Deals

Confer captures funding to protect more devices from cyberattacks

As employees depend more on their own laptops and mobile devices to do work, their employers have to keep those devices safely ticking away. A startup called Confer brings a crowdsourcing twist to the challenge, and the approach has caught the attention of investors.

Today the Waltham, Mass.-based startup launched itself and announced $8 million in funding from Matrix partners and North Bridge Venture Partners.

Confer has built a system for detecting attacks on many devices. When Confer sees an attack, it immediately goes to work blocking the attack on other devices that a company’s employees use — and all other Confer customers get the protection, too, for their employees’ devices. The company calls its system a Cyberthreat Prevention Network.

“Unlike most security that focuses on known-good and known-bad, Confer deals equally well with the ‘grey-list’ — i.e., new attacks that have never been seen before and won’t be flagged by existing solutions,” a Confer spokeswoman wrote in an email to VentureBeat.

Using cloud software, company IT administrators manage Confer’s security system for all of its employees’ devices. The system supports iOS, Android, and Windows devices.

Investors could well have been motivated to back Confer because cyberattacks keep hitting companies, and because more employees are accessing sensitive company data on their own gadgets. That bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend has led to funding in the past year for AirWatch, Armor5, and Divide among other startups.