Just as the world has to deal with criminals, Internet users have to deal with malware (short for malicious software). And in recent years, the way to prevent these attacks has been through software that "detects" such invasions.
Sounds like a great solution. The problem is that malware gets smarter and comes in yet other forms.
So what do we do about it? One company - Bromium - believes the best form of defense isn't detection, but actual protection. And it's on to something.
Bromium, a three-year-old security firm, just raised $40 million in a Series C round led by Meritech Capital Partners, with participation from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Highland Capital Partners, Ignition Partners and Intel Capital.
The new round of funding brings Bromium's total amount of financing to $75.7 million, as it includes a $9.25 million Series A and a $26.5 million Series B, since the company launched in 2010.
Bromium's solution to malware is unique in that it offers companies micro-virtualization to isolate each user task in a hardware-isolated area, thereby preventing an attack from spreading into the enterprise.
Before Bromium, the "state of the art technology was to create two virtual machines on a laptop," said Gaurav Banga, co-founder and CEO of Bromium, in an interview. "What Bromium can do is create hundreds of these and create them in 20 mili-seconds."
Invariably, what is created is a "disposable" security path for each Internet task, Banga explained. The result is that "malware doesn't spread and is contained."
Prior to Bromium, legacy security products rely on detection-based technology, such as signatures, heuristics, and behavior analysis. Bromium says it's solving the problem by focusing on protection not detection.
Banga says with the new financing, the company plans on doubling its staff of 108 and doubling its customer base of 30 Fortune 500 and government clients. He also expects to see revenue more than double the $10 million it's estimated to post in 2013. Revenue in 2012 was zero.
The company prices its software per seat and per device (at around $150 per device). It's a perpetual licence, that comes with an annual maintenance cost that's around 20% to 30% of the $150 initial purchase price, depending on the level of maintenance and support. Companies that purchase a perpertual license in bulk do get a discount.
Banga says that his customers on average can recoup three year's worth of Bromium costs within one month since Bromium saves them money on what they may typically spend on clean-up, fines and security updates.