Venture

Egress Raises $40M For User-Centered Security

We’ve come a long way since the days of freaking out over a lost thumb drive (I hope). Since then, our problems have migrated online and to the cloud. From the sheer number of data breaches our government and corporations (Google, Facebook, Marriott) have experienced this year, it’s not surprising companies are concerned with preventing threats from malicious actors.

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Although automatic threat mitigation technology is improving, cybersecurity companies focused on endpoint protection know that some of the most important players in preventing threats are the users themselves. Nir Polak, the CEO and founder of cybersecurity firm Exabeam (who we talked to in August), put it this way: “Really the weakest link is the human… If you’re able to solve that problem, you could become the next billionaire.”

London-based Egress is one team focusing on the user role in security. The company has scored a $40 million Series C led by FTV Capital with participation from its previous investor AlbionVC.

Egress was founded in 2007 and was bootstrapped for its first five years. In 2014, the company scored a $3.6 million Series A followed by a $3.8 million Series B in 2017. Adding that up, the company has raised $47.4 million in total outside funding.

With its enterprise, integrated software offering, the company allows users to send encrypted emails and to work collaboratively on documents in secured on-premise and cloud-based environments. Further, Egress has incorporated machine learning into its offering to detect potential instances of human error.

“Our platform helps you as an end user avoid things that you didn’t mean to do,” Egress Co-Founder and CEO Tony Pepper told Crunchbase News. “It alerts administrators for any activity that would be considered an anomaly.”

Those anomalous activities could both point to the existence of a malicious actor or notify the user of a potential mistake (sending to the wrong email address, for example). The AI relies on data points ranging from frequent addresses in an inbox to natural language processing to detect abnormal behavior among users.

Pepper believes that focusing on a user-centric approach augmented by AI, which automates decisions that individuals don’t need to make, will allow for better security outcomes.

“Long gone are the days when they can take this out of the hands of end users and say, you know, let’s just make this an IT issue,” Pepper said, pointing to regulatory efforts like GDPR and the to-be-enacted California Consumer Privacy Act.

“There’s an emphasis on technology providers to deliver technology that the end users can engage with better and that will ultimately make all businesses–whether they’re government or whether they’re healthcare or financial services–better comply with privacy legislation.”

Egress, which competes with other key players like Virtru, will use the round to expand its team and move into other geographical areas. It has already scored contracts with government entities in the U.S. including the State of Delaware. As for its product roadmap, Pepper said that Egress looks forward to incorporating more preventative user threat detection into its platform and building out its existing analytics tools for its customers.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias

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