By their nature, the traditional security tools that organizations use to protect their in-house workloads don’t lend themselves too well to modern services deployed in the cloud or inside containers. As a result, chief information officers are turning to new-generation breach prevention providers such as Contrast Security Inc., which raised $16 million in funding today to capitalize on the demand.
The Palo Alto-based startup plans to accomplish this by stepping up sales efforts and developing new features for its namesake runtime protection platform. The system enables developers to quickly build security functionality into their projects by embedding an agent that can be set up without making code changes, doesn’t require modifying any configuration settings and takes about a minute to install altogether. From there, the module can immediately start monitoring an application’s internal components using a patented threat detection method that Contrast refers to as deep security instrumentation.
The startup’s platform analyzes activity data from more than 10 different sources including the application server on which a workload is running, its runtime libraries and the core business logic. According to Contrast, this approach provides a better view of potential threats than traditional security solutions like firewalls that usually run separately from the services they protect and only a limited view of their inner workings Its system can use the extra information to find everything from code vulnerabilities to malicious users in the process of a hacking attempt.
Contrast also sells a complementary software testing tool that uses the same deep security instrumentation to eliminate exploits during development. The startup claims that its solutions are is used by IBM Corp., Autodesk Inc. and several other major enterprises around the world.
Today’s funding should enable Contrast to expand adoption even further. The investment was led by General Catalyst Partners and saw the participation of several other notable investors including Microsoft Corp. chairman John Thompson, former Akamai Technologies Inc. CEO Paul Sagan and security entrepreneur Ron Gula. It bumps Contrast’s total raised to $24 million.