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Simbian brings AI to existing security tools

Ambuj Kumar is actually ambitious.

An electrical engineer by training, Kumar led hardware design at Nvidia for eight years and helped develop technologies including a widely used high-speed memory controller for GPUs. After leaving Nvidia in 2010, Kumar turned to cybersecurity and eventually co-founded Fortanix, a cloud data security platform.

While running Fortanix, he got here up with the thought for Kumar's next project: an AI-powered tool to automate an organization's cybersecurity workflows, inspired by the challenges he observed within the cybersecurity industry.

“Security leaders are under stress,” Kumar told TechCrunch. “CISOs don’t last greater than a couple of years on average, and security analysts have the very best churn rate. And it keeps getting worse.”

Kumar's solution, which he co-founded with former Twitter software engineer Alankrit Chona, is Symbian, a cybersecurity platform that effectively controls other cybersecurity platforms in addition to security apps and tools. Using AI, Simbian can routinely orchestrate and operate existing security tools and find the precise configurations for every product by considering a corporation's security priorities and thresholds and aligning with its business needs.

Simbian's chatbot-like interface allows users to enter a cybersecurity goal in natural language, then let Simbian make personalized recommendations and generate what Kumar calls “automated actions” to perform the actions (as best it may).

“Security firms have focused on improving their very own products, leading to a really fragmented industry,” Kumar said. “This results in the next operational burden on organizations.”

According to Kumar, surveys show that cybersecurity budgets are sometimes wasted by an overabundance of tools. More than half of firms imagine that is the case spent around 50% of their budget incorrectly and still can't eliminate threats, in accordance with a survey cited by Forbes. A separate study found that, on average, firms are actually juggling 76 security toolsleading to IT teams and executives feeling overwhelmed.

“Security has long been a cat-and-mouse game between attackers and defenders; “The attack surface continues to grow on account of IT growth,” Kumar said, adding that there’s “not enough talent to bypass it.” (A recent survey by Cybersecurity Ventures, a security-focused VC firm, estimates that The shortage of cyber professionals will reach 3.5 million people by 2025.)

In addition to routinely configuring a corporation's security tools, the Simbian platform seeks to reply to “security events” by allowing customers to regulate security while caring for lower-level details. Kumar says this will significantly reduce the variety of alerts a security analyst must reply to.

However, this assumes that Simbian's AI doesn't make mistakes – a tall order on condition that AI is proven to be error-prone.

To minimize the potential for unconventional behavior, Simbian's AI was trained using a crowdsourcing approach – a game on the location called “Are you smarter than an LLM?” – which tasked volunteers with attempting to train the AI ​​to accomplish that cause you to do the improper thing. Kumar explained that Simbian used these insights alongside internal researchers to “ensure AI is doing the precise thing in its use cases.”

This implies that Simbian has effectively outsourced a few of its AI training to unpaid gamers. But to be fair, it's unclear how many individuals actually played the corporate's game; Kumar wouldn't say.

A system that controls other systems has privacy implications, particularly those which might be security-related. Would firms – and vendors – be comfortable with routing sensitive data through a single, AI-driven, centralized portal?

Kumar claims that each effort has been made to guard against data compromise. Simbian uses encryption – customers control the encryption keys – and customers can delete their data at any time.

“As a customer, you could have full control,” he said.

While Simbian isn't the one platform attempting to apply a layer of AI over existing security tools – Nexusflow offers an identical product – it appears to have won over investors. The company recently raised $10 million from investors including Coinbase board member Gokul Rajaram, Cota Capital partner Aditya Singh, Icon Ventures, Firebolt and Rain Capital.

“Cybersecurity is one among the most important problems with our time and has notoriously fragmented the ecosystem with 1000’s of vendors,” Rajaram told TechCrunch via email. “Companies have tried to construct expertise around specific products and problems. I applaud Simbian's approach to constructing an integrated platform that understands and operates all points of security. Although that is an especially sophisticated approach from a technological perspective, I’ll – and have – put my money on Simbian. It is the team with unique experience across your entire journey from hardware to cloud.”

Mountain View-based Simbian, which has 15 employees, plans to take a position a lot of the capital raised in product development. Kumar goals to double the startup's workforce by the top of the yr.


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