IBM buys data security startup Polar Security in reported $60M
IBM Corp. has acquired Polar Security Inc., a startup that helps companies protect the data they store in the cloud from hackers.
IBM didn’t disclose financial terms in its announcement of the deal today. Previously, TechCrunch reported that the company is paying about $60 million for Polar Security. The startup reportedly didn’t sell “for lack of runway” and is also believed to have drawn takeover interest from Datadog Inc., a publicly traded provider of observability software.
Tel Aviv-based Polar Security exited stealth mode last year with $8.5 million in seed funding. Its platform helps companies scan their public cloud environments for sensitive records such as customer credit card numbers. According to Polar Security, its algorithms can also find sensitive data stored in software-as-a-service applications.
After mapping out a company’s data assets, the startup’s platform flags potential cybersecurity risks. It can help administrators find file repositories that are accessible without a password. It also identifies more subtle cybersecurity issues, such as user accounts that have unnecessarily broad access to sensitive data.
The startup’s platform prioritizes the risks that it finds based on severity to help administrators tackle the most urgent issues first. For added measure, it generates remediation suggestions to speed up the troubleshooting process.
Polar Security says its platform is capable of finding not only cybersecurity risks but also regulatory compliance issues. The platform can, for example, identify if a company keeps financial data in a software-as-a-service application not certified to store such information.
It also promises to ease other regulatory compliance tasks. Some datasets have to be kept in the jurisdiction where they were generated to comply with local regulations. According to Polar Security, its platform can help companies detect when data is inadvertently moved to a cloud data center in a different jurisdiction.
The platform is based on a so-called agentless architecture. That means customers don’t have to deploy additional software in their cloud environments, which eases installation. Polar Security says companies can deploy its platform in as little as a few minutes.
“An agentless platform that connects within minutes, Polar Security can automatically find unknown and sensitive data across the cloud, including structured and unstructured assets,” Dinesh Nirmal, the senior vice president of products at IBM’s software division, wrote in a blog post. “Polar Security classifies the data, maps the potential and actual flow of that data, and identifies vulnerabilities.”
Following the acquisition, IBM plans to integrate the startup’s software into its Guardium cybersecurity portfolio. The product portfolio includes more than a half-dozen tools that companies can use to encrypt business data, fix vulnerabilities and perform related tasks.
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