Startup Datiphy announced a $7 million Series A yesterday, aimed at developing its transaction-watching security software. But the company also has a managed service in mind for U.S. customers. It’s just going to take a little while.
Datiphy actually started as a managed-service company. Since 2011, it’s been offering a service in Taiwan under the name Chalet Tech. A move into the U.S. market called for boiling the service down into a software product, something that could just be handed to an enterprise — but the company is scouting for partners to offer the managed-service version as well, says CEO Ted Ho.
The managed-service aspect is important because Datiphy’s product creates a lot of information that requires sifting through. Some of that can be automated, but the best results probably come from lots of legwork.
Watching the Data
Not a security company per se, Datiphy has developed software that watches the activity around a database, or any data repository you want to protect. It keeps track of who’s accessing data and when.
The most obvious use of all this information is to spot anomalies that could represent security breaches, so that’s where Datiphy is trying to make its mark. (Performance monitoring is another possibility, but Ho isn’t as intrigued by it.) The software tracks literally all activity, taking note of every transaction rather than just sampling traffic occasionally.
You could think of it as really obsessive network monitoring, and that’s where Ho’s background comes in. He was a founder and former CEO of Gigamon, which got its start developing a switch for the network-monitoring space. Datiphy is taking the idea to another level, looking not at the network, but at the interactions happening where the data is stored.
The startup produces data about data, in a sense. “Once you give us the normal behavior, or tell us what is not normal, we will automatically present it to you,” Ho says. Datiphy can also be set up to run scripts to try to thwart aberrant behavior.
Note that Datiphy has no idea what’s in the data. The software is wholly ignorant of what content is changing hands; it’s just collecting knowledge about the flow of data. (UPDATE: Datiphy now tells us this is not the case at all.)
If interpreting all that data-about-data sounds like a lot of work for Datiphy’s customer — it can be.
That might be why the company’s first incarnation was the Chalet managed service. That service will continue to operate, but yesterday’s funding announcement wasn’t just about the new product; it’s the declaration of Datiphy’s new identity as a software provider and a U.S.-based company.
The name “Datiphy” emerges partly because “chalet” is a weird name in English. (“People think, ‘How does a ski cabin monitor security?'” says Mike Hoffman, Datiphy’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, and another Gigamon alumnus.) But the Chalet name will persist, partly to avoid complicating some in-process customer negotiations and partly because it translates to “peace of mind”
Eventually, Datiphy wants to turn its software into a self-service download similar to what Splunk has. Part of the $7 million, raised from Highland Capital Partners, will go toward developing that. For now, Datiphy is at least able to get its software installed quickly — 15 minutes, down from two days previously, Hoffman says.
The next step would be to find a partner to establish the managed service for U.S. customers. This would be aimed at the smaller companies lacking the IT resources to really dive deep into Datiphy’s analytics. “They still fall under the same compliance problems the big guys do,” Hoffman says.