RiskSense lands $7M for assessment service

RiskSense, software-as-a-service that evaluates the security of corporate networks and generates a risk score, has been self-financed since its launch last year, but now has harnessed venture funding to help boost its R&D and hire marketing and sales staff.

The $7 million funding round includes Paladin Capital Group, Sun Mountain Capital, EPIC Ventures, and other strategic and private investors.

Tim Greene

RiskSense CEO Srinivas Mukkamala

RiskSense Service can be based in the provider’s cloud or in a corporate cloud. Customers point data gathered on their networks to the service, and it analyzes it. The service taps configuration management and other network-based information blends it with threat intelligence from 60 internet sources, to spot vulnerabilities and evaluate how severe the impact would be to the business if they were exploited.

This risk is expressed a RiskSense Score, which ranges from 300 to 850, the same scale as is used for credit ratings so users will have an intuitive sense of what the score means, says CEO Srinivas Mukkamala.

The score can be used to prioritize assets that need immediate attention whether they are within a business unit or a link to a business partner. The score can be used to evaluate another organization’s risk when considering a merger or acquisition.

The platform gets visibility to help determine risk, quantifies it and prioritizes what needs to be done to remediate, he says.

If the vulnerabilities of a network are identified, they can be lined up with known exploits to determine how vulnerable the network is to malware. Data about known vulnerabilities is taken from internal security scanners, threat intelligence sources and partners.

In prioritizing risk the service reduces the work in-house staff would have to do manually gathering data and analyzing it and then crating a workflow to improve the security posture. The platform can go back afterwards to see if remediation has actually reduced risk.

It can help businesses that have limited personnel resources to perform the work in-house, Mukkamala says.

The service could be called into play by cyber insurance vendors to evaluate how much to charge potential customers or to insist that they reduce their risk, he says.

Customers’ networks remain on the service all the time so the results aren’t static snapshots but rather a constantly updated assessment that lets organizations validate whether they are gaining or losing over time.

The company is a spinoff from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology where Mukkamala and other researchers came up with the idea and set up the company, which launched in May 2015. The same group worked on a U.S. government project called Computational Analysis of Cyber Terrorism against the U.S. (CACTUS), which was designed to understand how the cyber realm becomes weaponized during actual conflicts between countries.

Mukkamala went to the college administration and got them to agree to let him use it to start the business in return for it being the largest shareholder.

The company claims 120 customers in state and local government, health care, insurance and utilities. It has about 70 employees.

The service costs $15 per year per IP address evaluated by the service.

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