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SASE Firm Cato Networks Raises $77 Million

Cato Networks, a firm poised to take advantage of the sudden acceleration of business transformation and working from home caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has raised $77 million in a Series D funding round.

The funding is led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from Aspect Ventures, Greylock Partners, Singtel Innov8, U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), and Shlomo Kramer (co-founder and CEO). It brings the total raised to date to $202 million.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based Cato Networks was founded in 2015 by Kramer and Gur Shatz (CTO). It is an early provider of the emerging technology known as secure access service edge (SASE). The technology converges the function of network and security point solutions into a unified, global cloud-native solution. It reduces the complexity of both the network architecture and securing that network, while making response to new developments and demands more agile.

This is particularly relevant today. "The global pandemic has disrupted business-as-usual and underscored the need for an adaptable infrastructure," said Kramer. "While many companies struggle to enable work-from-home remote access to all employees, Cato customers only had to flip-a-switch. That's the power of one converged global network and security platform enabling enterprises to be ready for whatever's next."

The funding was arranged prior to the pandemic, which has simply thrown a growing movement towards distributed networks and home working into overdrive. Cato extends networking and security to each user's laptop, phone or tablet. With a CATO client or clientless browser access, such users dynamically connect to the nearest Cato PoP, from where they are routed to on-premise or cloud applications. Cato's security protects against threats and enforces application access control.

"Cato revolutionizes the way IT thinks about networking and security," says Yoni Cheifetz, partner at Lightspeed. "We believe Cato is uniquely positioned to disrupt the global market for security, networking, and access with an architecture that is unmatched by any other solution available today."

In August 2019, Gartner predicted, "By 2024, at least 40% of enterprises will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE, up from less than 1% at year-end 2018." It explained the reasoning in a subsequent blog: "Digital business transformation inverts network and security service design patterns, shifting the focal point to the identity of the user and/or device -- not the data center. Security and risk management leaders need a converged cloud-delivered secure access service edge to address this shift."

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Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.