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RSA Conference 2016 special coverage: News and analysis

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Security startups vie for honors in RSA Innovation Sandbox

The RSA 2016 Innovation Sandbox competition highlights the top security startups, but only one will be awarded title of 'RSA Conference 2016's Most Innovative Startup.'

Security startups are seemingly everywhere these days, but a select group of new infosec players will soon be competing...

for startup supremacy in the Innovation Sandbox competition at RSA Conference 2016.

While winning the top honors may not be a guarantee of future success, past winners of the RSA Innovation Sandbox include Sourcefire (2005), Imperva (2006), Appthority (2012) and Waratek (2015). But it is more than just an honor to be nominated: Some big names in infosec have been runners-up in the competition over the past decade, including HyTrust, Cylance, Bromium, Silent Circle and many more.

In this year's contest, the 11th for Innovation Sandbox, another 10 new security startups will compete for the top spot. The winner will be chosen on the basis of a three-minute pitch, plus a demo of their product on the first day of the RSA Conference -- Monday, Feb. 29.

Security startups chosen as finalists this year, in alphabetical order, include:

Bastille Networks. Based in Atlanta, Bastille is nominated "for its work to secure the enterprise through detection and mitigation of threats from wireless Internet of Things devices," according to its announcement. The company offers tools for scanning an organization's "air space," which gives security personnel the ability to detect and monitor every radio frequency emitting device on premises. Bastille's technology can be used to detect and mitigate emerging threats related to IoT, giving its customers awareness of threats by scanning the entire radio spectrum for traffic from networked "things."

Illusive networks. Tel Aviv-based illusive networks' Deceptions Everywhere technology takes a "deceptions-based, post-breach cybersecurity" approach to neutralize attacks after attackers have entered the network. "By covering a company's entire network -- every endpoint, server and network component -- with ever-changing deceptions, illusive networks disrupts and detects breaches, with real-time forensics and without disruption to business," according to the company. To avoid false positive alerts, the system reacts only when attackers attempt to connect to the resources that appear to exist only within illusive's "alternate reality."

Menlo Security. Email and Web security startup Menlo Security, based in Menlo Park, Calif., offers protection to organizations through isolation. Rather than attempting to distinguish between "good" and "bad" content, Menlo's Security Isolation Platform keeps all Web content, email links and documents isolated in the cloud before it reaches an endpoint, and then executes it to determine whether the content should be blocked. According to Menlo, its Adaptive Clientless Rendering technology delivers "a malware-free rendering of the user's isolated session to their native browser, providing a transparent user experience that is 100% safe every time."

Phantom Cyber Corp. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Phantom Cyber offers a "security automation and orchestration platform," capable of integrating with a company's existing security technologies. Phantom depends on digital "Playbooks" -- Python scripts for automating security responses to particular events -- to execute security operations responses in a way that is repeatable and auditable, using existing security tools. "Phantom accomplishes this through a logical architecture that abstracts product capabilities, through the Phantom App model, into simple actions that can be automated from within Playbooks. This allows Phantom to act as an 'operating system' for your security products."

Prevoty Inc. Los Angeles-based Prevoty offers Runtime Application Self-Protection security monitoring with a twist: Rather than monitoring activity from outside, Prevoty's tools let the applications monitor themselves. Prevoty's application security engine monitors and protects applications at runtime, with plug-ins for existing .NET or Java applications, or with Prevoty's software development kits for developing new applications.

ProtectWise Inc. The Denver-based cloud security firm, ProtectWise, was nominated for its Cloud Network DVR --  or Detection Visibility and Response -- which offers customers a "virtual camera in the cloud that records everything on the network." The platform uses software sensors deployed on any network segment to do packet capture of all network traffic, and then stream the data back to the cloud platform for threat detection analysis. ProtectWise can store that data "for an unlimited amount of time, and whenever there is a shift in the threat intelligence landscape," they are able to "go back in time" to analyze historical data for previously undetected attack activity.

SafeBreach Inc. Continuous security validation firm SafeBreach, based in Israel, offers an "always on" breach validation platform that plays out breach methods on customer systems and networks in order to detect holes before actual hackers are able to find them. SafeBreach provides "a platform to better inform defense, one that looks at how a potential attacker views, prioritizes and targets an infrastructure, and then how they reach their ultimate target," according to the company. "SafeBreach's breach validation platform continuously executes scenarios -- based on extensive security research and drawing from actual investigations -- to simulate real attacks and determine actual risk."

Skyport Systems Inc. Based in Mountain View, Calif., "hypersecured infrastructure" company Skyport Systems offers a hardened, on-premises server appliance that is entirely managed over the cloud. SkySecure is "a turnkey platform to run and manage application workloads that are the highest priority for the business to protect," according to the company. "It fully integrates hardware, software and service components to simplify the assembly, deployment and operational effort needed to manage secure servers."

Vera. Data protection startup Vera, based in Palo Alto, Calif., offers a "zero-touch, zero-friction data protection and encryption" product that lets enterprises secure, track and audit their data across devices, applications and platforms. Vera enables customers to apply security policies to their data that persist even when the data has moved outside the enterprise network, and access to sensitive data can be revoked at any time. According to the company, files are transmitted with data loss protection policies, and data can be accessed seamlessly by those with authorization -- but Vera-protected files will be unreadable to users lacking authorization.

Versa Networks. Software-defined network startup Versa Networks, based in Santa Clara, Calif., offers service providers and enterprises the ability to build next-generation WAN and branch networks based on a broad set of virtualized network functions. According to the company, "Versa VNF-based solutions eliminate costly and proprietary network hardware to increase service agility and significantly reduce total cost of ownership."

Next Steps

Read about cybersecurity and CES 2016, and how the omission of security from consumer products may doom us.

Learn about a new U.K. program to support cybersecurity startups.

Find out more about some security startups that are using the art of deception to add security.



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Conference Coverage

RSA Conference 2016 special coverage: News and analysis
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