In what may be the most ironic timing in the history of cybersecurity and funding, Altitude Networks, the cloud collaboration security platform, today announced it has officially launched with the close of $9 million in series A funding. The round was led by Felicis Ventures with participation from Slack Fund, previous investor Accomplice, and a personal investment from Alex Stamos. Aydin Senkut, founder and managing director of Felicis, will join the board. The capital will be used to fund the company’s growth and customer acquisition strategies.
Here comes the irony: Altitude Networks was co-founded by Michael Coates and Amir Kavousian. Coates is a 15-year veteran of the security industry and former CISO of Twitter, head of security for Mozilla and chairman of OWASP. Before founding Altitude, Kavousian was a lead data scientist at Capital One, where his experience in machine learning was used to create fraud detection platforms.
If you missed it – the issue is Capital One suffered one of the largest bank breaches in history – we broke the news recently.
The fascinating part of this funding news is the Capital One breach shows just how screwed up the state of cloud security is.
Companies have a false sense of security about cloud – like some sort of cloud deity watches over your data for you. Perhaps they think Jeff Bezos is monitoring their precious databases.Rich Tehrani, Visionary, Tech Expert
Out of sight and out of mind is a major problem for companies – many have failed to realize this problem.
So there is irony here but also a major current event piece of news which allows Altitude to benefit from a major industry challenge.
Companies are increasingly adopting cloud services that enable employee collaboration and document sharing, such as G Suite, Box, Office 365 and Slack. On average, companies use 27 different cloud apps and services. Yet security and IT professionals have no way of monitoring how sensitive data is moving, when employees become malicious, or compromised, or simply make mistakes, such as changing link sharing settings.
A Ponemon report in 2018 found that:
- 49% of respondents said cloud services make it more difficult to protect confidential or sensitive information
- 63% percent said their organization has third-party users accessing their data and information in the cloud
- 57% did not believe that their organization is careful about sharing sensitive information with third parties in the cloud environment
Altitude Networks was created to tackle data security in the cloud to protect enterprises against unauthorized data access, accidental or malicious sharing to unintended individuals, and data theft. Beyond personally identifiable information (PII) or payment information, Altitude monitors privileged and sensitive materials for potentially damaging sharing, such as legal documents, internal financial data, or confidential product roadmaps shared with unauthorized internal or external accounts or even personal Gmail accounts. The platform is designed to support multiple SaaS applications, beginning with G Suite and Box and expanding to Office 365, Slack, Salesforce and others.
Leveraging the successes of data science for fraud detection, Altitude Networks applies those tenets to cybersecurity and cloud collaboration. Combined with file metadata and relationship analysis, Altitude accurately pinpoints business-critical files that are shared in highly risky ways that could lead to a data breach. For example, in multiple customers where Altitude is analyzing millions of files, it identified highly sensitive financial reports and board decks shared with personal email accounts of employees.
Companies are using Altitude Networks to fill the gap of security in cloud collaboration for multiple threats including:
- Protecting intellectual property from theft by offboarding employees
- Validating ex-contractors don’t have residual access to data through other accounts
- Preventing sharing of critical internal files to personal accounts
- Blocking inadvertent internal sharing of sensitive or privileged files to the entire company
- Identifying and remediating public access to critical company files
Designed for companies of any size, Altitude Networks seamlessly integrates directly into cloud applications and provide continuous protection without endpoint software agents or network proxy devices. Customers can integrate Altitude into their cloud environment in less than 30 minutes with an initial discovery of critical risks in a matter of hours.
We think Altitude is in the right place at the right time as cloud cybersecurity needs more focus. We wish them luck.