Venture capital investors bet big on zero trust

Data compromises have almost doubled over the past few years as the world goes more digital.

Zero trust, a new cybersecurity approach, is gaining momentum to secure modern digital environments as the world increasingly transitions to cloud-native applications. Nearly $3bn in cumulative venture capital (VC) funding was pumped in from 2018 to 2021 to equip legacy security models with zero trust. The goal is to enhance data security and reduce cyber threats primarily related to enterprise digital transformation and remote connectivity, reveals GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Kiran Raj, Practice Head at GlobalData, comments: “Data compromises have almost doubled over the past few years as the world goes more digital, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrations. Traditional perimeter-based security models are no longer sufficient to address the growing cyber threats in the rapidly evolving digital age. Against the backdrop, enterprises explore zero trust as it takes a micro-level approach to authenticate and approve access at every point within a network.”

Prasad Kakade, Senior Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “VC deals in the zero-trust space have resulted in billion-dollar-plus valuations for many nascent start-ups. The funding is predominantly inclined towards zero trust solutions such as multi factor authentication (MFA), identity access management (IAM), and micro-segmentation.”

California-based start-up Netskope secures users, applications, data, and resources by removing implicit trust and deploying MFA, single sign-on (SSO), and zero trust network access (ZTNA). In July 2021, it secured $US300m funding led by investor ICONIQ Growth with participation from investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Accel, and others to expand both its platform and go-to-market initiatives.

California-based start-up Illumio offers zero trust segmentation to protect against ransomware and isolate cyberattacks from spreading across cloud-native apps, hybrid and multi-cloud, data centres, and endpoints. In June 2021, it closed a $US225m Series F funding round at a $US2.75bn valuation led by Thoma Bravo and supported by Franklin Templeton to expand investment in customer success, product innovation, and global partner strategy.

Colorado-based startup Jumpcloud enables enterprises to gain secure access to cloud environments using IAM and SSO. In September 2021, secured $US159m in Series F funding led by Sapphire Ventures with participation from Owl Rock, Whale Rock Capital, and others to provide a modern workforce that supports heterogeneous applications, devices, and security needs.

Kakade concludes: “Cybersecurity spending will escalate and acquire a larger share of IT budgets as enterprises globally focus on eliminating cyber threats. New developments in zero trust micro-segmentation principles are anticipated to attract VC interest that verify devices based on their IP address and public key infrastructure (PKI) certificate, among other factors.”



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