Will these 13 Cybersecurity Unicorns help tackle the mounting Challenge?
The Role of these well-funded private companies takes the center stage as the data breaches become more prevalent
Majority of the people who venture online have seen their security compromised at one point or the other — at our end, we can practice using safe online browsing techniques, but once the data hits the external servers, things are not in your hand. The companies have to do their part to safeguard the users' data. Unfortunately, either the hackers are becoming smarter or the companies & organizations are not doing enough to secure online communication.
Case in point, the recent cyberattack on Bulgaria’s tax agency where data of most adults in the country of 7 million people was stolen. Imagine data of all the citizens of a country in the hands of a government agency being compromised! The scary part is that hack occurred back in June and they only got to find out about it a month later from the “perpetrator” via an email.
Apparently, a 20-year old has been arrested in connection with the crime as the investigation continues with the tax agency now facing fine of up to 20 million Euros from the Personal Data Protection watchdog. Wish they had spent this money on installing better protection.
In a related incident, Russia’s Secret Intelligence Agency FSB was hacked with a bounty of 7.5 terabytes of data from a major contractor. Ironic, considering Russia gets the most blame for state-sponsored Cybercrime. If the intelligence agencies of a country who are supposed to have foolproof security aren’t safe from the nefarious actors, then who is? Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) highlights the current state of data breaches & Cybercrime.
The report analyzed 40,000 separate security incidents with 2,000 confirmed data breaches in 2018 alone. The chart above summarizes the origin of the cyber attacks over the years — The share of organized crime has receded significantly from the peak of about 80% in 2015 to less than 40%, but the worrisome part is the gradual increase in the State-sponsored & Activist type cyber attacks.
The question arises then — Are the web businesses doing their best to protect users data from malicious attacks, security lapses & data breaches. Apparently not. France’s regulator fined Google $57 million under GDPR (EU’s data protection regulation) and the UK data watchdog fined British Airways a record $230 million for a data breach last year.
Over in the U.S, credit monitoring company Equifax got fined for $575 million by the Federal Trade Commission for the massive hack of 2017 which affected 147 million people. And who can forget the $5B fine by the Federal Trade Commission handed out to Facebook for its infamous Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
My question is the same again — willing to pay these mammoth fines but not spending enough on safeguarding their networks? Or maybe the regulators should ask them to upgrade their systems with better security features rather than just dishing out fines, which these cash-rich companies can easily pay & get away with it.
Not all is lost on this front though. According to a CB Insights report, Investment activity in the Cybersecurity startups is rising, 2018 alone saw 617 deals going to Cybersecurity companies — almost 40% increase compared to 2015. With 4 Cybersecurity companies joining the global unicorn club this year, a total of 13 private cybersecurity companies are now valued at $1B+ each.
Let’s take a brief look at how they are making the virtual world a safer place.
❶ Tanium — Offers a lightning-fast platform for endpoint management, Operations and security (California-based, valuation $6.6B)
❷ Qi An Xin — Fastest growing security company in the Chinese market providing provides big data, content, endpoint, and perimeter security for customers (Beijing-based, valuation $2.5B)
❸ Cloudflare —The company provides dual services of speeding up the online access & protecting data online by routing the traffic through its own global network (California-based, valuation $1.8B)
❹ Kaseya — Software security solutions allowing customers to manage, secure, and backup IT. Geared towards mid-sized companies and Managed Service Provider (MSP) businesses (New York-based, valuation $1.8B)
❺ Darktrace — Provides AI-based solutions to manage risk emanating from cyber attacks. Helps enterprise customers secure their IT infrastructure after it has been compromised (England-based, valuation $1.7B)
❻ Lookout — Securing mobile devices against App, device, and network-level threats in the post-perimeter world. Virus scans, data backup & restoration and help in finding stolen phones (California-based, valuation $1.3B)
❼ 4Paradigm — Another AI-enabled platform used to detect fraud, improve efficiency & reduce risk by analyzing customer habits. Targets mainly financial services firms (Beijing-based, valuation $1.2B)
❽ Illumio — Specializes in securing data centers & resolving Cloud security challenges with techniques like micro-segmentation & real-time application dependency mapping (California-based, valuation $1.0B)
❾ Tongdun Technologies — Proclaiming itself as intelligent risk management and decision-making service provider by using big data, AI, and cloud computing ( Zhejiang-based, valuation $1.0B)
❿ Netskope — Protector of data in Cloud applications & the Cloud infrastructure. Useful for enterprises using multiple Cloud-based platforms providing a unified control point (California-based, valuation $1.0B)
⓫ Auth0 — A universal authentication & identification platform for web, mobile and legacy applications (Washington-based, valuation $1.0B)
⓬ KnowBe4 —Provides IT security tools to test the users and your network, by training them on recognizing red flags via simulated security threats (Florida-based, valuation $1.0B)
⓭ Druva — A SaaS company providing Cloud data management & protection services. Focused on reducing cloud data handling costs by implementing cloud-based disaster recovery, secure enterprise mobility & more (California-based, valuation $1.0B)
At the outset, all these well-funded cybersecurity companies seem poised to take on the challenge of securing various networks & platforms from data breaches & other kinds of cyberattacks. Their success will depend on whether they can stay one step ahead of the nefarious players.