SoftLayer Founder Launches StackPath to Help Secure Internet

By Sean Michael Kerner  |  Posted 2016-07-25 Print this article Print
Internet security

Although it's only now emerging from stealth, the security company already claims to have more than 30,000 customers.

With a $150 million Series A round of funding, StackPath is officially being launched today by the company's CEO Lance Crosby as a new platform to help secure the Internet.

Crosby is a well-known name in technology circles, not only founding SoftLayer Technologies but serving as its CEO from 2005 until 2013, when IBM acquired the company for $2.1 billion. In January 2015, after working as a general manager of IBM's Cloud division for a year and a half, Crosby left IBM and has since kept a relatively low profile—until today.

"StackPath is a security platform that is developer-centric and API-driven that allows customers to spin up security capabilities on the fly," Crosby told eWEEK.

StackPath is debuting with four capabilities: content delivery networking (CDN), Web application firewall (WAF), distributed denial of service (DDoS) and virtual private networking (VPN). The plan is to expand later this year with secure containers, storage and Domain Name System (DNS) capabilities.

StackPath has used the $150 million raised in a Series A round led by Abry Partners to build the platform as well as make a number of acquisitions. Although StackPath is only now officially emerging from stealth, it has already acquired CDN vendor MaxCDN, WAF vendor Fireblade and VPN vendor Cloak. The company is not commenting on the financial terms associated with any of its acquisitions, according to Crosby.

By acquiring existing companies, StackPath is somewhat different from a typical startup in that it already has some 30,000 customers that were already customers of the acquired companies. Crosby explained that StackPath is building out back-office operations for the acquired companies to enable them all to scale globally.

"At launch, we now have 25 POPs [points of presence] across the globe," Crosby said.

StackPath's goal isn't to be a disparate collection of security services, but rather to become a global threat intelligence engine. The StackPath platform will be available in a hybrid model with both on-premises and cloud delivery models. The plan is to have at least 12 different services available to customers to provide a full view of the Internet.

Among the services that StackPath is working on is an advanced secure DNS capability that will use blockchain for security. Blockchain is a distributed trust and ledger capability that first became popular in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency and has since found favor with financial service companies as well.

"The premise behind blockchain is to have a trusted mechanism that everyone verifies," Crosby said. "With blockchain, we can create private interactions over the public Internet and not be exposed to malware."

Underlying the StackPath platform as a whole is the use of containers. Crosby explained that for container orchestration StackPath is using Mesosphere, which is the lead commercial sponsor behind the open-source Apache Mesos container management platform. StackPath is using Mesosphere for all the provisioning and de-provisioning of its security services, he said.

"Containers work for the majority of things we do," Crosby said. "A lot of the services we sell will be sold as both stand-alone and as a shared service, and containers are great for that."

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


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