I.T. managers facing the difficult either-or choice of cloud app agility versus tight-laced security Relevant Products/Services now have another option from the Los Altos, California-based company Netskope. They can worry less and get a firmer grip on what is going on with the support of the startup's software.

Netskope emerged from stealth on Thursday, announcing $21 million in funding. During the last year, Netskope software was vetted and tested by medium and large companies, including Fortune 500 organizations. The company announced the general availability of its cloud app analytics Relevant Products/Services and policy platform.

Funding sources are Social+Capital Partnership and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Netskope will use the $21 million primarily for sales expansion and product development.

Tracking Cloud Apps and Usage

The company fundamentally transforms the blur of what a company is using for cloud apps and provides visibility and, in turn, opportunities for better security. The software identifies all the cloud applications in an enterprise Relevant Products/Services whether they're authorized or not and gives its user the analytics and tools to set policies.

The goal is to allow employees to use their favorite cloud applications, but in a secure Relevant Products/Services way. As the team puts it: "The software is intended as a way to enforce precise policies so you can say yes to people's favorite apps and simply limit the unwanted activity, rather than block the app altogether."

You can almost bet companies will have problems when workers use numerous cloud-based apps to help do their jobs yet over which I.T. has little control. Netskope gives I.T. the tools to manage those apps. The software also provides actionable insights on usage behavior.

The company's user targets are I.T. managers, including CIOs, looking for practical solutions for controlling "shadow" cloud applications. These I.T. managers have to account for overall app usage in the environment across any endpoint or device. But that's easier said than done with the present-day proliferation of phones and tablets being brought into the equation.

Policy a Few Clicks Away

"We created Netskope to eliminate the Catch 22 between being agile and being secure," CEO Sanjay Beri said.

Working with I.T. leaders in companies over the last few years, Beri said he saw firsthand a massive adoption of cloud applications in businesses of all types. He also noticed how in some large companies, the adoption was being done in a fragmented way, with business Relevant Products/Services units and individuals adopting services at different times and I.T. sometimes being left out of the loop. The software is designed to bring I.T. back into the equation.

The platform lets decision makers create policies "in a few clicks" that can optimize cloud usage while protecting data Relevant Products/Services security.

Netskope also said Thursday that Netskope users will have access to its cloud confidence index, drawing on a database of more than 2,600 cloud apps that have been assessed on criteria such as security, auditability and disaster recovery, and assigning each app a score.

Score Results

The bottom-scoring categories of cloud apps, said Beri, were software development, marketing Relevant Products/Services and productivity areas, which fell short because they lacked features such as compliance certifications, encryption of data at rest and enforcement of complex passwords.

The top-scoring cloud apps were in the enterprise resource planning, document management, and security categories. "The top-scoring apps tend to address audit logging, granular role-based policies and separation of customers" data in the cloud much better than bottom-scoring apps, said Beri.

Netskope, which employs more than 50 people, sets pricing on a subscription basis per user per year. The company plans to showcase its platform at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando next week.