Security Startup Cato Networks Raises $30M to Expand Globally

By Sean Michael Kerner  |  Posted 2016-09-13 Print this article Print
Cato Networks, cloud network security

The cloud overlay networking security vendor Cato Networks raised new funds to help grow its global footprint.

Shlomo Kramer is well-known in the security industry as the co-founder of Check Point, arguably the world's first network security firewall vendor. Kramer now leads a new security company called Cato Networks, which on Sept. 13 announced a $30 million Series B round of funding.

The funding round included the participation of Greylock Partners, Singtel Innov8, U.S. Venture Partners (USVP) and Aspect Ventures and follows the company's $20 million Series A round announced in June 2015. The new Series B funding will be used to expand Cato Networks' global operations with additional points of presence for the Cato Cloud security platform.

Cato Networks first began to talk about its technology publicly in February of this year, when the company emerged from stealth mode. The basic approach behind Cato Networks is to use the cloud to enable a single logical network for organizations that provides integrated security.

"We have a very rich road map of capabilities both on the networking and on the security side that we plan to roll out over the next 18 months," Kramer told eWEEK.

A key promise for Cato Networks is that the company is making it as easy as it can for organizations to adopt the technology. Rather than requiring a specific piece of hardware, as a networking overlay, Cato's technology can be adopted with just a configuration change on an organization's existing routers.

"There are now so many new security startups and each one has a gadget or a widget with various capabilities, and the problem is that the market can't consume them," Kramer said.

There simply is not enough expertise in the mid-tier of enterprises, either on the networking or on the security side to implement complex technologies, so Cato Networks' vision is to make security simple and consumable by every organization, irrespective of existing IT skill sets, he said.

Since Cato Networks is a software company, it can enable capabilities in the network and security stack it uses more easily than if it were reliant on hardware, and the company is converging the network infrastructure stack with integrated security capabilities, he said.

"With Check Point, when we introduced the idea of the network firewall, Cisco and other vendors asked why a separate appliance was necessary for security," Kramer said.

Check Point's networking vendor competitors early on all claimed that they would embed network security directly into existing routers and switches; however, that never really happened, which is why Check Point became successful and a market emerged for network firewall appliances, Kramer said. Firewall security wasn't directly embedded into routers and switches due to the fact that in the late 1990s networks were hardware-based, he explained.

"The Cato Networks platform today is now all software-defined; there is no hardware," Kramer said. "Being software-based enables us to converge the networking and security stacks, and that is key to our road map."

Another core element that is different in 2016 than when Kramer helped to start Check Point in 1993 is the broad availability of open-source software for networking. Kramer said that Cato Networks uses multiple open-source technologies as part of its overall platform.

Looking forward, Kramer is confident that Cato Networks has the right approach and platform in place to grow. "Right now the main challenge is just building the company and executing our plans," Kramer said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.


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