Startup Axonius steps in to help enterprises (re)tackle the basics

A Savage Security Market Report

Company Data

Axonius is an Israeli security startup focusing on the problem of asset discovery and management. YL Ventures led a $4 million seed round for Axonius, with Vertex Ventures and Emerge participating.

Identifying the Problem

Axonius will focus, in particular, on the influx of IoT devices in the enterprise. Yoav Leitersdorf, managing partner at YL Ventures, has described this influx as a “Cambrian-like explosion”. Yoav’s description isn’t far off the mark, though the problem is even more problematic than just new devices. The average organization still struggles with existing devices. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend that emerged in the late-2000s is still an unsolved problem for a significant percentage of organizations today.

During the Cambrian period, nearly every major animal phylum we have today emerged in a relatively short period of time. Trilobites like this one were common, but not vulnerable to insecure default credentials as far as we know.

Why hasn’t this been solved yet?

Our market is full of machine learning, big data and even virtual reality interfaces. So why, as an industry, haven’t we properly addressed so many of the basics? The answer is simple: the basics are hard. It might not be the sexiest problem to solve, but asset management is critical to an effective security program. We can’t secure what we don’t know about. The security industry has some serious unfinished business to contend with.


The core of the problem Axonius addresses is visibility. It’s not that products offering visibility don’t exist — the market is full of them, in fact. The problem is that most of these products are siloed and geared toward different audiences. Gigamon and Solarwinds favor network admins. Qualys, Tenable and Rapid7 can gather a wide variety of information from devices, but access to their repositories tends to be limited and the information represents a point-in-time that can grow stale and inconsistent. Tanium can answer questions about an environment in real-time, but has a server and workstation focus.


It will be easier to properly judge Axonius’s competitors at later stages, but currently, there seem to be at least a few offering some similar functionality. Claroty, Bayshore Networks and SecurityMatters are examples that focus on OT (Operational Technology, as opposed to IT — Information Technology). We’re interested to see if this is an effective approach long-term, especially concerning who the buyer might be. If Axonius can succeed on the OT side of the equation, it will be serious competition for the OT-only platforms.

The Future

Real-time notification of state changes, new unauthorized devices and firmware update availability are all things to look forward to. The industry has some work to do to get there, but there’s no reason to aim for less than complete situational awareness regarding the assets we own. Expect to see more startups in this category, overlapping with it and adjacent to it. Asset management and identification is one of the basics we need to master sooner rather than later.



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Adrian Sanabria

Information security veteran blogging primarily about how technology can hinder or help productivity and progress here. Co-founder of Savage Security.