UPDATED 06:00 EST / JUNE 06 2017

INFRA

Balbix touts new security platform that predicts where data breaches are most likely to happen

Balbix Inc. comes out of stealth today as the latest in a long line of startups that are aiming to upend the traditional information technology security industry.

Balbix is launching with what it claims is the industry’s first-ever “predictive breach-risk” platform that aims to shore up organizations’ network defenses. To do so, its platform leverages data analytics and artificial intelligence to calculate and quantify the level of organization’s “cyber-breach risk” across all of the devices, users and applications within their networks.

The company is touting its platform as an alternative to traditional penetration testing, which involves using software or manually attacking a computer system, network or Web application to find vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit. Balbix reckons that penetration testing is not ideal for many companies because the state of their IT infrastructure is constantly evolving. It can also be prohibitively expensive for some companies, costing up to $250,000 for two penetration tests a year for companies with 10,000-plus devices.

Balbix also noted that the pace of cybersecurity breaches is growing fast, and that these days businesses always seem to be on the defensive, reacting to many new kinds of attacks. As a result, the company said, there’s a growing need to identify weak points in enterprise networks proactively and mitigate them before an attack takes place. Balbix said its platform does so by helping organizations to understand the level of risk they face and how to limit the impact of breaches when they do occur.

“The only way is to use technology that allows you to proactively, automatically and comprehensively enumerate and understand your attack surface,” said Balbix Chief Executive Officer Gaurav Banga. “[Enterprises need to] know all possible ways where attacks might begin, all possible targets sorted by business impact, all possible propagation paths and whether or not the various mitigations in place will stop the attack.”

Balbix does this by deploying specialized sensors across an enterprise’s network that can continuously discover and monitor each device, application and user. The company uses self-learning algorithms to analyze telemetry data generated by the network, then builds what it calls a “bottom-up risk model” that allows companies to visualize their breach risk and work out how to shore up their defenses.

“This is impossible to do manually or with automated rules – you can’t keep up, and there are too many false positives,” Banga said. “Focusing on things that have already happened are also obviously not enough since the future is generally only loosely connected to the past, especially in cyberspace. The only way to do this is with self-learning AI, and a focus on indicators of risk, which are attributes of your environment that indicate important things that can go wrong.”

Balbix also announced that it has received $8.6 million in investor funding from Mayfield Fund.

Image: Balbix

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