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IoT Security: Former Aruba, Cisco and NetApp Execs Invest In CloudPost Networks

Should one security technology, or one approach, end up dominating how enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) devices and networks are safeguarded from malicious code, somebody is going to make a lot of money and have legions of fans.

But that singular result isn’t likely to occur anytime soon, if at all. And, as we’re beginning to see, the in-between stuff is no small matter. This is the task ahead: Look up in the night sky–see all those stars? Now think of a way to tag each one–either individually or collectively–so that they don’t burn up at some point even though it’s inevitable they will.

Until that problem is solved we’ve got a lot of reasonable questions like these:

  • Will it behoove device makers to bake security into each “thing?”
  • Will endpoint technology be the answer?
  • Will architectural and services-based systems rule?
  • Will risk management software carry the day?
  • How about home automation–what can we learn from that about scaling IoT security?

Or, will newly conjured ideas and technologies surface as the IoT evolves?

Some Venture Capitalists Place Their Bets…

Right now, as it should be, no one knows for certain. Security startup CloudPost Networks, based in Santa Clara, Calif, is betting on risk management software–controls that can be audited. The newbie has just landed $4 million in a seed funding round led by Wing Venture Capital, private money from a notable entrepreneur and three former top IT executives:

  • Dan Warmenhoven, former NetApp executive chairman and CEO;
  • Dominic Orr, most recently president at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company; and
  • Pankaj Patel, former EVP & CDO of Cisco.

Prakash Bhalerao, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, is also backing the company.

What could explain their interest in CloudPost? The former IT executives each has extensive networking expertise, and two have something potentially telling in common: IPO experience, a signal they believe risk management technology will favorably compete for IoT security leadership going forward.

Warmenhoven, NetApp’s CEO from 1994 to 2009 and executive chairman from 2009 to 2014, led that company’s initial public offering (IPO) in November 1995. And, Orr, who helmed Aruba from 2006 through its $3 billion acquisition by HPE in March, 2015, took Aruba public in 2007.

For their part, both Patel and Bhalerao are involved with startups. Patel is focused on incubating, building, scaling and advising startups with their strategy and go-to-market; and Bhalerao has co-founded a number of Silicon Valley startups.

CloudPost’s Executive Leadership

From the viewpoint of CloudPost’s top brass, the IoT is the next vector for hacker attacks, owing to the number of devices and the high potential for exposure. That’s an industry-wide consensus. However, it’s the lack of audit, controls and policies that renders IT security blind to those devices, CloudPost believes. Accordingly, its technology aims to identify IoT devices and vulnerabilities, manage risks, and protect new and legacy business-critical systems.

Pandian Gnanaprakasam (pictured above), CloudPost’s CEO and co-founder, described the company’s approach to IoT security in a blog post:

“Our team has been working in computer networking for years–and one thing became apparent to us–our campus switching brothers were asleep at the wheel,” he said. “Everyone around us in the networking world was focusing on the fascinating endeavor of helping more people communicate with each other in faster and more efficient ways.”

Unfortunately, security innovation was taking a back seat, he said.

“We decided it was time to turn the problem on its head. Security would no longer be a piecemeal after thought, centered around chasing out the bad guys. It could be about enforcing an order and preventing the threat in the first place.”

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