A Q&A with Vaultive chairman and CEO Elad Yoran. Investors in the New York City–based company, which was founded in 2009, include 406 Ventures, New Science Ventures and Harmony Partners.
SUB: Please describe what Vaultive is, and the value proposition you bring to data security.
Yoran: Vaultive is a provider of cloud data encryption solutions that enable organizations to leverage the economy and efficiency of cloud computing while maintaining the data security, control and compliance advantages of on-premise computing.
Vaultive was created to address the last and most significant barrier to enterprise cloud adoption: security. The value proposition that the company brings to cloud data security is through our patent-pending data-in-use encryption technology that eliminates the data security, privacy, residency and regulatory compliance concerns commonly associated with cloud deployment.
At a high level, the current way that cloud services work for a hosted email solution such as Microsoft Exchange is that the emails need to be decrypted in the cloud to be useful, e.g. to be searchable, indexed, etc. Vaultive implements encryption in a unique way that protects the characteristics of the data so that it can be used by cloud applications—without requiring the data to be decrypted first.
Additionally, and importantly, Vaultive provides the encryption keys directly to the enterprise, so the business—not the cloud provider—maintains complete control over the data. This provides companies that have been unable to move to the cloud due to concerns such as security, privacy, residency and regulatory compliance, the tools they need to move to the cloud.
SUB: What are your target markets?
Yoran: Companies large and small, in all markets, make use of a myriad of cloud services. Vaultive’s initial target market is corporations who want to outsource their email infrastructure to the cloud, first hosted Exchange, including Microsoft’s Office365. Vaultive’s platform is highly flexible and can be configured to support any cloud application. Vaultive will support additional applications over the course of time, including CRM, database, communication and collaboration applications.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Yoran: A couple of other startups also claim technology that provides usable encryption. However, Vaultive is currently the only company offering a solution for hosted Exchange environments.
Another key area of competition for Vaultive is lack of awareness and understanding. Of the organizations that have already moved to the cloud, the security aware ones did so reluctantly because while they have some perspective of the risks, they were not informed that a solution such as Vaultive existed. We still have a great deal of work to do to educate the market about both the risks and the solution.
SUB: What differentiates Vaultive from the competition?
Yoran: The differences fall into two categories, one is technology and the other is market focus.
Regarding technology, we believe that Vaultive’s technology provides the strongest security, the most flexibility, highest scalability, and greatest ease-of-use.
Regarding market focus, Vaultive for Hosted Exchange is the only solution developed specifically for Hosted Exchange environments, including Microsoft Office 365, that enables encrypted data to be searched, indexed, sorted and otherwise processed within the cloud application without first having to be decrypted. We have filed several patent applications to protect our enterprise-class encryption technology.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Yoran: Vaultive was founded in 2009. The first steps we took were to raise Angel funding from luminaries in the security industry. We used this angel funding to recruit and build a world class research and development team. Our R&D team hails from companies such as McAfee, Symantec, Check Point, Cisco and other prominent security software companies, as well as the leading technology units in the Israeli Army. For three years we focused on R&D in order to build an enterprise-class, seamless and flexible solution for cloud data protection. We did absolutely no marketing during this time period. We are now in beta testing for our first product, only weeks away from general availability, and are only now initiating our PR effort and building our sales and marketing teams.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Vaultive? Was there an “aha” moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Yoran: We’ve been entrepreneurs in the security industry for many years with several start-up companies. Over that time, we’ve seen many service level agreements, but none of which offered true protection to customers’ data.
The cloud has been a “hot” term for a few years. To us, it always seemed impractical that companies would be willing to cede control over their data by putting it into a third-party controlled environment with nothing but a flimsy SLA that offers no recourse. It was obvious that the way for the cloud to realize its true potential was to figure out a way to let businesses “have their cake and eat it too,”—namely use the cloud, but maintain the same control over their data as if the data resided on-premise. And that is how the concept of Vaultive came to be.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Yoran: Without a doubt, the most difficult obstacle has been finding and recruiting the caliber of people—engineers at first, but now others—that meet our high standards. We are dedicated to building an A+ caliber team at Vaultive.
SUB: You recently raised $10 million in Series A funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Yoran: The $10 million funding round will enable Vaultive to “step on the gas” and focus on growing the business. The company has spent the last three years focused exclusively on engineering and R&D to build an exceptional product that we can stand behind, and the funding will enable us to take the next step in bringing this solid, scalable, enterprise-class product to market by adding sales and marketing efforts and growing our channel.
SUB: Do you plan to raise more outside funding in the near future?
Yoran: Not in the immediate future. Future fundraising will be dictated by the nature of the opportunity before us.
SUB: What are your goals for Vaultive over the next year or so?
Yoran: To build a world class cloud security company that delivers a solution that addresses important needs in the market, and that our customers and partners are glad to be working with Vaultive. We would be most proud if our customers and partners were the ones saying so.
Vaultive also plans future support for additional cloud applications, including SaaS email, CRM, collaboration and communication applications, as well support for custom cloud applications.
Vaultive – www.vaultive.com