Thursday, April 9, 2015

Veradocs, Renamed Vera, Wants To Protect All Data

Veradocs came out of stealth today, renaming itself Vera to reflect the fact it doesn’t just protect documents on the move, but other types of data as well.
The company, which has been working toward this day for some time, announced $14M in Series A funding last November. At the time, Vera was in Beta working with a small set of customers, but today it announced general availability.
Vera’s goal is to provide a way for users to protect digital content as it moves through the world. That could mean setting an expiration date or limiting the ability to edit or even copy and paste. While other services offer this ability including Box and Syncplicity, what makes Vera different is that it works as the documents and data move across systems, not just within the system of a particular product, company co-founder and CEO Ajay Arora explained.

New Name, Broader Mission

He says the company is changing its name to reflect its broader mission. “We are a lot more than protecting files. We are security for all kinds of enterprise data.”
What this means in practice is that most companies have many types of information they hope to protect.  As an example, as companies move increasingly to Software as a Service applications, there are credible data loss threats simply by copying and pasting or taking screenshots, and Vera wants to help control what users can do with that sensitive data.
“There are multiple egress points for data loss in the enterprise. We can protect browser-based apps such as data sitting on Salesforce.com or QuickBooks,” he said.
“Once data reaches an endpoint, [customers] lose control of it. The content goes into a black box where you don’t know what’s happening. When it comes to security, there is no last mile. There are no endpoints. That’s what we are designed to do,” Arora explained.
Vera allows end users to share however they want, using whatever service they choose, then apply an expiration date, watermark, encryption or define just what recipients can or can’t do with the document or data — copy/paste, edit or take a screenshot. It also allows authorized users to revoke any document or email any time, rendering it useless to the recipient, and provides an audit trail showing exactly how people have accessed that data and what they’ve done with it.
The product has been designed to be as automated or manual as the customer wishes. That could mean if an employee drags a file to cloud storage, Vera applies certain default settings like encryption and security policies automatically. Others may want to give the lines of business more control over each document and the policies they wish to apply on a case-by-case basis.

IRM Redefined

Vera is essentially Information Rights Management (IRM) in a modern guise. IRM was an early attempt around 2007 to protect data on the move (mostly in emails). It failed at the time for a lot of reasons, but mostly because to apply your security policy required communicating with a server outside the firewall, something most IT departments wouldn’t tolerate at the time.
Today, Vera is applying the same principle as IRM, but in a more modern context using the cloud to apply the policies. Companies are much more ready to do that today, and in fact are looking for ways to protect and control content as it moves through the world.
The company has been selling directly to IT in its early phase, but plans to introduce a freemium model at some point to get the product into as many hands as possible. It wouldn’t commit to a specific date, but Arora said it is part of the long-term plan.
“We are not just targeting IT. Vera can be used by anyone in a line of business, even end users where the company doesn’t purchase software to control policy and security globally.”

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