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20 Cyber Security Startups to Watch in 2018

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Data breaches and cyber attacks continue to besiege IT departments, so not surprisingly, the nearly $100 billion cyber security market continues to thrive, driving innovation and spurring more and more startups to enter the space. Here are 20 promising cyber security startups, all founded within the last few years, addressing hot security areas like IoT, blockchain, AI and machine learning. These recent startups offer a wide range of different services for a variety of industry verticals.

See our picks for top cybersecurity companies.

1. Armis – IoT security

Founded in 2015
Based in Palo Alto, California

Armis came out of stealth in June 2017. The company's agentless IoT security platform is designed to provide enterprises with a complete view into activity and threats on all devices and networks, allowing users to see and control compromised and unmanaged devices and rogue networks accessing their systems. In early deployments, Armis demonstrated that companies were unaware of 40 percent of the devices in their environment. Armis researchers uncovered the BlueBorne Bluetooth flaw in September 2017.

2. Awake Security – advanced security analytics

Founded in 2014
Based in Mountain View, California

After two years in stealth mode, Awake Security launched in July 2017. Its Security Knowledge Graph data model leverages machine learning and behavioral analytics to pre-correlate, profile and track all network entities – the aim is to help security analysts uncover and investigate threats in ways that otherwise wouldn't be possible. The company says its customers typically see a 10x improvement in the speed and effectiveness of investigations, while uncovering previously unknown threats and activity.

3. Baffle – encryption as a service

Founded in 2015
Based in Santa Clara, California

Baffle offers end-to-end encryption as a service, with the aim of making encryption easy to implement without impacting application performance. The solution can be deployed on any public or private cloud within minutes. The idea is simply to assume that breaches will happen, and ensure that unencrypted data is never be available to an attacker – data is encrypted as soon as it's produced, and it remains encrypted even when it's being processed.

4. Balbix – ongoing risk assessment

Founded in 2015
Based in San Jose, California

Balbix's predictive breach risk platform uses predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to provide a continual assessment of risk and resilience visualized on a searchable and clickable heat map.  On an ongoing basis, the platform calculates the breach risk of each device, user and app in the enterprise, the likelihood of a breach across hundreds of attack vectors, and the potential business impact of every asset connected to the network.

5. Block Armour – blockchain security

Founded in 2016
Based in Mumbai, India

Block Armour leverages blockchain, SDP (software-defined perimeter) and transport layer security (TLS) technology to provide what the company calls a Blockchain Defined Perimeter (BDP), isolating critical infrastructure and providing secure access to authorized users and devices. Co-founders Abhijit Dhongade and Narayan Neelakantan were previously the head of the security operations (SOC) and CISO, respectively, at India's National Stock Exchange.

6. BlueVoyant – threat intelligence, managed services

Founded in 2017
Based in New York City

BlueVoyant provides advanced threat detection, threat intelligence and breach investigations for larger companies, and managed cyber security services for smaller companies. The company was founded in August 2017 as BlueteamGlobal, a merger of BitVoyant, K2G and K2 Intelligence. The co-founders are former Morgan Stanley COO Jim Rosenthal and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer.

7. Claroty – optimal ICS security

Founded in 2014
Based in New York City

The Claroty Platform provides IT security personnel and control room engineers with full visibility, continuous threat detection, secure remote access and ongoing risk assessments for ICS, SCADA and other operational technology (OT) networks. A centralized management console provides a unified view of assets, activities, alerts and access requests. With no active scanning required, the company says the platform has zero impact on the OT network.

8. CryptoMove – moving target defense

Founded in 2015
Based in San Mateo, California

CryptoMove protects sensitive data on premises and in the cloud with moving target defense (MTD) – dynamic movement, distribution, re-encryption and mutation of data. The idea is simple: decentralized, fragmented and encrypted data in motion is much more difficult to steal than centralized data, since even a successful attack can only reveal encrypted fragments. The founders are father and son team Boris and Mike Burshteyn.

9. Elastic Beam – AI for API security

Founded in 2014
Based in Redwood City, California

Elastic Beam emerged from stealth in July 2017. The company's ABI Behavioral Security (ABS) solution uses artificial intelligence to examine API transactions for cyber attacks. API Security Enforcer (ASE) delivers high-performance processing of API traffic with real-time security, as well as API deception as a trap for hackers. Both solutions can be deployed on premises or in the cloud.

