Cato Networks goes live with Network Security as a Service (NSaaS)
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CEO Shlomo Kramer. Photo Credit: Sharon Barkat

CEO Shlomo Kramer. Photo Credit: Sharon Barkat

For growing companies that need the flexibility, and for whom real security seemed out of the realm of possibility, this should be a very exciting option

Cato Networks, the latest venture from tech legends Shlomo Kramer of Check Point and Gur Shatz from Incapsula fame, announced their launch this week, taking their cloud-based network security solution live to change the face of how organizations work online.

Founded in 2015, Cato Networks has set out to bring true network security to a cloud environment with a solution aimed at meeting the dynamic needs of the dispersed cloud and mobile workflow that has come to dominate the industry.

Cato Networks’ lead investors are Aspect Ventures and U.S. Venture Partners, who pulled together a $20 Series A round back in October 2015.

Whereas business has moved onto cloud infrastructure that allows companies to work across the globe, accessing and storing their data from disparate locations while cutting costs by having others manage their infrastructure, network security has seriously lagged behind.

What Cato is proposing is establishing a new Perimeter, connecting assets in the cloud, wherein all data flow passes through their ring of protection, essentially adding a next generation firewall layer to the cloud.

Cato’s VP of Marketing Yishay Yovel explained to Geektime that, “We lived for decades with a network layer and a network security layer that were decoupled. What’s changing is the business needs and the network topology. We need connectivity in all places, and we need to secure it everywhere. The things that we need to connect and secure today are increasingly going above and beyond what we needed in the past. For the most part cloud, mobile and network design are just not working well within the legacy context.”

Their flagship product is the Cato Cloud, a global network backbone comprised of points of presence (PoPs) data centers located in Israel, Amsterdam, Virginia, Hong Kong, Singapore and rolling out more every quarter, with the goal of reaching three dozen sites. They are connected with high bandwidth links from tier one carriers such as Telia.

Users connect to their cloud securely through a VPN tunnel utilizing either mobile Cato Clients, existing physical firewall appliances, or using their own tunneling device called the Cato Socket for connecting if needed. “You are automatically connected to the closest PoP,” Yovel says, adding that, “If you need to access a resource in a different location, you can access it through our cloud network that is separate from the public Internet.”

“It isn’t Internet-based but uses dedicated communication lines,” Yovel explains of their private network that is being run through the global data centers. This is important since it improves the latency, lowering it as compared to an Internet-based connection. It creates an optimal path between all the different elements that the enterprise wants to connect to a single network.

Introducing the next generation network security

On a very basic level, Cato Networks is working to simplify network security, bringing to market a product that will meet the needs of the modern work environment. “I believe that we provide a reduction of footprint for businesses,” Yovel tells Geektime, “We are trying to get to a model like what AWS did for servers but for network security where you can have as much network security as you need wherever you need without owning it.”

With all its benefits of an open and flexible workspace, providing proper security in a cost efficient manner has been out of reach for most businesses. The security capabilities in the current appliances are tied to specific locations and cannot always be where the users need them to be. This can be especially relevant for employees traveling to different locations who still need to work with the network, and companies that do not have the capacity to buy large stocks of network security equipment. Their target markets at this point are medium and large-sized businesses.

“Our business is people and our infrastructure is in the cloud. We use a variety of cloud services including Amazon AWS and Salesforce,” says Boaz Aviv, CTO and Co-Founder of Blender, a peer-to-peer lending company in his statement to the press. “Cato allows us to tie our cloud data center, offices, and mobile users into a secure network, and provides secure access to business ­critical applications regardless of device or location. Cato also eliminates the need to maintain our existing firewalls or invest in expensive network security and connectivity for our international offices.”

For the time being, Cato has been working with around six beta clients, but Yovel says that they have a few dozen more that are waiting to join their service. Now that they have officially launched, they will be moving into the customer acquisition stage.

My take

In the past, Cato’s founders have made their mark on the cyber security industry, and it looks like they are here for a repeat performance. The cloud has changed the way that everyone from consumers to enterprises manage their most essential tasks. Unfortunately until recently, this valuable resource was severely limited by its relative insecurity. Thankfully over the past year, the market has exploded with new solutions aimed at making this important tool a viable option for making work both efficient and more secure.

Of course there will still be those industries and organizations that will be left out from using services like Cato’s. Governments, financial institutions, and others who are heavily regulated and are responsible for managing their own data are likely to top this list, as they are also banned from many of the other cloud services.

But for growing companies that need the flexibility, and for whom real security seemed out of the realm of possibility, this should be a very exciting option moving forward.

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Gabriel Avner

About Gabriel Avner

Gabriel has an unhealthy obsession with new messaging apps, social media and pretty much anything coming out of Apple. An experienced security and conflict consultant, he has written for The Diplomatic Club, the Marine War College, and covers military affairs with TLV1 radio. He mostly enjoys reading articles wherever his ADD leads him to and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. EEED 44D4 B8F4 24BE F77E 2DEA 0243 CBD1 3F7C F4B6

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