The global cybersecurity market is estimated to be a $232 billion industry by 2022, up from around $138 billion last year. As such, it is brimming with well-funded startups, a number of which have elected to go public in recent months, such as Zscaler and Carbon Black. Others have been snapped up by bigger companies, including AlienVault, which was acquired by AT&T this week, and Phantom, which was recently bought out by Splunk.
Cylance is another startup that has been making big strides in the cybersecurity realm. The company recently closed a $120 million funding round, taking its total raised to around $300 million since its inception eight years ago. This also positions it well to grow its enterprise client base ahead of a rumored IPO in the not-too-distant future.
But before all that, Cylance has other plans to bolster its growth. Today, the company announced that it’s broadening its horizons to include the lucrative consumer cybersecurity market.
The state of play
When it comes to antivirus software for consumers, there are plenty of options already. Two big brands you no doubt recognize are McAfee and Norton, though both are renowned for their “bloat” and tendency to drain your system’s resources like there’s no tomorrow. Avast and AVG, which actually merged a couple of years back, have offered decent free alternatives for years. And Windows users also have the built-in Windows Defender antivirus software, which is generally well-regarded.
So do we really need another player?
By way of a quick recap, Cylance leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to combat online attacks. It’s basically an automated endpoint protection platform that thwarts malware, ransomware, and other forms of advanced threats. If its algorithmic security protocols detect any network weaknesses, it shuts them down. And crucially, it doesn’t require a “signature” from an existing threat to block it.
With Cylance Smart Antivirus, the Irvine, California-based based company is now extending its AI security smarts to domestic personal computers (PCs).
Available for Windows and Mac, Cylance Smart Antivirus is built upon the company’s existing CylanceProtect product, but with a redesigned interface to appeal to the consumer market. The company actually made the software available last year for employees of its enterprise clients to purchase, but now the product is available for anyone to buy.
Cylance’s core selling point here is prediction and prevention. So rather than reacting to an infiltration, it promises to block a threat — even if it is a completely new piece of malware. This should also mean that it won’t hog your system’s resources trying to battle a breach.
Cylance said that its new antivirus software runs constantly in the background without any “noticeable degradation of device performance,” while it updates automatically with no pop-ups, scan requests, reboots, or any other kind of shenanigans.
If you do want access to all the data and threat details, there is a web dashboard where you can manage settings, including receiving alerts if an attack is blocked, and garner a top-down view of all devices that are covered by the software. For example, you can look at your mom’s laptop or brother’s gaming PC through a single interface.
This leads us to pricing. You can pay $29 for a year or $39 for two years — which covers you for a single device. Alternatively, you can cough up $69/$79 or $99/$99 for five devices and 10 devices, respectively.
So if you’re the tech guru of the house, you can manage everyone’s security through your dashboard.
Cylance is also adamant that it won’t adopt spurious auto renewal techniques historically used by the likes of McAfee and Symantec’s Norton, which have included charging a reduced subscription up front and then automatically charging more when it’s time to renew.
“Cylance discounts subsequent years of use to encourage and reward long-term security hygiene,” the company said in a statement.
Moving into the consumer realm is an interesting strategy, for sure, and it’s also one more badge for the AI and machine learning revolution, promising as it does to identify malware before it can execute on your machine.
“Consumers deserve security software that is fast, easy to use, and effective,” added Cylance consumer VP Christopher Bray. “The consumer antivirus market is long overdue for a groundbreaking solution built on robust technology that allows them to control their security environment.”