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CloudPassage Gets Patent on Cloud Security

Halo’s framework lets security operators manage thousands of infrastructure systems from a single point

CloudPassage, the security SaaS start-up, has gotten a big, embracing US patent on its Halo cloud infrastructure security technology. It’s patent No. 8,412,945 B2.

It’s reportedly the first company to get a US patent on universal cloud infrastructure security.

The Patent and Trademark Office moved unusually fast in recognizing the company’s 65 claims. It only took 20 months, surprising the patent attorneys working on the case who said it usually takes four or five years to get a patent, if at all.

The new patent covers CloudPassage’s supposedly unique botnet-derived methods of implementing completely portable security across all types of cloud infrastructure environments.

CloudPassage says it’s spent years dissecting and analyzing massive botnets used for phishing and other attacks made on large enterprises and has adapted their techniques to turn the tables on the thieves and vandals.

“For technology-driven enterprises to remain competitive, adoption of cloud infrastructure is a must, but security and compliance remain major technical hurdles,” CloudPassage CEO and co-founder Carson Sweet (pictured) said in a statement.

“Botnets are designed as robust, massively distributed architectures that work nearly anywhere with low impact to the devices they control. These same principles apply perfectly to securing massively distributed cloud infrastructure, so we applied them when creating the Halo architecture.”

Halo’s framework lets security operators manage thousands of infrastructure systems from a single point regardless of whether the resources are in private data centers or on public clouds like Amazon Web Services or Rackspace.

The complete portability of the architecture automates traditional hardware devices as well as virtualized and cloud systems.

In what is said to be a truly distributed computing model for security management, the framework uses a centralized command and control (C&C) center to coordinate actions across agents that are self-healing and maintain constant connection to the C&C, ensuring continuous protection.

Anyway, the C&C systems are coupled with an elastic compute grid that drives security analytics based on centrally managed policies and commands. The cloud-ified compute grid is supposed to deliver over 95% of the cycles needed to continuously monitor and respond to infrastructure security state and events. This eliminates the heavy taxes each CPU, memory and I/O resource would otherwise pay for each individual system.

Reportedly Halo daemons have a heartbeat of every 60 seconds, and their footprint is so small that no customer has ever been able to change the time cycle.

The director of security and compliance at RightScale, Phil Cox, says, “The highly distributed and automated nature of CloudPassage’s architecture is truly unique and delivers significant benefits to us when it comes to avoiding the penalties of performing security analytics and compliance updates on individual systems. With Halo, we are able to easily keep our cloud infrastructure resources resilient and agile while delivering critical security and compliance through a single control center.”

When asked about patent enforcement, Sweet said, “The patent is part of the larger intellectual property portfolio of the company, and as such it’s an asset to be appropriately protected. If a situation arises in which enforcement might be appropriate, CloudPassage will evaluate that situation and choose the approach that’s in the company’s best interests.”

So it’s unclear if the company feels it’s being infringed.

CloudPassage has gotten $20.5 million in two rounds from folks like Benchmark Capital, Tenaya Capital and Shasta Ventures since it was started in 2009.

It claims to offer the industry’s first and only purpose-built server security and compliance product for elastic cloud environments. It says it can secure highly dynamic cloud hosting environments where consistent physical location, network control and perimeter security aren’t guaranteed. It says it can handle cloud server bursting, cloning, and migration.

Besides RightScale, it’s got MuleSoft, Taulia, Bandwidth.com, and Martini Media as customers.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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