With $17M ProtectWise comes out of stealth to take on the world of cybersecurity

by Garrett Reim
March 24, 2015
Target, Home Depot, and Sony are just a few of the many corporations in America suffering big computer systems hacks in the last 12 months. So bad has the cybersecurity landscape become that many hacked corporations still have not figured out what was stolen from them. The irony is, corporations were once running to embrace the Internet as a means of greater efficiency and better customer service. However, now after fully embracing the wild west of cyberspace many are not sure what they’ve got themselves into.
“The bad guys are winning this year,” said founder and CTO of cybersecurity firm ProtectWise, Gene Stevens. “Most of us are hacked and don’t know it.”
That is why ProtectWise, a startup coming out of stealth mode today, believes it is well positioned for success. The startup has raised $17 million in venture capital and is helping companies make sense of potential cyber threats by not focusing on stopping hacks, but finding them after the breach and helping clients take counter measures.
“The industry has largely moved on from detect and block and has moved towards to detect and respond,” said Stevens.
The strategy is an acknowledgement of a big problem. Cybersecurity software and specialists are over-tasked with stopping a horde of threats to mobile phones, laptops, desktops, tablets, and servers. Right now they can’t stop everything at the gates, so they have to do their best to identify threats inside the city walls.
As such, ProtectWise is taking a wait and see, and then counter attack approach. The company describes its SaaS program like a cybersecurity DVR, a video log of all network traffic. Using the SaaS platform administrators can review traffic and look for malicious activity going back months. Stevens said that’s key because cyber attacks often go unnoticed on average around six months. For a company like Target or Sony without this technology, it becomes difficult to know what customer or employee information was compromised.
In addition, if an outside organization discovers a new virus like Heartbleed and informs the public, ProtectWise can use that information to see if their clients have been compromised too. In the future, ProtectWise is looking at ways to share information with other industry groups and even the government agencies. This is something Stevens calls “economies of intelligence.”
“There’s safety in numbers,” said Stevens. “There’s a movement towards people going out of their way to deliberately share.”
What safety isn’t gained in time from the crowd ProtectWise is trying to add through hardcore computing. The platform searches out suspicious network traffic using features like automated traffic payload and URL analysis. Those threat detection features are constantly improved upon using machine learning. 
ProtectWise then serves up what it finds in a manageable way. It is typical for cybersecurity systems to alert administrators to thousands of false threats each day; ProtectWise filters down alerts to on average seven per day, with a so-called “noise reduction” feature. That not only frees up personnel to focus on other things, but also stops “alarm fatigue,” said Stevens. 
When it comes to using this technology, Stevens said the platform tends to fit large Fortune 500 companies best, with some smaller mid-market customers finding the platform beneficial as well. Everyone has their eye on the cybersecurity industry these days.
“There’s not a boardroom in America that is trying to not be the next Sony,” said Stevens.
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