon should allow access to controversial viewpoints. He continued: “As a retailer of content to hundreds of millions of customers with a lot of different viewpoints, we have to allow access to those viewpoints, even if they are objectionable — objectionable and they differ from our particular viewpoints.”

Jassy added that Amazon must be consistent with its policies and take care not to censor content. If the media “actively incites or promotes violence,” Jassy said, “or teaches people to do things like pedophilia,” the decision to take it down is “more straightforward.”

Amazon has “very expansive customer reviews,” according to Jassy, and where any kind of media receiving considerable public attention are concerned, “customers do a good job of warning other people.” According to the Times, Amazon has indicated that it is considering adding a disclaimer to Wake Up, but Jassy also expressed confidence in customer reviews playing a role in how the video is perceived.

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