The past few years have been an incredibly exciting time to be an enterprise investor. We have seen the rise of the cloud, the shift away from PCs to new mobile computing platforms, and the emergence of Big Data and Analytics as a core enabler of business agility. With these trends as a backdrop, we are in the early innings of a massive redirection of enterprise IT budgets towards new technologies and architectures.
At Lightspeed we have been investing thematically in each of these trends, having led early investments in cloud companies like AppDynamics and Mulesoft, in Big Data Companies like DataStax and MapR Technologies, and in enterprise mobile companies like Rapsphere and Push Computing. What excites us the most about these trends is that together they are driving massive change in the way that enterprises have to think about their IT infrastructure.
One particularly interesting (to us!) side effect of enterprise cloud and mobile adoption has been the creation of a new set of security challenges. As application consumption has moved from behind the protected firewall to outside a company’s trusted perimeter (due to employees adopting SaaS and mobile applications), enterprises have lost visibility and control over their users’ actions. This creates not only a security headache, but also a compliance and auditability nightmare.
A quick background: In the legacy (pre-cloud) world, enterprise applications resided in a company datacenter and were accessed from PCs that were primarily on-premise. In this environment, IT managers could manage, monitor, and secure enterprise data by creating a secure perimeter inside the company’s four walls. All application actions were monitored and all internet traffic was funneled through an on-premise firewall appliance that watched for malicious files and bad employee behavior. This was the status quo for many years, and spawned the well-established $6B market for network security devices.
However, with the rapid adoption of both mobile BYOD (bring your own device) and SaaS application consumption, the world has changed. In this new world, employees, not the CIO, choose their applications, and these applications reside either directly on a mobile device or in the cloud. The result is the need for a new type of security paradigm – one that recognizes that employees are increasingly mobile, that they want to use non-IT approved applications, and that the cloud is here to stay. A typical reaction to this trend has been to either block cloud applications or to impose strict restrictions on which applications can be used. Unfortunately, this policy causes unnecessary friction between employees and IT.
There is a better way – and Netskope has built the right platform that works for both employees and enterprise IT. Netskope discovers cloud apps, provides complete visibility and actionable analytics on usage, and gives IT policy-based control over employee behavior. With Netskope, employees get their favorite apps and CIOs get peace of mind.
This new solution requires a team with extensive expertise in building world-class, enterprise-grade networking, security, and Big Data solutions. We are very excited to partner with Sanjay Beri, founder and CEO of Netskope. Sanjay was most recently the youngest to make VP at Juniper and is a fellow Canadian (although he’s a Leafs fan which is unforgivable). Since founding Netskope, Sanjay has assembled an impressive cross-functional team of industry veterans. To name a few: Ravi Ithal was an early engineer at Palo Alto Networks (PANW), where he architected their database and analytics systems. Krishna Narayaswami was most recently a Sr. Distinguished Engineer of security at Juniper, where he specialized in behavioral analytics. And, Steve Malmskog has solved some of the world’s hardest networking scaling problems as the chief architect at Payfone and previously as a Distinguished Engineer at Juniper. All told, Netskope has assembled an impressive team of 50, including 10 Distinguished Engineers and Principal Architects from some of the most innovative security, networking, and analytics companies in the world.
Today, Netskope launched their company. At Lightspeed, we’re excited about our partnership with the Netskope team as they rethink security for the mobile and cloud era. For more information about Netskope’s launch, visit www.netskope.com.
You can also follow me on Twitter at @arifj and @lightspeedvp.
Arif Janmohamed is a Partner at Lightspeed Ventures Partners. He brings significant networking, cloud, and mobile expertise to the Netskope board. Prior to joining Lightspeed, Arif worked in the Corporate Business Development group at Cisco Systems. Earlier in his career, Arif worked in technical development and product management roles at WebTV (acquired by MSFT), Andes Networks (acquired by SUNW), and Sun Microsystems.