20 Jan Building A Cybersecurity Business Around The World’s Remote Workers
Talon Cyber Security: From pandemic-era startup to $100M VC darling in just 2 years
Melbourne, Australia – Jan. 20, 2023
One of the most significant legacies of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the dramatic and irreversible modification of long-established work patterns that has, for millions of workers across the world, replaced the morning commute and 9-to-5 grind with flexible work patterns that may include one, two, or more days per week spent working from home.
Despite pressure from bosses for things to go back to the way they were, just two in 10 “remote-capable” employees — those among the 56 percent of U.S. full-time employees who can do their jobs remotely from home — are currently working fully onsite, according to a recent Gallup poll of 8,090 such workers.
Fully 60 percent of such workers indicated they want a long-term hybrid work arrangement and 34 percent want to work from home permanently, Gallup found, while just 6 percent of surveyed workers want to revive pre-pandemic work practices by working entirely onsite in the future.
These changing work preferences may have sent conventional management structures into a spin, but for Ofer Ben-Noon they presented a significant opportunity for a meaningful startup as he and co-founder Ohad Bobrov realized that the remote-working shift was also dramatically rewriting the rules of cybersecurity.
An eight-year veteran of the Israel Defence Force’s Unit 8200 who founded automotive firm Argus Cyber Security in 2013 and sold it to Continental of Germany for $430 million in 2017 — after which he remained CEO for another 3 years — Tel Aviv, Israel-based Ben-Noon was brainstorming with partners in mid-2020 to consider how the “tectonic change” of the new work environment might translate into a startup opportunity.
“When we’re thinking about the future of work, and about the distributed and hybrid workforce,” he told Cybercrime Magazine, “the way that we’ve done security in the last decade, versus the requirements of this new type of work environment, is different.”
“The fact that people remain hybrid means that perimeter-based security is less efficient compared to the past, and the long tail of services is becoming longer and longer,” he explained.
“But how can you really have the right visibility and control of hundreds and, in many cases, thousands of services that are used by the organization — and how can you really provide this layer of security for any type of worker?”
The multiplicity of work environments demands a common user interface, the group realized — and that interface, a secure and isolated Chromium-based web browser called TalonWork, became the foundation stone of Talon Cyber Security, the new startup.
TalonWork offers a range of security features to lock down its environment, ranging from streamlined user onboarding and integration with a range of identity providers to data encryption and data loss prevention (DLP) features such as clipboard, printing, and screenshot restrictions.
Modelled along the zero-trust principles that have become the de rigueur standard in remote working environments, the platform is positioned as a lower-cost alternative to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that also offers capabilities such as user auditing and monitoring of work-related web browsing activity, to meet security and compliance requirements.
“The logic,” Ben-Noon explained, “was that in order to allow people to connect from any place in the world, from any type of device, to any type of worker — employee, contractor, or third party — and accessing all of the web services of the organization whether on-premises or SaaS, we’re able to do it in a secure and isolated way.”
Securing the capital by securing the capitol
By all indications, the hunch of Ben-Noon and his co-founders has proved to be right on the money: in Aug. 2022, just two years after the company’s founding, it closed a $100 million Series A round of venture capital funding.
That significant funding round was led by cybersecurity specialist investment house Evolution Equity Partners, whose other major investments include fast-growing firms like SecurityScorecard, TrueFort, and CybSafe.
Having the backing of the right investors has been invaluable in helping the company pull itself up by its bootstraps, Ben-Noon said, noting that “we’ve been quite fortunate to have a significant amount of capital… it’s pretty much critical to choose the right investors, and we’ve been fortunate to be supported by five of the best cyber investors in the world.”
Those investors — which include Evolution Equity Partners as well as Ballistic Ventures, the CrowdStrike Falcon Fund, Merlin Ventures, and SYN Ventures — “have the ability to have some of these groups support our journey, and to bring their decades of experience into play,” Ben-Noon said.
“It’s quite a unique situation for us to be able to be supported by these organizations…. They believed in the vision and believed in us as a company that could lead this vertical, and was well positioned to make the impact.”
Talon’s investors aren’t the only ones singing the firm’s praises: in mid-January, Talon’s technology was flagged by Gartner, which named the company as a key vendor in its recent Hype Cycle for Endpoint Security.
The space is set to explode in coming years as ongoing enterprise digital transformation consolidates the changes made during the past three years of the pandemic — and it’s a change that Ben-Noon believes there’s no coming back from.
“We still believe that there is a unique opportunity here to bring value to the world that is quite dramatic,” he said. “It’s something that makes us excited pretty much every day.”
– David Braue is an award-winning technology writer based in Melbourne, Australia.
Go here to read all of David’s Cybercrime Magazine articles.
Evolution Equity Partners is an international venture capital investor partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs to develop market-leading cyber-security and enterprise software companies.
Based in New York City and Zurich, Switzerland, the firm is managed by investment and technology entrepreneurs who have built companies around the world and leverage their operating, technical and product development expertise to help entrepreneurs win.
Evolution has interest in companies utilizing big-data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, SaaS, mobile and the convergence of consumer and enterprise software to build leading information technology companies.