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October 15, 2018

UK Cybersecurity Startup Garrison Raises $30 Million

Garrison plans to add an additional option to rack up appliances in its datacentres and offer "safe web browsing as a service".

By jonathan chadwick

UK cybersecurity company Garrison has secured $30 million (£22.7 million) in its latest funding round, the most emphatic backing for a cybersecurity company by UK investors since Digital Shadows secured a $26 million investment 13 months earlier.

The capital will be used to expand sales and marketing, grow its engineering team, and enhance its “safe web browsing as a service” cloud offering, the company – founded in 2014 – told Computer Business Review.

The funding round was led by Dawn Capital, an investor in London-based Mimecast, the NASDAQ-listed email security company, and also includes IP Group, BGF, and NM Capital. IP Group’s stake of 23.4 percent has been valued at £28.8 million.

“Organisations today recognise the ever-growing threat to their most sensitive data and systems posed simply by allowing employees to browse the web, but until now they’ve faced an unhappy choice: restrict web access and allow productivity to suffer, or run the risk of exposure to hackers,” said Garrison CEO David Garfield.

“We’ve designed the world’s first truly secure web browser to solve this problem, applying national-security-grade levels of protection to the commercial environment – at an accessible price point – in a way that doesn’t destroy the user experience as employees go about their work.”

Garrison describes its mission as to enable users to click on links and access any content on the web without risking company security.

Its isolation tech enables users to access all internet content without risk of exposing their organisations to cyber-attacks. It places a gap between the internet and the end user’s device, meaning malicious web content doesn’t come into contact with their organisation’s IT systems.

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Garrison’s “camera chip” technology does web browsing for the user

Garrison SAVI Isolation Appliance, its piece of hardware that features this isolation tech, lives in the cloud or datacentre to “do web browsing” for the user.

These two Arm chips are known as the “camera” chip and the “browser” chip.

The “camera” chip watches the screen output of the “browser” chip, which acts as a tablet. The camera chip compresses what it sees on the browser and sends it over the network to the user’s endpoint device display.

garrison funding This set-up allows the user to click dangerous links without concerns for malware or data loss and enables documents to be downloaded and viewed remotely, or stored in the cloud.

Garrison’s “silicon assured content sanitisation”, meanwhile, enables secure copy and pasting and printing, using hardware-based verification.

Garrison founders Garfield and Henry Harrison had worked together at Detica and established a cybersecurity business unit at BAE Systems, before forming the company in 2014.

In the last 12 months Garrison has nearly doubled its headcount to more than 50 staff, appointed a former president of Arm to the board, and expanded its operations to the US.

The company works with organisations across banking, insurance, media, telcos, legal, as well as the UK government. The average organisation size that Garrison is working with is around 50,000 employees, the company told Computer Business Review.

“The threat from web links is so significant that organisations all over the world are trying to train their employees to recognise bad links and avoid them,” Harrison said to CBR. “But in reality, sophisticated attackers can craft links that are just too hard to spot, and in any case, employees are busy with the value-creation parts of their jobs.

“We concluded that organisations needed a web security technology that was sufficiently strong that employees could visit even the most dangerous sites while keeping their employer’s systems and data safe.

“To date, we have been mostly working with customers who have purchased hardware appliances from us to be installed into their data centres. We are now adding an additional option where we rack up appliances in our data centres and offer safe web browsing as a service. That is not yet a fully commercially launched service, and that is one of the key motivations for raising this round of financing.”

Garrison funding has now reached a total of £34.9 million in funding over two rounds. The company raised £12 million in March last year in a Series A round, led by Touchstone Innovations.

Read more: Cybersecurity Professionals Enticed by the Dark Side According to Report



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