Security, for This Startup, Means Uncovering Everything


In the world of cyber security, there’s a maxim that if you don’t know what you have, you can’t protect it.

That’s the essence of a sales pitch by a small New York-based start-up, Axonius. And now, against a backdrop of growing threats of cyber attacks, several large organizations, including some Fortune 500 companies, are buying into it.

Axonius is working in the area of asset management. In this context it means that they’re keeping track of every digital device and every cloud in a client’s organization.

There’s logic and self-protection behind the vigilance. A recent report commissioned by Verizon found that one in three companies surveyed had been compromised because of unsecured mobile devices and a failure to meet a basic level of preparednessOpens a new window . The Mobile Security Index 2019 reportOpens a new window said most phishing attacks and badly coded sites can affect a company’s networks and that mobile users might even be more vulnerable.

“And,” it adds, “there are also mobile-specific exploits – like malicious apps and rogue wireless hotspots.”

A hard job

Listen to Dean Sysman, Axonius’ chief executive:  “Just two years ago we (Sysman and two partners) decided to take a chance at solving a big, decades-old problem that was only getting worse: asset management. A security team’s job is so hard today, yet they still spend time trying to figure out what they have and whether their assets match their security policies. It’s our mission to answer that question. Since then we’ve released our cybersecurity asset management platformOpens a new window , (and) more than doubled the size of the company.”

Axonius’ platform – also named Axonius – uses data collected by a corporation’s existing security systems to create an inventory of digital assets.

Mapping everything on the net

The platform maps out the types of devices inside an organization – such as the company’s clouds, company-owned laptops, employee-owned smartphones and guests’ devices – everything. It finds out what software they run and any vulnerabilities they may have and related details.

That insight allows the company to enforce security policies to keep the rest of the network safe — like installing endpoint security software, or blocking devices from connecting to the network altogether.

And it makes the data searchable through a query interface for staff IT professionals.

An administrator could run a search to surface employee computers that don’t have an antivirus installed. They can also configure Axonius to automatically fix such policy violations in the future. The platform can also download antivirus agents onto unprotected endpoints.

Big-name clients

Axonius, which has an office in Tel Aviv, has signed several big-name clients, including The New York Times, Schneider Electric, the Thermo Fisher Scientific biotech firm, Landmark Health medical supplies and Apps Flyer mobile analytics.

In addition, it counts several Fortune 500 companies among its clients and manages more than three million assets at public and private companies. The company claims its annual recurring revenues have increased fourfold over the past year due to growing demand.

Axonius  raised $20 million in August after raising $13 million in February. OpenView led the round with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, Vertex Ventures and a number of other returning backers.

The funds will go toward a beefed-up sales and marketing team as well as new hires elsewhere and research. “This funding will allow us to double down on our mission,” Sysman says.