Thursday, Jul 27, 2017
HomeFeaturesInterview with Gaurav Banga Founder & CEO of Balbix

Interview with Gaurav Banga Founder & CEO of Balbix

What did Balbix announce?

GB: On June 6, Balbix announced it started shipping the security industry’s first predictive breach-risk platform. The Balbix system continuously measures an enterprise’s cyber-breach risk and resilience across all devices, users and apps in its extended network. This is visualized as a real-time and prescriptive risk heat map. The system predicts top breach scenarios and provides risk insights, which allow us to prioritize security mitigations and prevent security incidents before attacks happen.

The company also announced $8.6M in funding from Mayfield.

What’s your background in cyber-security?

GB: I am the co-founder and former CEO of Bromium, an endpoint security company which I started in 2010 and ran for over 5 years. After watching Operation Aurora unfold, I developed the concept of micro-virtualization, a signatureless approach to stop malware attacks, built a prototype, and started Bromium to bring this technology to market. Bromium has a large number of Fortune 500 and top govt agencies as customers.

Earlier in my career, I was NetApp’s “security guy”, and then at Phoenix Technologies – worked with the US Government and top enterprises on implementing security systems that were properly rooted in the PC’s firmware (BIOS).

Why did Mayflied invest in Balbix?

GB: In his June 6 blog, Mayfield Managing Partner and Balbix board member Navin Chaddha explains,

“We are now in a world, where it’s a matter of when, not if, an enterprise is hacked. I call this the post-hacked world.  Hence building cyber-resilience has become a key priority for the C-suite.”

Chaddha believes that building cyber-resilience is key in the post-hacked world as the attack surface has increased through the adoption of IoT devices, BYOD and the cloud. Chaddha believes that Balbix’s cutting-edge predictive risk technology and the expertise and experience of Balbix’s Founder places it in a unique position to resolves the critical need of CISOs to get ahead of the adversary – by enabling them to proactively understand their cyber risk and act to limit the likelihood and impact of attacks.

What are Balbix’s main differentiators?

GB: Balbix has introduced the market’s first platform to use predictive analytics and AI to automatically and continuously learn the extended-network and measure breach risk, calculate resilience and prescribe mitigations to improve the cyber-risk posture.

Balbix works by deploying specialized sensors across the enterprise to continuously discover and monitor all devices, apps and users across hundreds of attack methods and indicators of business impact. The telemetry data is then analyzed by advanced self-learning algorithms and used to build a bottom-up risk model.

A few of the “industry-first” features include:

  1. a risk heat-map, which automatically monitors and analyzes an enterprise network 24/7/365 across hundreds of attack vectors to provide a real-time, searchable and clickable color-coded map of the enterprise. This helps over-burdened security teams prioritize mitigation projects by automatically and continuously identifying areas of highest risk and surfacing actionable insights.
  2. The platform also features predictive capabilities. Specifically, Balbix predicts breach scenarios by analyzing indicators of risk, factors that point to the future likelihood of occurrence of security incidents, such as user clickthrough behavior indicating high phishing risk. In contrast, existing products rely on indicators of attack or compromise based on security events that have already happened.
  3. Balbix can also compute the effectiveness of security mitigations already implemented and help prioritize planned security projects. The system measures organizations’ cyber-resilience – the ability to limit the impact of security incidents.

Why Should the C-suite care?

GB: The industry need for risk-driven cybersecurity solutions, including analytics that predict the business impact of cyber-risk, is growing. According to a March 2017, Gartner report, “Definition: Integrated Risk Management Solutions,” by John Wheeler, “Gartner also notes a shift to greater investment in risk-based approaches designed to respond more effectively to the growing cybersecurity and related digital business demands facing organizations today. With this shift in investment, Gartner forecasts that the IRM solution market will grow from $3.9 billion in 2015 to $7.3 billion by 2020, representing a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.4 percent¹.”

These findings validate a recent survey conducted by Balbix, which included 600 participants, including 250 from the Fortune 500, in which nearly 100 percent of respondents expressed concern about the rapidly expanding attack surface, while 87 percent of participants said they were worried about lateral movement by attackers.

Balbix’s platform resolves this growing and critical need.

How does Balbix reduce cybersecurity costs?

GB: In addition to proactively identifying risk and thwarting attack spread, Balbix addresses the increasingly relevant issue of security spend versus value with an automated risk-measurement capability. Enterprises with 10,000 devices typically pay around $250,000 for two penetration tests (pen tests) a year². Relying on pen testing to find vulnerabilities or validate compliance is not ideal because the state of the enterprise changes every day. Balbix can increase an organization’s ROI by offering continuous risk measurements at annual costs comparable to or lower than a single pen test.

Does Balbix have any customers?

GB: In addition to launching our platform, we shared Cavium’s experience with Balbix as one of our early customers.

Abe Smith, director of enterprise security at Cavium said, “Today, it is incumbent upon us to assess our risk environment and protect ourselves from advanced threats targeting new technologies and devices, so that we don’t suffer a breach, lose our intellectual property or get hit with compliance penalties down the road.” Balbix allows Cavium to get ahead of their threat environment by proactively identifying the most significant sources of risk in their network and prioritizing those gaps for remediation, enabling them to tightly – and accurately – focus their security spending and reduce costs.

Today, security teams are forced to rely on a set of reactive security tools, with no real way to predict how or where a breach is most likely to hit next. It’s very difficult for security practitioners to assess the true risk posture of an enterprise and communicate this to senior management or the board of directors. By automating predictive risk calculations and providing clear visualization, Our platform will let companies know what’s most important, so they can channel their security spending where it’s needed most. This is key to improving cyber-resilience.

¹Gartner, Definition: Integrated Risk Management Solutions, John A. Wheeler, 20 March 2017
²Link Mountain Standard Penetration Testing Costs: http://www.linkmountain.com/Cost-Of-Penetration-Testing.php
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