Anand Ramanathan, on Mar 07 2019
Armorblox - Finally Solving Security’s Two Biggest Problems
In my 5+ years at Proofpoint, threat vectors evolved rapidly, from spam to phishing. As a result, we moved away from being just an anti-spam company to building our advanced threat suite. Subsequently, at Skyhigh, we set out to help organizations monitor employee access to cloud services and created the Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) category. At both of these companies, I witnessed that there were two constants that impacted how one secures an organization:
- Adversaries are constantly evolving their tactics to get around security products, so security products need to keep up through innovation and disruption.
- The most vulnerable part of the security ecosystem continues to be the humans who are part of these organizations.
These constants, however, create a security conundrum that many players in this industry have been trying to solve for over two decades. Traditional solutions have either relied on a community of analysts or malware-centric technology to address this problem. The industry has made great strides, but achieving high levels of effectiveness continues to be an elusive goal.
Enter Armorblox. When I met DJ and Anand two years ago, it was very clear that they had a new approach to solving these problems. They had spent time in security as well as other technology sectors, and had a new perspective on how to solve this conundrum. Their approach of leveraging both deep learning and natural language understanding (NLU) addressed both these constants:
- Deep learning evolves faster in an automated fashion, and ensures protection against the adversaries’ evolving tactics because it can adapt quickly.
- NLU thinks like a human to secure the human layer.
This is a powerful combination and can be applied to offer the high levels of protection enterprises are seeking from their email security solutions. By building a broad-based NLU platform that cuts across a diverse array of data sources, Armorblox can use the same engine to detect and protect organizations against data loss, and highlight risk exposure to organizations resulting from sensitive data sitting in mailboxes or documents.
During my time in the email security industry, it was fascinating to wake up every morning and watch a whole new set of attack vectors that attackers crafted, and then determine how our product could defend against them. As the attacks migrated from spam to simplistic phishing links and malware emails, it still stayed within the spectrum of metadata-based attacks.
However, most of the attacks we see today have evolved to text-based attacks that try to compromise the trust of an employee through information contained in the body of the email. With the maturing of NLU technologies, Armorblox sits at the exciting intersection of cutting-edge technology being applied to a widespread problem that has resulted in over $12 billion lost to hackers just in the past two years.
Just a few weeks ago, Armorblox launched out of stealth mode. They have a great set of investors and advisors supporting them. I wish all the best to them for their unbridled success in protecting their customers with next-gen email security solutions.
Anand Ramanathan is an advisor to Armorblox. He is Vice President of Product Management at McAfee, responsible for Skyhigh’s product strategy, execution and user experience. Prior to Skyhigh, Anand was VP of Product Management at Proofpoint, where he managed the core advanced email security product line.