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8/4/2008
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Three New Security Startups Launch Today

Web Security as a Service, anti-malware firms emerge from stealth mode today despite economic uncertainties

The economy may look grim, but that didn’t stop three security startups from launching today in the hot Web security-as-a-service (SaaS) and next-generation anti-malware software arenas.

Interestingly, two of the startups are Web security services firms that were founded by former executives at email security firm CipherTrust, which was purchased by Secure Computing over a year ago -- Purewire by former CipherTrust managers Mike Van Bruinisse, Paul Judge, and Mark Caldwell, and Zscaler by Jay Chaudhry, who started up CipherTrust.

NovaShield, the anti-malware startup, was founded by several researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is offering a pre-release version of its first product, NovaShield AntiMalware 2.0, as a free 90-day trial. The software is based on technology developed at the university, which can detect new malware using what NovaShield calls “specification-based modeling,” akin to behavioral monitoring for catching unknown threats.

The two new Web SaaS startup founders say their brand of services will be easier for security managers to sell due to the increasing problem of Web security and the need for a more flexible way to secure Web traffic than URL filtering appliances. “When [budgets are] tighter, the service model [demonstrates] benefits,” Zscaler’s Chaudhry.

Zscaler’s new service, which is priced between $1 to $5 per user per month based on the number of users and service arrangement, boasts a multitenant service model. “We manage thousands of customers on the same infrastructure rather than a dedicated” setup, Chaudhry says. The Zscaler Global Security Network can handle 250,000 transactions per second, according to Zscaler.

“Following the successful adoption of email security in the cloud, we are seeing increased interest from large and small organizations to leverage SaaS security to protect their HTTP/HTTPS channel,” said Brian Burke, program director for security products at IDC. “SaaS is ideal for large corporations with dozens of Internet gateways where deploying traditional point products is very expensive. It is a good fit for small businesses, which do not have enough IT staff.”

Purewire’s new Web Security Service classifies Websites on the fly along with traditional URL filtering, and also analyzes user reputation to help protect its customers from user-created Web content threats. Purewire’s Web SaaS starts at $30 per user per year, and comes with volume discounts. The company also announced that former president and CEO of IBM’s Internet Security Systems is one of its investors and is serving on the PureWire board of directors.

“The changes in Web technologies over the last several years, such as user-generated content and AJAX-based applications, require a security approach that goes beyond basic URL filtering," IDC’s Burke says. "Purewire has taken a unique approach to address the complete Web security problem, particularly with the company's focus on script-based browser attacks and user reputation, which are needed to maintain trust and safety in today's Web environment."

NovaShield, meanwhile, is designed to take over where signature scanning leaves off, according to Somesh Jha, co-founder and chief scientist at NovaShield.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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