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Polar Security, a startup with technology for continuously securing sensitive data in the cloud, said today it has emerged from stealth with an $8.5 million seed round of funding.

Founded in January 2021, the Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup offers an agentless platform that automatically discovers and classifies sensitive cloud-native data — spanning both known and unknown cloud data stores. This provides “complete visibility of all data stores,” CEO and cofounder Guy Shanny said in an email — including visibility into the types of data, the potential and actual data flows, who is accessing it, and the data store’s owner.

The startup says that its “data security posture management” platform also offers detection of vulnerabilities that could lead to data exfiltration or ransomware, as well as detection of compliance violations for regulations such as GDPR.

Currently, data creation has become “chaotic,” Shanny told VentureBeat in the email. Data is no longer centralized in a single database or storage, but decentralized across multiple public cloud infrastructure platforms, regions, and virtual private clouds and services — as well as pipelined to data warehouses for further analytics, he said.

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“Data stores are constantly created by developers, or as a by-product of your cloud workload apps. This includes managed, unmanaged, and unknown ‘shadow data’ — all the sensitive data that is created that security and compliance teams don’t know exists, and therefore cannot monitor or protect,” Shanny said. “In most organizations that we’ve spoken with, answering simple questions such as where is the company’s data, what’s inside and is it sensitive, and where is it going to, is a very manual process.”

Polar Security addresses this issue with automation, and “only our unique technology does this completely agentless, with no impact on the workload,” he said.

Customer traction

While the startup does not yet have paying customers, it has deployed its technology in production workloads with companies in the U.S. and Israel “that will soon be converted to paying customers,” Shanny said. The customer names aren’t being disclosed at this time, but among them are multiple public companies with thousands of employees, he said.

Polar Security says it raised its seed round of funding in January 2021, at the founding of the company, though the funding hasn’t been announced until now with the emergence from stealth.

The seed round was led by Glilot Capital Partners. Other backers that took part included IBI Tech Fund and a number of angel investors, including Cloud Security Alliance cofounder and CEO Jim Reavis, former RSA chief technology officer Tim Belcher, former Qualys President Ann Johnson, and IBM Security vice president Tom Noonan.

Growth funding

Remaining portions of the funding will be used for hiring, with a goal to double the size of the company from 20 people to 40 over the next six months.

Shanny and one of his cofounders, chief technology officer Roey Yaacovi, previously worked in the cyber division at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. Earlier, Shanny said he founded a web vulnerability research firm, FreshServ, at age 14 that he sold four years later to a web hosting company in Israel.

A third cofounder of Polar Security, chairman Dov Yoran, previously was an executive in Cisco’s security business following Cisco’s acquisition of his company ThreatGRID.

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