Thycotic Buys Cyber Algorithms, a User Behavior Analytics Startup

Privileged access account management vendor Thycotic is picking up user behavior analytics smarts via the acquisition of Cyber Algorithms.

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Thycotic Acquires Cyber Algorithms

Privately held security vendor Thycotic is acquiring user behavior analytics startup Cyber Algorithms. Financial terms of the deal are not being publicly disclosed.

"We looked at finding the best cyber-security analytics technology and people, and we found it at Cyber Algorithms," Steve Kahan, chief marketing officer at Thycotic, told eWEEK.

Behavioral analytics technology is often difficult to use, but the Cyber Algorithms approach has made it intuitive and consumable by organizations, Kahan said. With the addition of Cyber Algorithms, Thycotic customers will be able to focus on high-risk users and user behavior to help stop threats, he said.

Cyber Algorithms was part of the fall 2015 cohort from cyber-security accelerator Mach37 and is the first company that graduated from the Mach37 program to be acquired.

"We invest early in companies that are mostly built by highly technical founders," Rick Gordon, managing partner at Mach37, told eWEEK. "A major investment thesis for us is embedding advanced capability into software that is consumable and easy to use."

The market for user behavior analytics is an increasingly crowded one with multiple vendors building on top of an open-source big data stack. Tim Brennan, founder of Cyber Algorithms, declined to provide specific technical details of the back-end infrastructure stack that Cyber Algorithms uses, but said that the main differentiator that Cyber Algorithms offers is in its use of a front-end analytics stack.

"We use a variety of back-end tools to process data, but we do that in a way that is totally transparent to the user so they don't have to worry about deploying complex infrastructure," Brennan told eWEEK.

Cyber Algorithms starts by looking at a user baseline to help establish what normal user behavior looks like, Brennan said. He noted that Cyber Algorithms also has some graph-based visualization capabilities that help translate analytics data into something that makes it easier for IT professionals to understand what a given alert is saying.

"We're also fortunate to be able to leverage data from Thycotic's other products to be able to build a rich understanding of what the user is doing, particularly around privileged access," Brennan said.

As part of Thycotic, the product integration effort is such that Cyber Algorithms technology will be an add-on to Thycotic's Secret Server product. Secret Server is an enterprise password management software platform that is available in cloud and on-premises versions.

"The add-on will give insight and alerting capabilities about what users are doing within Secret Server," Brennan said. "Secret Server is a proxy for what users are doing with privileged access accounts through a network."

Brennan added that Secret Server with the Cyber Algorithms add-on capability will be deployed in a monitor-only mode initially. That is, the system will not automatically take action based on generated alerts.

"The longer-term vision is to incorporate additional controls, things like prompting for a second factor for authentication, and requiring additional controls for things that are outside of the normal user activity" Brennan said.

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.