World-first security technology is launched by Cambridge software startup Bromium today to help governments and financial bodies combat IT sabotage – but the tyro says its G1 product is just the first salvo in a global fightback against saboteurs.Business Weekly can reveal that Bromium is already working on new products in parallel and could roll them out for other sectors under siege early in 2013.
The new wave of products being generated by the transatlantic business spells bad news for malicious nation states and criminal organisations. But it also sets Bromium – a Cambridge University Computer Lab spin-out – on the road to emulating Autonomy as the most successful software company in Cambridge’s history.
The end-point security market alone, which its G1 software is initially targeting, is worth $20 billion and existing tools don’t work – leaving Bromium as market leader with clear water. Ancillary markets bulge the potential payload by many more billions.
Co-founder Ian Pratt said the company was now up to 60 staff, was still hiring fast in Cambridge UK and California on a near-weekly basis, and could double that headcount by the end of next year.
Business Weekly broke the news of Bromium’s emergence out of stealth in June when it announced a new $26.5m fundraising that took investment to almost $36m in a calendar year. The company is this newspaper’s reigning Startup of the Year.
Now we can report on the general availability of Bromium vSentry™, its first product based on the Bromium Microvisor™. vSentry protects Windows® PCs by design from undetectable advanced malware that attacks the enterprise by tricking users into opening poisoned attachments, documents, and websites.
Machines run normally and users interact with them in exactly the same way as before, but an invisible shield keeps malevolent attackers at bay.
Pratt described Bromium as ‘black-belts’ in the fight against malware and said: “We’ve had multiple betas out in the marketplace since February and people liked what they saw.
“We took feedback and refined the model to our first saleable product which will initially target governments and financial institutions. The beauty is we don’t have to explain the product to these clients – they know the problem and they know the existing tools don’t work.
“The bad guys – nation states or criminal organisations – just have to identify a bug or two in a hundred million lines of code and they can wreak havoc and waltz off with a company’s IP.
“Our software means our clients can give up trying to defend 100 million lines of code, move the risk out of the way and protect their systems with our small hypervisor. Our technology shifts the balance in favour of the defender.”
But this is just the start; while the G1 product is for a Windows platform, future generation software will expand usage to other platforms – and across a range of devices right down to the latest tablets and smartphones.
Bromium can also scale the current vertical model targeted at governments and banks to SMEs and consumer sector customers – notably firms such as lawyers and accountants dealing with their own clients’ confidential and often highly sensitive information affecting IPOs, fundraisings or M&As.
Pratt says the challenges Bromium has had to overcome before launch of the first generation product had been considerable. “There was no roadmap for this product,” he said.
“We knew there was a problem and appreciated the scale of the problem but we had to start from scratch to find a solution. Some of the challenges we hit along the way looked very scary but we just had to work through it. While it took a little longer than we originally envisaged to hit the market, we are very proud of the result of our efforts.
“When you think the end-point security market is worth $20bn alone and that we hold the only current solution – and then consider the other markets we can open up with a suite of new products built on the same core IP, it shows the scale of the opportunity.
“At this stage it is too soon to say whether we will go for an IPO or what the future might hold but it is fair to say that there is enormous potential to grow Bromium into a really big stand-alone company.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Bromium co-founder, Ian Pratt. Photo credit: Alan Bennett/Media Imaging Solutions