IBM Acquires Startup Focused On Securing Cloud And SaaS Data

The acquisition of Polar Security will bring data security posture management capabilities to IBM’s Guardium portfolio.


Polar Security CEO and co-founder Guy Shanny

IBM announced Tuesday its acquisition of Polar Security, a two-year-old startup that specializes in securing data within cloud environments and SaaS applications.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed by IBM. Prior to the announcement Tuesday, TechCrunch reported that IBM had paid around $60 million to acquire San Jose, Calif.-based Polar Security.

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Founded in January 2021, Polar Security had raised an $8.5 million seed funding round in early 2022.

In a post about the acquisition, IBM called Polar Security a “pioneer” in the area of data security posture management. The startup offers an agentless, automation-driven platform that can rapidly discover data — including sensitive and previously unknown data — across cloud data stores. The Polar Security technology works with data in cloud service providers, SaaS apps and data lakes, IBM said.

Once the data is discovered, the startup’s technology “classifies the data, maps the potential and actual flow of that data, and identifies vulnerabilities, such as misconfigurations, over-entitlements and behavior that violates policy or regulations,” IBM said in the post.

In 2022, Polar Security CEO and co-founder Guy Shanny said that the company’s platform offers “complete visibility of all data stores.”

“In most organizations that we’ve spoken with, answering simple questions such as where is the company’s data, what’s inside and is it sensitive — and where is it going to — is a very manual process,” Shanny said.

Polar Security deploys automation to provide these answers — and “only our unique technology does this [in a way that’s] completely agentless, with no impact on the workload,” he said at the time.

IBM’s plan is to add the Polar Security technology into its Guardium data security product portfolio.

The deal is IBM’s fifth acquisition in 2023, and the company has acquired “more than 30” overall since Arvind Krishna joined as CEO in April of 2020.