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Cloud-based cybersecurity startups have hurdled old industry obstacles like subway turnstile-hoppers. Perhaps none are on a faster express train than a 2-year-old company named Abnormal Security.
Thanks to a new partnership with Microsoft, the 100-person company is reaching big enterprises via one click on Microsoft 365 products.
The Microsoft for Startups program, started in 2018, was once a way for the company to see “interesting new solutions” running on its cloud. In a new incarnation of the program, a prominent Silicon Valley name is reaching out to hard-charging startups and hoisting them onto its platform where customers can buy the startups’ services with one click. The new trend shows how high startups have risen as competitors, and how much Microsoft is willing to hustle and do business with them — with Abormal, featured in the Wall Street Journal as the first startup chosen for the program, as the test case.
CEO Evan Reiser says his hot San Francisco startup “didn’t consider Azure at all” when the email security company was building its operations on Amazon Web Services’ cloud platform.
His engineers had worked on AWS for years, and which cloud provider to use – AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google or another – was strictly “a technology conversation,” Reiser says.
But when Jeff Ma, the blackjack legend portrayed in the movie “21” and a former Twitter colleague of Reiser’s, pitched him over Zoom calls last spring on how the software giant could help Abnormal go to market, “a light bulb went on.”
Ma, who has rebooted the Microsoft for Startups program that he took over in May, was looking further downstream at how Abnormal could reach enterprise customers.
This captured the imagination of Reiser, whose startup already serves Xerox, Sur la Table and other big companies. “We’ve been really fortunate in that we’ve gotten a lot of traction with large enterprises. We saw this was a way to fast-track that.”
Abormal uses AI to spot trends
Velocity – not always a word associated with Microsoft and other big companies – is a core value at Abnormal, which has become an email security competitor quickly.
Founded in 2018, the company based in San Francisco’s tech-trendy SoMa neighborhood, now has 100 employees. Abnormal has raised just $25 million in a Series A round of funding, but Reiser says it doesn’t need more now due to incoming revenue (which he would not disclose).
Abnormal’s AI analytics weigh 1,000 data points in evaluating whether an email is a phishing attack – from when it arrives to what it’s asking to the grammar used. The AI can also be used to scrutinize chat streams and log-ins. If a user’s behavior contradicts the patterns of normal behavior that the AI algorithm expects, the discrepancies are flagged.
The innovation has rocketed Abnormal into competition with older and larger companies such as Forcepoint, Agari, and the legacy company McAfee. The market is lucrative. Business email compromise is the biggest cybercrime in the world, the FBI says. And most enterprise hacks come in through phishing emails that lure …read more
Source:: Business Insider