Security startup LightCyber nabs $20M to boost network protection teams


Barely a week seems to pass nowadays without a security startup raising capital. The newest example is LightCyber Ltd., an emerging network protection provider born in Israel that today announced the completion of a $20 million funding round. The investment was led by industrial conglomerate Access Industries Inc. and Shlomo Kramer, a serial entrepreneur best known for co-founding Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.

His participation represents an important vote of confidence in LightCyber and its ability to compete with from the dozens of other startups vying for a slice of the security market. The outfit certainly needs it. Many of its rivals are venture-backed too and some, like Fortscale Security Ltd. Inc., offer the exact same kind of detection functionality that is included in its Magna platform. The software uses machine learning algorithms to understand what constitutes normal activity in a company’s network and automatically flags anomalies.

For instance, Magna might ring the alarms if a long-dormant SharePoint account is suddenly being used to download sensitive files. The system sets itself apart from the pack by layering number of value-added features on top of the core detection engine that are designed to speed incident response. These include a classification engine that can determine what access privileges are available to a suspicious process and whether it’s a known malware strand or a new type of threat. After completing the analysis, the system bundles its findings with relevant diagnostics data and sends them to the security team in an alert.

The arrangement removes the need to manually analyze network logs for suspicious patterns, which frees up administrators to focus on other tasks. On the downside, such alerting tools are prone to overwhelming users with a large number of notifications, but LightCyber says that its platform is specifically designed to keep messages to a minimum. And customers can reduce the risk of false positives even further using Cloud Expert System, a complementary security analytics service that the startup offers for Magna. It runs suspicious files through a multi-stage testing process involving both signature and behavioral testing to confirm they’re malicious before notifying IT.

Today’s funding will enable LightCyber to spread the word about its offering in the crowded security market. The startup plans to quadruple the size of its sales force by the end of the year as part of the effort and expand its international presence in conjunction.

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