Prasad Parthasarathi is Director & Global Head for Cybersecurity Investments and M&A at Cisco Investments. His team is responsible for sourcing, qualifying, and transacting multi-stage venture investments as well as end-to-end M&A execution in Cybersecurity. Prior to Cisco, Prasad led multiple M&A transactions in large cap technology companies and was instrumental in EDS’ $14B sale to HP. Prasad earned an MBA from Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad and held Corporate Finance and Advisory stints in Singapore and India.
When you’re a security professional tasked with securing “all the assets in your organization,” the fundamental question which arises is, “What assets do I have?”
While it appears to be a benign question , the answer has become increasingly complicated for two reasons. First, the definition of cyber asset varies greatly depending on whether its security operations, security engineering, IT, development, or DevOps. Second, because we live in a software-defined world with virtual servers, containers, access rows, and more, the traditional “asset” is made up of multiple granular atomic assets, with unique security and compliance implications.
It’s this exact problem that Erkang Zheng, CEO & Founder at JupiterOne, encountered as a CISO in his prior roles at IBM, Fidelity Investments and LifeOmic. Erkang’s teams were looking for a cloud native security and governance platform that could – from an operational standpoint – break down the silos and give him a big-picture view of his security and risk. He was looking for something that could connect all the dots.
The solution didn’t exist.
So, Erkang assembled a core engineering team and launched JupiterOne in 2018.
Connecting the Dots: Cyber Assets with Context
I went into my first meeting with Erkang on the heels of a strong endorsement from Cisco’s Security & Trust Organization (STO). Cisco STO is not an easy team to impress, and accordingly, I entered the virtual meeting with sky-high expectations. Erkang comfortably exceeded every one of them.
Something that immediately stood out to me was how unique their approach was relative to Gen-1 Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) companies. CSPM 1.0 was essentially anchored on rudimentary API calls to ‘Cloud Best Practices Checklist’ authored by cloud providers.
While this approach might check some of the governance checkboxes, that model still breaks down in ephemeral compute environments.
By seamlessly integrating with the existing infrastructure and security environment, JupiterOne on the other hand connects dots that were previously disparate orbits and provides a more granular and graph-based topology and view. With JupiterOne Galaxy View, teams have a unified, interactive dashboard of all of their cyber asset relationships, so they can interactively explore the connectivity between every cyber asset.
JupiterOne is headed towards “Where No CMDB, or IT Management Platform has gone before.” If you ask Erkang: “If you think about it from NIST framework of identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover, JupiterOne not only provides the foundation to identify all assets, it also covers the protect, detect, and respond with the environmental and structural context. Now, you can have complete context and visibility for dealing with a potential attack or breach.”
This is no easy task, but somehow, JupiterOne makes it look simple. In less than two years since General Availability (GA), JupiterOne has added marquee enterprise logos including several leading cloud-native organizations.
The “Google” of Cyber Operations, with an “Engineering First” Mindset
Once you have all the asset information in a consolidated and connected view the next question is about how to translate that into actionable findings.
To Erkang, this is fundamentally a data analytics problem: “Regardless if you’re talking about cloud security, CSPM, incident response, or vulnerability management and operations, it’s about analytics. Even if you have all the information, you now have tens of thousands of findings that you’re struggling to make sense of. You have too many events, too many logs, too many findings, but limited people and bandwidth. So now, it’s about combining that with the context, so you know what work needs to be done.”
That’s where their powerful analytics come in. With prebuilt queries and dashboards, the JupiterOne product has powerful out-of-the-box functionalities that makes it easy to quickly visualize and investigate findings. This quick time to value is critical, but as Erkang adds, “It’s also about your ability to build and customize to extend to your specific needs and use cases. For us, taking an ‘engineering-first’ mindset to development was a no-brainer because we believe that today’s security organizations are transforming to become more like engineering organizations. Customers who look at security from an engineering-angle are seeing great success.”
So, what it all comes down to is that if you’ve got questions, JupiterOne has answers. For example, if an entity is compromised, I can ask “What is the blast radius? What other entities are compromised?” and it will deliver the answers like a search engine result – making them the “Search Engine of Cyber Operations.”
Looking Ahead: Security as a Fundamental Right for All
Cisco Investments is “over the moon” to become a strategic investor in JupiterOne. We strongly believe in JupiterOne’s ability to solve Cloud- Native and Hybrid Asset Management and CSPM pain points for customers.
When probed on the future blueprint for JupiterOne, Erkang asserts, “Our foundational belief is that security is a basic right for every organization. Three to five years down the road, we want to be seen as the company that defined the security foundations that made security available for the masses. This is not just compliance or ‘check the box’ security, but simple, collaborative, meaningful security.”
When it comes to realizing this vision, Cisco Investments is excited to work with Erkang in putting Jupiter within reach.