10 IT security companies to watch

Data-leak prevention, behavior-based malware detection among focus areas

SailPoint

Founded: 2005
Headquarters: Austin
Funding: US$14 million from venture capital firms including Austin Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Origin Partners and Silverton Partners CEO: Mark McClain
What the company offers: Compliance IQ, identity risk-management software to help enterprises reduce business risk and become compliant by better understanding identity data. The software provides business context to the information generated by IT systems that report on which users have access to what data, offering sophisticated reporting and analytics for decision support.
Why it's worth watching: The company's product attempts to make sense of the reams of identity data generated by IT systems and applications; it's one thing to know what users are doing, it's another to combine that information with data about what they are allowed to do. Companies that combine the two stand a better chance of identifying fraud, theft and misuse. IDC estimated in 2006 the market for identity and access-management compliance will grow by 25% per year until it reaches $2 billion in 2010.
How the company got its start: McClain and SailPoint co-founder Kevin Cunningham stayed on at WaveSet when Sun acquired it in late 2003, but not for long. In 2005 with $5 million in funding behind them, the pair left Sun and began developing the technology behind Compliance IQ, which launched at Network World's DEMO 07 conference last January.
Where the company got its name: "Sailpoint" or "point of sail" is a term used to describe a sailboat's course in relation to the wind. To reach a destination, sailpoints must be adjusted continuously to harness the wind as efficiently as possible and to maintain safe control of the boat - the company believes the same is true of enterprise IT governance.
Customers: Financial services and manufacturing firms, which the company declined to identify.

Sentrigo

Founded: 2006
Headquarters: Kfar Saba, Israel; U.S. office in Woburn, Massachusetts
Funding: US$3.5 million from Benchmark Capital
CEO: Nathan Shuchami
What the company offers: Database security monitoring tool, Hedgehog, released in June for the Oracle database.
Why it's worth watching: The Hedgehog software can be used in monitoring or blocking mode to warn security administrators about attempted SQL injection or buffer-overflow attacks. Because Hedgehog also looks at larger database actions, it also watches what insiders are doing, based on set policies.
How the company got its start: CTO Slavik Markovich, an expert in database architecture, sensed an opportunity on the security front and headed up basic product design and development. Sentrigo just added Guy Rinat as vice president of R&D, an activity formerly managed by Markovich, who will devote more time to new-product development and customer interaction.
Where the company got its name: They focused on the word "sentry" and came up with Sentrigo.
Customers: N.E.W. Customer Service Companies

Venafi

Founded: 2004
Headquarters: Salt Lake City
Funding: US$20 million in venture capital from Foundation Capital, Origin Partners, and UV Partners.
CEO: Trell Rohovit
What the company offers: Systems management for encryption at the client and server levels. Client Encryption Manager and Server Encryption Manager automate many of the manual tasks associated with administering encryption technology - including keys and certificates -such as making sure that installed software with optional encryption settings has them turned on. The company plans to add encryption-management products for storage, backup systems, network devices and infrastructure in the near future.
Why it's worth watching: Venafi focuses on making encryption more accessible for enterprises by lessening its associated administrative headaches. The company says this promotes compliance, data security and risk mitigation.
How the company got its start: Spun out of IMCentric, a custom-engineering company that was automating encryption for a Fortune 500 company. The custom product that was developed turned into Venafi's offering.
Where the company got its name: Comes from the Latin root "vena," meaning vein or root, and "fides," Latin for trust or faith. Venafi says it manages the root of trust.
Customers: The company claims 10 of the world's top financial-services companies are customers, as well as three telecommunications giants.

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