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Q&A: Interview with Skyhigh Networks Talking Cloud Security and Enablement

Skyhigh Networks, a provider of cloud discovery, analysis and control services, recently announced general availability of its new platform at RSA that allows enterprises to know exactly which cloud services their employees use and the risk those services may pose. To find out more, I spoke with the company's CEO and founder, Rajiv Gupta.

VMblog: Tell me more about Skyhigh Networks and your recent news announcement.

Rajiv Gupta: Skyhigh Networks is all about enabling employees to use cloud services in a safe way. Our services are completely "zero touch." We require no software or hardware installation and enterprises can even use the service with remote employees accessing the corporate network from their own mobile devices. Following an extensive beta period with the use of our services by several big-name pilot customers from the Fortune 500, we've now launched the platform.

VMblog: Can you explain to us what problem Skyhigh Networks solves?

Gupta: Today companies face a real problem with what is referred to as "Shadow IT." Employees go around corporate IT departments and start using various cloud services without the knowledge of their IT departments, leaving those departments in the dark about what is happening in their enterprises. All the CIOs and CISOs I spoke with thought that their employees were using less than 40 cloud services, but in all of their enterprises we found that they were using over 200 cloud services, in some cases over 1,000 cloud services.

The problem here is that not all of those services are safe. For example, some cloud services have onerous license agreements that busy employees will often not read and others store user data in such a way as can be easily hacked by dangerous third-parties. Skyhigh enables CIOs and CISOs to see which cloud services their employees are using and what the risks associated with those services are. We give them tools that in just three clicks allow them to take immediate corrective action.

VMblog: And how does Skyhigh Networks work?

Gupta: Our clients simply send us their log files. Clients even have the option to "tokenize" their log files so that nothing they deem sensitive will be transmitted. From there it takes us les than half an hour to give our clients a report informing them of how many cloud services their enterprise is using and the risk levels of those services.

Using Skyhigh over time, we give clients an idea of what anomalous use of, even safe, cloud services looks like. We do this by building long-term behavioral models of what typical cloud service usage looks like, using a proprietary hadoop processing engine. For example, if I know that "Gary" generally only looks at 10 Salesforce contacts per day but all of a sudden I see that he has downloaded 200 Salesforce contacts I want to flag that. While it may not be a problem, "Gary" could be about to walk out the door and take valuable contact information with him. Lastly, Skyhigh provides encryption services such that employees can feel comfortable using services like Dropbox knowing that their data is secure. I also want to emphasize again that Skyhigh Networks' services are completely "zero touch." We are a cloud-based service and require no hardware or software installation in order to operate. There is no impact on the user experience with any of these services. And we don't require an agent to run on remote mobile devices.

VMblog: How is Skyhigh Networks different from other solutions in the market?

Gupta: Quite simply nobody is currently offering the services which Skyhigh Networks is offering, certainly not on the discovery and analysis side where we are able to tell customers how many cloud services they are using and what risks those cloud services may pose. While some companies offer part of what we are offering on the control or enablement side, such as encryption services, nobody is able to offer this as a complete package.

VMblog: And who uses Skyhigh Networks' Services?

Gupta: Skyhigh Networks is used by many mid to large enterprises from backgrounds as diverse as financial services, manufacturing, technology, law, and healthcare. Our goal as a company is to get to the point where every enterprise using cloud services will want to use Skyhigh Networks.

VMblog: How will Skyhigh Networks ensure that it can continuously deliver a valuable and reliable service?

Gupta: Skyhigh Networks is a platform that learns - we are not a static company. Today we have risk profiles assessing more than 30 parameters on more than 2,000 services with more added daily. Over time our services will only become more valuable as we develop a registry of an increasing number of cloud services complete with descriptions, risk assessments, and, if necessary, suggestions for alternative services with higher security.

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Thanks again to Rajiv Gupta, CEO and Founder of Skyhigh Networks for taking time out to speak with VMblog and answer a few questions.
Published Monday, February 25, 2013 10:00 AM by David Marshall
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