10. Infocyte – automated threat hunting

Founded in 2014
Based in San Antonio, Texas

The Infocyte HUNT agentless breach detection platform automates the search for threats, leveraging Forensic State Analysis (FSA) to assess endpoints, including user devices and servers, for signs of compromise. No complicated equipment or endpoint software installations are required. Infocyte HUNT can be used to validate alerts from a SIEM, network or endpoint product by scanning the endpoint in question.

11. JASK – AI-based SO

Founded in 2016
Based in San Francisco, California

The JASK Autonomous Security Operations Center (ASOC) platform leverages AI and machine learning to automate basic and repetitive security operations tasks, freeing SOC analysts to focus on higher priority issues with enhanced visibility. The solution monitors networks end to end, providing a clear picture of the attack surface and applying machine learning based analytics to detect potentially malicious behavior. The result, according to the company, is an increase in operational efficiency by a factor of 10.

12. MagicCube – IoT security

Founded in 2014
Based in Santa Clara, California

MagicCube provides a software Trusted Execution Environment (sTEE) platform for mobile and IoT devices (including connected cars, medical devices, point-of-sale systems, etc.), protecting user activity, logic and data on virtually any device. Unlike hardware, deployment is straightforward, and the solution can be updated remotely. The security of all protected devices can be managed via MagicCube's miniCloud back-end.

13. Obsidian Security – AI for hybrid cloud security

Founded in 2017
Based in Newport Beach, California

Obsidian, founded by former Cylance execs Glenn Chisholm and Matt Wolff along with former Carbon Black CTO and co-founder Ben Johnson, is focused on leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to help enterprises improve user security across hybrid cloud environments – it's an area where security challenges keep increasing, and automation is a perfect fit.

14. PerimeterX – stopping bots with AI

Founded in 2014
Based in San Mateo, California

PerimeterX Bot Defender leverages machine learning based behavioral analytics to maximize accuracy and scalability in detecting bot activity. The solution's management console displays all normal and malicious bot activity on the user's site in real time. Reporting can be filtered based on time and risk score, country, IP, or custom parameters. Bot Defender can be deployed in minutes, and works with on-premises, cloud and CDN infrastructure.

15. Respond Software – machine learning analytics

Founded in 2016
Based in Mountain View, California

The Respond Analyst solution automates the process of determining whether to escalate an incident or not – and when an event is escalated, the solution provides detailed decision results about the escalation. The idea is that the Respond Analyst becomes an SOC team member that learns and adapts to an organization's unique needs, while freeing human analysts to focus on handling actual security incidents. The solution can be deployed in less than two hours, with no scripting or training required.

16. Protenus – AI for healthcare security

Founded in 2014
Based in Baltimore, Maryland

Protenus uses artificial intelligence to protect electronic health records (EHRs) by auditing access to patient records and monitoring for suspicious activity. Reporting and alerts can be customized based on an organization's priorities and policies. The solution similarly leverages AI to monitor the movement of controlled substances throughout an organization in order to catch clinical drug diversion early. A single dashboard provides a comprehensive view of user behavior across all data systems.

17. Shift Technology – AI to combat insurance fraud

Founded in 2014
Based in Paris, France

Shift Technology's Force solution uses artificial intelligence to automate the fraud detection process for insurance claims. The SaaS solution is designed to integrate seamlessly with an insurer's legacy systems, and updates and enhancements are deployed without client involvement. Shift's upcoming Luke (Force, Luke – get it?) automatic claim handling solution will similarly use AI to streamline the process of claim handling, from the filing of the claim to policyholder payout.

18. ThreatBook – China-based threat intelligence

Founded in 2015
Based in Beijing, China

ThreatBook is China's first comprehensive threat intelligence company, providing a subscription-based service that leverages a unique understanding of China's threat landscape. The company's data collecting source channels are focused in China, and ThreatBook covers over 99 percent of mobile apps hosted in Chinese third-party app stores. The company also offers malware analysis and threat incident response services.

19. ThreatInformer – risk information for cyber insurers

Founded in 2016
Based in London, England

ThreatInformer provides automated cyber risk reports for insurance brokers and underwriters, helping to determine what type of coverage is required, identify risk management opportunities, and reduce risk. Brokers are provided with tailored client risk profiles and assisted in identifying cross-selling opportunities, and underwriters are given the information they need to fully assess cyber risk, with standardized, verifiable data on all insureds and the ability to view risk accumulation in real time.

20. Xage Security – blockchain for IIoT

Founded in 2016
Based in Palo Alto, California

After 18 months in stealth mode, Xage officially launched in December 2017 as the first and only blockchain-protected security platform for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The Xage Security Suite distributes authentication and private data across the network of devices, creating what the company describes as a tamper-proof, blockchain-protected security fabric for communication, authentication and trust.

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