CUJO AI and Aviatrix Deal Highlights Cloud Security Trends

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By: Mary Jander

This week, startup CUJO AI today announced it's deploying cloud-based networking from Aviatrix to extend its endpoint security solutions to service providers worldwide.

The move reflects several important trends in the cloud security space, including growth in demand for endpoint and IoT security; the use of artificial intelligence (AI); and a frenzy of startup activity (alliances, M&A, and funding).

Broadening Endpoint Security

Let’s start at the top. CUJO AI, founded in 2015 and headquartered in El Segundo, California, offers a stack of software for use by providers of cloud-based mobile and broadband smart home and office services, such as Comcast’s Xfinity xFi. The startup claims to be protecting over half a billion devices worldwide, defending home users against threats like ransomware attacks while letting them control access to various Internet sites and services.

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Though CUJO AI’s edge and device stack is integrated with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure, the startup wants to offer more advanced automation, visibility, and control. Aviatrix is enabling deeper integration of the security functionality with automated cloud networking orchestration which can be deployed in cloud-native environments.

Further, Aviatrix offers a kind of authentication CUJO AI wants — namely, VPN access control via client-based Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), which CUJO says streamlines the interaction between users and the service network.

An Endpoint Explosion

The CUJO AI/Aviatrix alliance reflects growing interest in the endpoint security market, which according to a recent report is on track to grow 7.6% annually from $12.8 billion in 2019 to $18.4 billion by 2024. Of course, these figures include endpoints such as point-of-sale terminals and healthcare workstations, but it’s clear there’s growing demand for securing the lengthening roster of cloud-connected devices across a range of industries worldwide.

AI to the Rescue

Another trend highlighted by today’s news is the rise of AI in cloud-based security. As noted in Futuriom’s latest Tech Primer, the use of machine learning and deep analytics is growing in cybersecurity, thanks to AI’s ability to quickly digest floods of raw data and then direct action to mitigate a growing universe of cyber threats.

CUJO AI says it uses machine learning to replace any reliance on DNS-based security or deep packet inspection, which CUJO says are outdated approaches that limit the effectiveness of security solutions.

Alliances and Beyond

Today’s news also reveals the increased activity among young companies eager to grab market share, even if it means turning to competitors for help, merging with another firm, or getting more funding.

For instance, in January 2019, CUJO AI partnered with a rival startup, Cylance, to widen both companies’s range of potential customers. In February 2019, the startup partnered in customer sales with AirTies, a maker of WiFi optimization products, including a cloud-based remote management console for service providers’s WiFi networks.

For Aviatrix, alliances are key to expanding the reach of its services. Besides a range of technology partnerships, the company this past fall added Oracle to its roster of cloud integrations, which already includes AWS, Google, and Microsoft. (Can Salesforce be far behind?) And in December 2019, the company unveiled integration with Cisco routers for branch offices.

Aviatrix is hardly alone: The complexities of cloud-based security are drawing companies into a dizzying pattern of partnerships, leading in some cases to mergers. Texas-based AI startup JASK, for instance, was purchased by Sumo Logic in November 2019 for an undisclosed sum. And last month, F5 Networks forked over $1 billion for Shape Security, maker of AI-based fraud detection for online systems in banks and other enterprises.

Startup activity has also hit Sysdig, a San Francisco-based company founded in 2014 that secures DevOps processes in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Next week, word has it the company will take a Series E round of funding somewhere between $50 million and $99 million from investors that include Insight Ventures, Bain Capital, Accel, Glynn Capital, and Goldman. Sysdig also is said to be opening an international subsidiary to help expand its reach, particularly in financial services.

A Shapeshifting Market

Digital transformation has spawned a hoard of security problems — and emerging solutions based on AI and technology from a growing list of expert startups. The result is a shape-shifting market, in which alliances such as that between CUJO AI and Aviatrix will continue unfettered. Expect surprises.