Ex-IBMers Launch Cloud Security Startup
The company launched Tuesday with $18.5 million in Series A funding and its Cloud Data Control service that delivers data and identity control across all cloud accounts and within any data store. Sonrai is co-founded by Brendan Hannigan and Sandy Bird.
Hannigan previously was IBM Security’s general manager and Bird was chief technology officer. Before that, Bird was co-founder and Hannigan was CEO of Q1 Labs, which IBM acquired in 2011 as the basis of its security division.
With the ability to discover and track data and users across any cloud service – including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud – and to third-party data sources, Sonrai’s service provides a common interface for both SecOps and DevOps teams.
The company has offices in New York, Texas and New Brunswick, Canada, and is backed by Polaris Partners and TenEleven Ventures.
In a Q&A with Channel Futures’ MSSP Insider, Hannigan and Bird talk about why they wanted to start the new company and the opportunity it presents to the channel.
Channel Futures’ MSSP Insider: How did the idea for this startup come about?
Sandy Bird: We took a little break and in 2017 started looking at the whole market as to what was going on and saw this massive transition of companies moving their classic enterprise data centers into these public-cloud infrastructures – Azure, AWS, GCP – and wanting to make sure that they actually had control of the data and the identities that they moved in there. So that was kind of the vision for the company as we were starting it out. We wanted to be able to provide that visibility and best-practice enablement for those people to understand [if] they are doing the right thing across all of these and enable that for the security teams, and finding anything such as overprivileged accounts or configuration issues that could lead to a data leak. There’s also a huge benefit around compliance.
CFMI: What made this the right time to launch this company?
Brendan Hannigan: Gartner is projecting that in 2025, 80 percent of companies will have shut down their traditional data centers; that number is 10 percent today. So we all know cloud is huge – there’s nothing new about that – but I do think what is new is the acceleration and extent to which infrastructures are being turned over into this public-cloud environment. So that’s reason No. 1. No. 2, I think there’s an increasing realization that as that happens, the volume and complexity, and richness of data that’s been put into that just keeps increasing and increasing. And No. 3, as you know, we are now in a climate of privacy, of sensitivity to data loss, [and] of specific government regulations around that. You put those three things together and you [think], there’s got to be a new way of doing this and helping customers with this. They’re really struggling in their understanding and how to get control of these infrastructures. So that’s what made this a good time.
CFMI: What’s the status of the company in terms of service availability, and reaching out to the channel and customers?
BH: Sandy [and I] have been in the business a long time … so we had the opportunity to create this company and essentially stay focused on …