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CIA Invests In Cloud, Web Analytics Startups

In-Q-Tel, a Central Intelligence Agency-based non-profit, will work with Cleversafe and Silver Tail Systems to adapt the companies' technologies for intelligence work.

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A Central Intelligence Agency-based organization has tapped two startups specializing in cloud-based storage and web analytics to work with federal intelligence agencies.

In-Q-Tel, a non-profit that identifies emerging technologies to support the U.S. intelligence community, has made strategic investments in Cleversafe and Silver Tail Systems.

Cleversafe, based in Chicago, provides cloud-based storage that takes a unique approach to storing data, which makes it a good fit for the kind of sensitive information the CIA and other intelligence agencies deal with, according to In-Q-Tel.

One of the concerns about using the cloud for storing data is how secure it will be on a network that also stores data that other companies and agencies might need to access.

Cleversafe uses Dispersed Storage technology, which transforms and portions out data into secure slices, and then disperses these slices to multiple storage nodes that are usually located in three or four data centers, according to In-Q-Tel. In this way, each slice becomes unrecognizable as data, which makes it inherently secure.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Silver Tail Systems' technology also is focused on security. The company provides fraud-prevention technology for websites by using web behavioral analytics to identify threats, according to In-Q-Tel.

The way the technology works is to defend against attacks that attempt to exploit legitimate business logic in a web-based system, said In-Q-Tel. It monitors website traffic and identifies potential threats in real time, blocking them before they can infiltrate a system.

The CIA launched In-Q-Tel in 1999 as an independent entity to find useful new technologies to support the intelligence community's mission. In-Q-Tel's investment in Silver Tail and Cleversafe means the organization will work with both companies to adapt and optimize their technologies for the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

Other technologies targeted by In-Q-Tel in its more than 10 years of work include risk-assessment, mobility, knowledge management, and collaboration.

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