Proofpoint acquires Firelayers for $55 million and announces new anti-malware tool
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FireLayers founders Yair Grindlinger (R) and Doron Elgressy (L). Credit: YL Ventures

Yair Grindlinger (R) and Doron Elgressy (L) of Firelayers. Credit: YL Ventures

Israeli Firelayers will help Proofpoint expand its services for cloud-based security options

Proofpoint has closed a major deal to buy cloud access security broker (CASB) Firelayers for $55 million, enhancing its portfolio for protecting software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. Proofpoint expects to roll out targeted attack protection (TAP) for SaaS now that it has acquired Firelayers in 2017.

Firelayers has been backed by YL Ventures since its inception. (Firelayers formally launched in 2014.) The company singled itself out by switching focus from application program interface (API) to, “ a proxy server … between users and the cloud applications they are accessing” according to YL Ventures’ Yoav Leitersdorf. This put fewer restrictions on the system since it was less dependent on particular APIs’ settings, and will be useful when more business applications, like Office, also adopt cloud-based storage, and as employees further embrace mobile devices as part of the daily work environment.

As networkworld.com sums it up, CASB, “mitigate[s] the risk of the action by fully blocking it, fully allowing it, requiring strong authentication before allowing it, issuing a warning or alert before allowing it, or forcing the use of additional security tools” – of course, this means behavioral modeling will be even more necessary to create threat models.

Cloud security for customer service systems – the most common commercial SaaS application – is especially vital going ahead due to the need to secure personal information across medical, retail, and entertainment vendors. Gartner’s recent report on industry trends notes that the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a rising avenue of attack in years to come, yet overall funding to secure IoT applications is not keeping pace with the threat model.

And the cloud security market is expected to grow, with more and more companies adopting CASB and the value of the market doubling between now and 2020. “[The] SaaS service model is expected to dominate the cloud access security brokers market,” according to MarketsandMarkets, which also named Firelayers to be a “key innovator” in the industry. Consolidation, though, seems to be growing: in addition to the Firelayers buyout by Proofpoint, its rival CloudLock has been acquired by Cisco.

Geektime has previously discussed how even simple malware can be used to break into other important infrastructure, from utilities infrastructure to international monetary exchanges. These tools are able to infect computer systems often due to employees mistakenly clicking on phishing emails. Through this entry point, malware can move around within network. And, in this day and age of mass email leaks and data dumps, there is a real risk of malware piggybacking onto content millions of internet users will click without a second thought. Proofpoint, in fact, already focuses on enterprise email security with anti-phishing and anti-malware protocols, and Firelayers will help bring these and new tools into cloud-based computing.

 

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