Twistlock: Leading Application Container Security

I am thrilled to be joining Twistlock as Chairman and for Polaris Partners to lead the $17M Series B round.  When I met Ben and Dima, the founders of Twistlock, what instantly struck me was the refreshing scope of their vision to reinvent security. Twistlock has emerged as the leader in delivering an application container security platform, but that is just the beginning.  The greater mission of Twistlock is to leverage containers to address fundamental flaws in how security works today –  ensuring stronger security than possible with legacy technologies.

Containers have been a staple of Linux for over a decade.  With the rise of Docker a few years ago, container adoption took off with pioneering DevOps organizations. In 2014, Google was already spinning up 2 billion containers a week!  Fast forward to today, and container adoption has exploded; Datadog sees containers on 15% of all hosts monitored – up from 3% two years ago.  Adoption by large enterprises is rapid, with companies like Aetna embracing containers as part of a DevOps transformation, to accelerate innovation and modernize legacy applications.  Maturation of container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes and the emergence of cloud container services by Amazon, Microsoft and IBM have further enabled this acceleration.

Amidst this acceleration, security is paramount.  This is where Twistlock comes in.  Twistlock delivers a soup-to-nuts container security platform that delivers vulnerability management, compliance controls, behavior monitoring and runtime protection. Twistlock does this across operating systems and platforms while supporting private, hybrid and cloud deployments.  Just as importantly, Twistlock is API driven, and integrates seamlessly with tools and environments that developers use today like Puppet, Chef, Jenkins, Kubernetes and cloud services (e.g. Amazon ECS).

Ultimately, application container security offers a fundamentally different approach to the overall security problem.  Even our grandparents know what a dog’s dinner enterprise security has become.  Legacy data center and enterprise network infrastructures are protected with layers of perimeter-focused protections like next generation firewalls, sandboxes, WAF’s and a deepening morass of endpoint security products.  Grand Canyon sized gaps exist between application developers and the IT security teams tasked with protection – even the NSA has lost its hacking tools in a hack. Containers and DevOps offer an approach that breaks with the past to address painful limitations.

Why are containers so important?

  • Containers enable app-centric security customization.  Machine learning by the Twistlock engine creates a fully enforced whitelist for applications, micro-services and user access.  No configuration needed by IT.
  • Immutability. It’s hard to insert malware into an immutable container.  If there is something strange – containers are terminated and restarted with the original clean image.
  • Security is dynamic, built in.  API driven security baked into the DevOps process ensures developers – who know their apps best – fully participate in establishing security controls.
  • IT maintains control.  Corporate security policies are enforced across all containers in private data centers and the cloud.  Twistlock supports audit for PCI, HIPAA and other compliance mandates.  Federated management empowers app developers and IT.
  • Simplicity.  Vulnerability management, audit, compliance, analytics, runtime protection are all delivered by Twistlock for every container, and are customized for the app.  Compare that to the miserable castle of complexity security teams are dealing with today.
  • Cross-platform.  Container security spans cloud, private data centers or developer laptops.

Companies realize they must break from past application development ways.  Market forces are driving this as Uber, Tesla, Amazon, AirBnB and others upend industry and force incumbents to drive headlong into new offerings driven by cloud, mobile and agile development.  In this new world, containers, cloud and DevOps allow us to break from past flawed security practices.  This is why I am honored to work with Twistlock to lead this transition – it can’t come soon enough.


Categories: Polaris

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