Sweet Security raises $12M seed round for its cloud security suite
Sweet Security, a Tel Aviv-based cloud security startup, today announced that it has raised a $12 million seed round led by Glilot Capital Partners, with participation from CyberArk Ventures and a number of angel investors including Gerhard Eschelbeck, a former CISO at Google and Travis McPeak, who led product security at Databricks.
Sweet provides businesses with a real-time cloud-native security suite that aims to help security teams quickly stop attacks on cloud workloads. The company was co-founded by a number of security veterans: Dror Kashti, the former CISO of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), Eyal Fisher, the former head of the Cyber Department at the IDF’s Unit 8200, and Orel Ben-Ishay, the former head of cybersecurity at the IDF’s R&D group Unit 81.
Kashti noted that toward the end of his time in the IDF, the Israeli government and military prepared for Project Nimbus, the cloud computing project that looked into how Israel could move its sensitive workloads securely into the cloud (a project, we should note, that wasn’t uncontroversial).
“I needed to sign the security paragraph of this project,” Kashti said. “As a CISO, you don’t have any insurance policy. You need to manage your risk. […] But I couldn’t find any good tools for detect and response in real time in the cloud. I looked for half a year and I couldn’t find anything.” So when he retired from the IDF, he called up Fisher and the two decided to team up to solve this problem.
One of the core technologies that Sweet is basing its solution on is eBPF, which allows sanboxed programs to run in the Linux kernel, where they can collect metrics about network traffic and resource usage without creating a lot of overhead. While the concept has been around for almost ten years, it’s only become somewhat mainstream in the last few years, in part because it makes monitoring cloud-native infrastructure a lot easier.
Current solutions, Fisher noted, weren’t built for protecting cloud-native applications. “They weren’t intended for applications running on public clouds,” he said. “They were intended for on-prem and stuff like that and someone migrated them and took them and said: ‘Okay, now use it for cloud.’ The problem is that it consumes a lot of resources. It’s not the right solution. It won’t detect the attacks that we believe are more relevant for those environments.”
Because of this large overhead, a lot of companies simply don’t implement the existing cloud security solutions. Sweet’s use of eBPF and other technologies promises to keep resource usage to a minimum, all while providing real-time insights into a company’s attack surface.
As the team noted, Sweet worked hard to keep alert fatigue to a minimum. Given how complicated cloud environments are, there is always something going on. Sweet decided to go with a baseline approach to keep notifications relevant. The system will alert users when something deviates from this baseline (in addition to a number of other proprietary methods for detecting attacks).
Kashti noted that the company currently has two kinds of customers (and there are no major surprises here): those who were born in the cloud and those who are in the middle of the digital transformation journey.
With a team of fewer than 20 people, Sweet plans to use the new funding to build out its product and continue to work with its early design partners to expand the service.
One area the team is thinking about, Kashti noted, is adding some form of automated remediation. In the long run, the company may also look at API security and other adjacent areas. He stressed that Sweet doesn’t want to be a feature company but that the team is building a product suite.
“Investing in Sweet Security was a no-brainer,” said Kobi Samboursly, Founding Partner, Glilot Capital Partners. “First, it’s addressing an increasingly problematic cloud security gap – cloud runtime defense. Second, Dror, Eyal and Orel bring superpowers to the table: the depth and breadth of their cloud security expertise and their ability to build and mentor talented, high-performing teams. Sweet is off to a great start and we look forward to supporting its success.”
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.