Vectra raises $36M for its AI-based approach to cybersecurity intrusion detection

Feb. 26, 2018

With the trend of growing cybercrime showing no indication of abating, a startup called Vectra that has built an artificial intelligence-based system called Cognito to detect cyberattacks and mobilize security systems to respond to them, has raised $36 million to expand its R&D and business development.

This Series D comes on the back of a strong year for the startup, with 181% growth in customer subscriptions between 2016 and 2017, and Vectra’s CEO Hitesh Sheth said he expects the same this year. Typical customers are large enterprises (which is why you don’t see much about pricing on the site) and includes players in the financial, healthcare, government, tech, and education sectors.

While there are a number of solutions out there for trying to block malicious hackers and their various techniques, and there are systems in place for stopping them when they are found, there is a gap in the market for the moments where cyber criminals evade the best blocks and then proceed to steal data, sometimes for months or more.

Vectra does this using AI. Large enterprises, include many places, services, apps, and end points that need to be assessed for inconsistencies in how they are being queried and used in the network. Systems that are automated and use machine learning to essentially mimic the behavior of security specialists are the best at doing this kind of searching and identification.

Sheth claims that while there are a number of other intrusion and threat detection services out in the market—Darktrace, Cisco’s intrusion detection (built around a number of acquisitions) and RiskIQ being some of them—Vectra is the only one of these that is built on AI algorithms from the ground up.

He also says that the other aspect of its service that helps it stand out is its focus on network, rather than end-point, traffic. “If devices are compromised, end point logs are compromised.”

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