Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) provider Cato Networks has raised $130 million in a Series E funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with a new investor, Coatue, and existing investors, Greylock, Aspect Ventures / Acrew Capital, Singtel Innov8, and Shlomo Kramer. Cato is now valued at over $1 billion.
SASE is a rapidly emerging cloud-based technology that combines networking and security in a single platform. “The new ‘thing’ is SASE — Secure Access Service Edge, pronounced ‘sassy’,” wrote Gartner’s Andrew Lerner in a December 2019 blog. It is essentially “a new package of technologies including SD-WAN, SWG, CASB, ZTNA and FWaaS as core abilities, with the ability to identify sensitive data or malware and the ability to decrypt content at line speed, with continuous monitoring of sessions for risk and trust levels.”
He went on to warn that Gartner expects to see a lot of ‘hype and marketing’ around the subject. “Be wary of vendors that propose to deliver services by linking a large number of features via VM service chaining, especially when the products come from a number of acquisitions or partnerships. This approach may speed time to market but will result in inconsistent services, poor manageability and high latency.”
Cato insists it is different. “Only the Cato Cloud was built from the ground up as a converged and cloud-based global SASE service,” claims co-founder and CEO Shlomo Kramer. It uses the company’s own global private backbone that spans 60 PoPs worldwide. “This private backbone uses affordable, SLA-backed, IP capacity across multiple tier-1 carriers,” Kramer told SecurityWeek. “Our software monitors the carrier networks and selects the optimum path for every packet. The result is that customers get a highly reliable, predictable network at a fraction of the price of MPLS.”
Each POP contains Cato’s own distributed cloud-native software stack, ensuring secure access to the network from any edge device. The old approach would be to add corporate security to the endpoint, or to install security appliances in remote branches. With this approach, says Kramer, “new acquisitions and more resources would be needed — but Cato is different… Unlike appliances that are stuck in the branches, our cloud-based capabilities follow the user in the office, on the road, and at home. Same security and optimization everywhere making transitioning to remote work or from remote work back to the office simple.”
Tel Aviv, Israel-based Cato Networks was founded by Gur Shatz (president and COO), and Shlomo Kramer (CEO) in 2015. It has raised a total of $332 million to date. A series D funding round in April 2020 raised $77 million.