Fun fact: Smith was the co-founder of data-loss prevention vendor Oakley, sold to Raytheon in 2007. He started up Shape Security with CTO Justin Call and Sumit Agarwal, the former senior adviser for cyber innovation at the U.S. Department of Defense.
Headquarters: Cupertino, Calif. Funding: About $2 million in private angel-investor funding Leader: CEO C. Scott Hartz, who brings more than 40 years of strategy and technology consulting, including seven years as CEO of PwC Consulting Founded: 2012 by Shrinivas Kumar, CTO and vice president
Why we're following it: The name "TaaSERA" is said to mean "trust as a service." But the startup will be offering a product as well, known as the TaaSERA Attack Warning and Response Engine (AWARE), that will be out later this month as the company makes its formal debut with its behavior-based malware and attack-detection software. It will include agent software initially for Windows-based computers and the Google Android platform, plus network sensors, that are intended to be installed to monitor and detect signs of malicious behavior from attackers and malware in real time.
The approach, which is likened by company insiders to what security firm FireEye does in malware detection, is also intended to be used in conjunction with other security products to receive additional data feeds -- alliances with Bit9 and HP ArcSight, for example, are underway -- to gain additional evidence of malware and detect zero-day malware attacks. The TaaSERA NetAnalyzer tool, installed as a virtual appliance on the network, is supposed to collect behavioral evidence to analyze malware patterns, categorize threats and provide forensics. Early adopters are said to be in tests with it.
The startup has managed to attract Tom Ridge, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and former governor of Pennsylvania, to join its advisory board. Ridge, who says he does have a "modest" stake in TaasSERA, claims he won't be actively lobbying for the startup, but is convinced TaaSERA's approach represents a "very significant development" in using analysis for security that is needed today. The startup has come up with "sophisticated data analysis to identify in advance potential terrorists and criminals," he says, adding he believes the threat today is greater than it was 10 years ago.