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Virtualized Cloud Visibility Firm Orca Security Raises $20.5 Million

Los Angeles, Calif- and Tel-Aviv, Israel-based cloud visibility firm Orca Security has raised $20.5 million in a Series A funding round led by GGV Capital with participation from YL Ventures and SVCI (Silicon Valley CISO Investments, a syndicate of individual CISOs who invest their own money in promising new technology). The funds add to $6.5 million seed funding raised last year, and bring the total investment in the firm to $27 million raised in less than a year.

The company's security platform provides deep, workload-level visibility into virtualized cloud environments.

Orca Security Logo

Orca's CEO is Avi Shua, formerly chief technologist at Check Point. Before joining Check Point, Shua worked almost 10 years with the Israeli intelligence Unit 8200. "The most important lesson I learned is this," he says in a blog announcing the funding: "Believe you'll find a solution to any given problem. Never assume that existing approaches are the only possible solutions." This echoes comments from Lior Div, CEO, cofounder of Cybereason and another of the Israeli Unit 8200 alumni. He told SecurityWeek, "You are taught one thing in particular: there is no such thing as impossible -- there is no notion of what you can and cannot do."

It is this instilled refusal to accept the common approach as the only solution to any problem that has fueled the growth of innovative Israeli cybersecurity startups over the last dozen years. Orca is one of these -- and the problem Shua sought to solve is visibility into the virtualized cloud.

Traditional security products are based on securing physical objects in the data center or on the desktop. "There are only two ways you can secure a physical computer," he says. "You either check all traffic going in or coming out (endpoint security) or you install agents within the system (network security)." 

Neither of these are very effective in the modern virtualized cloud environment, where you don't have physical machines to secure -- you have workloads. "These are virtual workloads that we call virtual machines just as a metaphor to the physical machines we are used to," he told SecurityWeek. Unlike physical machines, virtualized workloads are not static by nature.

However, many cloud security controls are still those used for physical machines. The transient nature of a workload in a virtual environment effectively makes it impossible for endpoint and network security to continuously map onto the workload -- and the result is whack-a-mole trying to secure the workloads with long periods of zero security visibility.

"There's a better way," said Shua: "there's a more effective choke point within a virtual environment. That's the virtualization itself." Orca has developed new technology to view the virtual workloads from within the virtualization. "The secret sauce," he blogged, "our unique, patent-pending, SideScanning technology that reads the workloads' run time block storage out-of-band, and cross-references this with cloud context pulled directly from the cloud vendors' APIs."

The result is that ORCA sees everything that happens, 'every bit, every byte, every file and every change'. "It's a bit like an MRI scan compared to explorative surgery," he told SecurityWeek. "Orca is the MRI scan that sees and can analyze every cell within the body. The old-fashioned route is like trying to use blind surgery to find a problem that might exist but you're not sure where."

Orca provides full visibility into the entire virtualized environment for AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform. It can find vulnerabilities, malware, misconfigurations, lateral movement risk, weak and leaked passwords, and high-risk data such as PII. It can solve the compliance problems of knowing precisely where sensitive personal data is located. And it can do this easily and very quickly.

"What I like most about Orca Security is that you get very deep results with only a small investment in time. You get value on day one," comments Andy Ellis, CISO at Akamai. "Within minutes, we gained full visibility into our AWS account," added Shahar Maor, CISO at Fiverr. "Before Orca, I had zero visibility. Now, I see everything I need to see. Plus, we now have a single tool that does it all." 

Orca Security was founded in 2019 by Avi Shua (CEO), Ety Spiegel Hubara, Gil Geron (CPO), Hadas Amitay (senior software developer), Liran Antebi (chief architect), Matan Ben-Gur (chief architect), Shay Filosof (senior software engineer), and Wagde Zabit (senior software engineer). All eight cofounders came from Check Point.

Related: Cloud Visibility Firm Orca Security Emerges From Stealth Mode 

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Related: Kaspersky Launches Hybrid Cloud Security Product 

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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.