Today we announced that Accel led a $35 million Series C investment round in Netskope, a leader in cloud security. My partners and I are excited to join forces with the Netskope team to tackle what has become a huge challenge in the last couple of years, and do it in a cool, inventive way. The opportunity is this: business users are adopting cloud services in droves and increasingly doing it from multiple devices including phones/tablets, and they’re doing so more often than not without IT and without enough concern for the protection and security of core data assets. This is both good and problematic.
Like the Web brought value to consumers, Cloud/SAAS bring about value for workers and businesses – from developers collaborating on code snippets to HR professionals tracking employee performance to medical scientists analyzing clinical trial data. Similar to the consumer experience, business users are self-sourcing and deploying useful apps and services without much trouble. We all want the many benefits that will come from allowing this explosion of end user creativity and application. However, while good, it is also creates material incremental risk for IT and the business, who are still on the hook for ensuring security, protection and compliance.
Bridging this gap in a way that is transparent to end users and easy to manage for IT and comprehensive for all the cloud use cases will enable a “best of both worlds” situation. IT can move from defensive position to an offensive position with regard to use of the broadly defined “cloud”. In fact, we envision a time where IT with its insight into how all the multitude of Cloud applications are being used, will be in a position to cross apply to other parts proactivity to make to business perform better, rather than just be constrained to blocking the bad.
We did a lot of work in this market to understand the problem organizations face around cloud adoption and the alternatives being considered both existing legacy and emerging. Based on enterprise feedback, it was clear that Netskope has a great product, an amazing team and a clear vision for where to go. Breadth of covered applications, along with depth of fine grained behavior control and easy to use policy were recurring points of distinction. Instead of saying No to a SAAS application or all Cloud in general, progressive IT shops want to say Yes to the Cloud apps and then within that app block only the activity or behavior that is risky. For example, allow people to use the cloud apps they want, but prevent them from uploading PHI or PII to the cloud.
As we have seen in the past, significant changes to the external environment often requires IT to rethink how IT manages, controls, and enables. The irrepressible march toward intensive cloud consumption and mobile/tablet/BYOD use requires new solutions to a variety of new risks and problems. We believe Netskope is in a great position to lead and enable IT groups to play a central role in enabling both pervasive and safe use of the cloud.