Startup Sookasa Aims to Secure Dispersed Cloud Files

The new company, which has raised more than $6.5 million in funding, attempts to solve the challenge of accidental sharing of cloud-based storage.

Cloud security startup Sookasa is emerging from stealth mode today, with the launch of its cloud security technology that aims to solve the challenge of distributed file security.

To fuel product and market development, Sookasa has raised $5 million in a Series A round of funding being announced today. The company had previously raised $1.65 million in a seed round of funding. Leading the company is an Israeli father and son team—Asaf Cidon serves as co-founder and CEO of the company, and his father, Israel Cidon, is the company's co-founder and chief technology officer. Israel Cidon previously ran a company called Actona that was sold to Cisco in 2004 for $100 million.

The big idea behind Sookasa is that cloud file services such as Dropbox represent a compliance challenge for organizations looking to secure data. While there are multiple vendors and solutions in the market that aim to provide encryption for cloud-based storage services, Asaf Cidon doesn't think that they go far enough because of a problem he refers to as data scattering.

With Dropbox, for example, data can be set to synchronize across multiple user devices, including desktop and mobile devices. In multiuser instances of cloud storage where an organization could be sharing files with any number of different people, the challenge of data scattering is further compounded.

Cidon said that with a cloud storage service, when an employee loses a phone or tablet, there is the potential for a large breach, since data could have been synchronized across the company from the cloud. One of the big risks related to cloud file storage is from unencrypted files, though that's not the only challenge, he said. Another risk is from the accidental sharing of files from the cloud storage service.

The Sookasa technology aims to solve those challenges with a cloud-based product that provides encryption and access control. Sookasa itself is deployed on Amazon, Cidon said, and enables an organization to centrally control cloud storage content across an entire company. The Sookasa technology aims to work seamlessly with cloud storage services, including Dropbox.

Sookasa 's approach involves the use of a number of different patented technologies that the company has developed. One of those technologies is a virtual file system layer. The Sookasa system doesn't actually store any of the user's data itself in the file system, Cidon said.

"Our technology provides a system for permissions and access control as an overlay for the cloud storage services," Cidon said. "Our patented system is all about the idea that it is possible to manage permissions on top of a file system that can be distributed and managed in a centralized fashion."

The Sookasa system uses encryption when handling access to actual files. When access to a given file is revoked for a certain user or a certain file, rather than attempting to wipe the file from the device, Sookasa just deletes the key.

Each file has its own encryption key, which is contained within a .Sookasa file type, according to Cidon.

"So we will actually store the encrypted key to the file as part of the metadata," he said. "To get the decrypted key to the file, you need to decrypt with a master key that is typically hosted by us for our customers."

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

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.