The 10 Coolest Security Startups Of 2017

The 10 startups making noise in the cybersecurity market include companies solving challenges around analytics, the cloud, automation and orchestration, and privileged account management.

Startups Securing The Future

A wave of security upstarts are looking to make their mark in everything from the cloud to analytics to automation and orchestration.

CRN has identified 10 security startups that have stood out from the crowd in 2017 thanks to new funding, the launch of a channel program, or key executive wins. These companies are solving security challenges in areas ranging from web and email content to privileged account management to endpoint detection and response.

Here are the steps these security startups have taken in 2017 to make themselves indispensable to the channel.

Read the newest entry: The 10 Hottest Cybersecurity Startups Of 2022

Get more from CRN's 2017 tech retrospect.


CEO: Lior Div

Cybereason hired its first-ever channel chief in May and unveiled its inaugural partner program a month later. The Boston-based security startup introduced a three-tier program broken down by revenue and certification requirements, with higher-tier companies unlocking more access to free sales and enablement training, technical training, deal registration, MDF and discounts. Cybereason in June also announced $100 million in new funding from previous investor and customer SoftBank Group. The endpoint detection and response company looks to bring an offensive mind-set to security, actively hunting for threats in an environment using machine learning and providing visibility and forensics tools when a threat is identified.


CEO: Slavik Markovich

Demisto launched its first partner program in June as the market for security automation and orchestration heats up. The Cupertino, Calif.-based startup unveiled a two-tier program as well as provisions for deal registration, incumbency on expansionary and renewal sales, first right of refusal on professional services, pre- and post-sales training and high-margin pricing. The new program is being led by Bob Kruse, who joined the company in April after spending a year as Optiv's vice president of partner solutions. Demisto is looking to add managed security service providers, systems integrators, technology partners and consulting partners, Kruse said. The security automation and orchestration company was founded in 2015, and received $20 million of venture capital funding in February.


CEO: Chris Jordan

Fluency unveiled its first channel program in August to stake a claim in the hotly competitive security automation, orchestration and analytics market. The College Park, Md.-based startup introduced a two-tier program with benefits around education, deal registration, sales playbooks, and access to the company's subscription products. Fluency started with a direct approach to the market, but is now looking to put more emphasis behind its channel. The company offers its service as a subscription and looks to bring security analytics capabilities to bear to provide context and correlation behind events, run machine learning, and provide automation and orchestration. Fluency differentiates itself by filling the gaps around audit logs and going beyond security alerts to analyze data from many different sources in real time.

Illusive Networks

CEO: Ofer Israeli

Illusive Networks made a splash in June with its appointment of well-known security industry executive Dave DeWalt as vice chairman of its board of directors. His appointment was the latest win for the New York-based deception technology startup, which announced the announcement of a strategic investment by Microsoft Ventures and multiple large client additions. The company's Deception Everywhere solutions uses an agentless approach to "turn the tables on attackers" by installing decoy data onto laptops, desktops, servers and data centers to root out attackers already in the environment. Illusive Networks was founded in 2014 and hired its first channel chief a year later, appointing former Palo Alto Networks and Extreme Networks executive Tracy Pallas to lead its 100 percent channel strategy.


CEO: Guy Nizan

IntSights launched its first official partner program in October as the company moves to a 100 percent channel model under new channel chief Jessica Couto. The new program is flat in structure, with contract options for resellers, MSSPs, and a referral component. IntSights will offer deal registration and protection and reward partners with significant gross profit on deals rather than focus on discounting. Couto joined IntSights in July after helping Carbonite, Carbon Black, Kaspersky Lab and Hexadite build out their partner programs. The cybersecurity intelligence firm was founded in Israel in 2015, and opened up a New York-based headquarters in November 2016. The current partner program is for the Americas, with an international program expected to debut in January 2018.

Menlo Security

CEO: Amir Ben-Efraim

Menlo Security launched a new partner program in January as part of a strategy to push all of its business through the channel. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup's program has two tiers, with resellers in the higher tier getting additional margin, deal protection, training and focus from the sales team. Menlo Security had about 20 partners across the Americas at the start of the year, and planned to use the new program to bring awareness to tier-one and tier-two partner opportunities. The company's platform isolates all web and email content in the cloud before it reaches the endpoint. From there, end users can view a mirror presentation of the information without having to touch it or categorize it as good or bad.

Obsidian Security

CEO: Glenn Chisholm

Three former top executives from competitors Carbon Black and Cylance came together in June and launched Obsidian Security to target the next wave of enterprise security challenges. The Newport Beach, Calif.-based company launched with $9.5 million of venture capital funding in its pocket thanks to a Series A round led by Greylock Partners. Obsidian will involve channel partners during both the product development and go-to-market phases of its development. The company is looking to take its experience in data telemetry and threat detection from Carbon Black and artificial intelligence and machine learning from Cylance to provide a more uniform view of defense. Obsidian is focused on building its staff and product in 2017, and hopes to start putting its offerings in the hands of some enterprise customers in early 2018.


CEO: Varun Badhwar

RedLock launched its first official partner program in August as part of its plan to sell exclusively through the channel. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup's partner program includes generous margins, marketing programs, training and enablement, the company said. RedLock publicly unveiled its technology in May and revealed that it had raised $12 million of funding to date. The company makes a platform for enterprises to see what is inside their cloud infrastructure, providing a common control point for workload discovery, continuous monitoring and cloud forensics. RedLock is focused on recruiting regional security VARs, through the company will also look to add some cloud implementation partners and managed service providers.


CEO: Tim Keeler

Remediant scored a major win in May when it landed JD Sherry, who had spent 16 months as Optiv Security's vice president of cloud security and strategy. As chief revenue officer, Sherry is overseeing sales, marketing, channels and alliances, and plans to make the channel a major part of Remediant's go-to-market strategy. The San Francisco-based privileged account management startup offers a platform for visibility, administration and enforcement around privileged accounts. Remediant believes its privileged account management offering requires less professional services and is easily scalable, both of which are common complaints about competing platforms. Remediant has already seen traction with large customers such as Lockheed Martin, Sherry told CRN in May.


CEO: Aleksandr Yampolskiy

SecurityScorecard launched an inaugural partner program in January in a push to go from a direct sales model to one that is fully invested in the channel. The partner program is by invitation only, and features a net margin model and margin protection for partners. The program launch follows the September 2016 appointment of former Tanium channel chief Michael Rogers as vice president of strategic alliances and channel sales. Although the New York-based security rating platform had mostly been a direct sales company, SecurityScorecard started pushing toward a majority channel model after it raised $20 million in funding in June 2016, led by Google Ventures. The company is also shifting incentives for current sales teams to ensure their full commitment to partners.