Existing cyber security solutions are demonstrably failing to catch malware, as well as a wide range of socially engineered attacks launched via social media, email and messaging apps. At the same time, companies are struggling to deal with the flood of alerts they receive from their existing security solutions. There’s simply too much signal around, and businesses lack the skilled personnel and processes needed to deal with this issue effectively.
That’s why Wing is co-leading the $9M Series A round for SlashNext, the leader in advanced protection against socially engineered attacks, malware, exploits and data theft. SlashNext provides answers, not signal, and the efficacy with which it detects attacks represents a quantum improvement over existing solutions. The last time I saw this kind of transformational shift in the performance of cyber security software was at FireEye, which I incubated while at Sequoia Capital just over a decade ago.
This is part of a broader historical pattern. The early 1990s, prior to the rise of the internet browser, saw the rise of companies like Symantec and Checkpoint offering email anti-virus products and network firewalls. A decade later, the explosion of rich browser-enabled services had grown the attack surface dramatically, spawning an entirely new set of threats that existing vendors were unable to protect against. Companies like FireEye and Palo Alto Networks came to the fore, offering anti-malware products and application firewalls. Today, another decade further on, we are living through a new era of attacks via social engineering and other vectors that existing vendors cannot deal with, as the constant drumbeat of hacking headlines shows.
Atif Mushtaq, the founder of SlashNext, and his team have built technology and a product to address these threats, leveraging an entirely new set of defensive technologies. SlashNext’s cloud-based solution uses a unique form of machine learning, dubbed “Progressive Learning”, to identify attacks. This effectively translates expert security researchers’ deep human knowledge of hacker behavior into a codified solution that forms a core part of the company’s Active Cyber Defense System product, which has already been adopted by a number of leading-edge customers.
My partner Peter Wagner has written about the potential of “Data-First” applications that combine large data sets with advanced algorithms to tackle hard challenges in areas such as cyber security. SlashNext is a great example of this approach in action. It’s also very easy to get up and running. With no software required on endpoints and no policy configuration needed, it can be deployed in about 20 minutes, even on very large networks.
I’m excited to be joining SlashNext’s board alongside Promod Haque of Norwest Venture Partners, and I look forward to working closely with Atif and the rest of the team as they grow the business into a significant company that matters for the long term.