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June 8, 2016

Another AI-Based Security Startup Gains Funding


Advanced data analytics and AI techniques such as cognitive intelligence and deep machine learning are finding new applications in the drive to understand and respond to a growing range of cyber security threats as they unfold.

Among the latest AI startups to attract early investment backing is Los Angeles-based Armorway, which announced a $2.5 million seed funding round this week to be used to extend its AI platform. The patented technology is touted as delivering a range of analytics capabilities spanning descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics. The approach combines these tools with cognitive computing and deep learning to respond “dynamically” to a range of security threats, including insider attacks.

The approach mirrors a growing number of cyber defense strategies that seek to detect network breaches and other security threats in real time so they can be contained and thwarted. AI and prescriptive analytics are gaining traction in the cat-and-mouse game of anticipating and fending off cyber attacks.

Armorway said investors in the seed-funding round include Aristos Ventures along with unidentified angel investors and executives from several technology firms. The startup said it also has received financial support through the University of Southern California via grants from the Defense Department, Army Research Office and the Department of Homeland Security.

Zareh Baghdasarian, Armorway’s CEO and co-founder, argued that security organizations spend an inordinate amount of time merely reacting to security threats, especially incident response and investigation. By contrast, the startup’s proactive approach emphasizes techniques such as graph analysis, simulation, complex event processing, neural networks, recommendation engines and machine learning to detect and thwart cyber threats.

The startup claims its AI-based advanced analytics approach “examines data or content and advises actions for desired predictable outcomes.”

The company unveiled another piece of its AI platform earlier this year designed to improve proactive responses to incidents as they unfold, including threat detection, insider threats, data breaches and theft as well as fraud.

Armorway said it would use the seed funding to expand its customer base, continue product development as its targets the enterprise cyber security market with prescriptive intelligence tools while expanding its R&D team that includes data scientists.

The startup’s “Trust” product introduced in February focuses on insider threats. The tool incorporates a risk assessment feature that essentially provides a background check on employees and contractors. The startup claims its approach goes beyond data analytics by combining data with “real-time environmental and situational data” to provide real-time context to risk assessments. The tool also provides recommendations for intercepting insider threats.

The startup was formed in 2013 to commercialized its AI technology to help combine human intuition with machine intelligence. As the number of high-profile cyber attacks and data breaches mounts, retailers and other industry sectors have been looking for new analytics approaches to detect and stop threats—especially insider attacks—in real time.

Another AI specialist, Jask, emerged from stealth mode in February after raising $2 million in a seed-financing round. San Francisco-based Jask is building a “predictive security operations center” designed to help enterprises automate security operations while reacting faster to cyber threats.

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