May 12, 2021 | Firm News

Security and Governance for the Data Cloud: Our Investment in Cyral

Casey Aylward

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Casey Aylward

The rise of data democratization — fueled by the use of data lakes and data warehouses — has expanded access to intelligence and insights to a broader and more diverse array of people within organizations. Today, apps and machine learning algorithms — not just databases and data scientists — are constantly accessing data for mission-critical business processes. But companies can’t see if a bad actor or bad data is flowing in through the myriad data streams and access points. As a result, they face a substantial new challenge: keeping their most precious resource — data — secure at a time when it’s never been more accessible. 

The proliferation of data and increased accessibility is largely a positive for companies searching for better ways to drive smart decision making, flag issues, and create market differentiation. But as developers continue to choose best-in-class solutions based on the shape of their data and performance needs, security teams have a significant challenge: the resulting data sprawl has produced a cloud-based black hole of sorts. Who’s touching that data? Is there governance around its use? How vulnerable is the data? How can you constantly monitor access to constantly changing data and thus secure it? Is it possible to set governance policy as code (versus in a control panel)? The answers to these questions have  largely been unknown — and unaddressed.

Until Cyral.

It’s why we’re deeply excited to announce our investment in Cyral, which ensures businesses can secure and govern their data in the cloud through an effective, intuitive data cloud security service. For the first time, companies prioritizing speed and efficiency through massive cloud-based services adoption can ensure that data access to their cloud is securely governed so data democratization and modernization continues unimpeded.

Cyral is helmed by an incredible leadership team that inspires great confidence. Manav Mital is a highly experienced CEO who built and successfully scaled Instart, a digital experience cloud company that improves web and mobile application performance, security and customer experience. Chief Technology Officer Srini Vadlamani brings deep cloud-native infrastructure expertise to his role, drawing on a wealth of experience from founding Imanis Data, where he also served as chief architect. Together they’ve built a team that executes on two difficult elements exceptionally well: developing deeply sophisticated, back-end security technology while marrying it with a simple, straightforward experience for developers and DevOps.

The company takes visibility beyond fairly standard practice in the application layer of the tech stack to new levels for the cloud-native data layer. Many others approach identity and access management by grouping individuals into a parent user for authorization, for example, or through over-permissioning user accounts, a very common but unfortunate practice with access management for databases. Cyral moves past traditional approaches that were geared for on-premises databases but that don’t work for a dynamic cloud environment. Instead, they deliver high-fidelity, per-user visibility designed specifically for the cloud-based data layer. Their service already has over 20 patents, a testament to this team’s technical prowess. Cyral can be used on databases for both analytical and business intelligence purposes — and production databases with no performance impact.

As more data becomes available to companies, and a greater number of people — technical and not — access it for business operations, organizations have generally been unable to drive a corresponding level of security, privacy, visibility and governance on their own. With Cyral’s unique data cloud sidecar, DevOps and security teams get observability, control, and protection that have never been previously enabled for the data cloud environment.

It’s a substantial achievement and we’re looking forward to seeing where Manav, Srini, and the team take it from here.

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