Bengaluru-based startup offers hardware-free, zero-configuration, self-service style solutions, allowing mobile and remote workers to safely access enterprise apps, email and web.
In a world that’s networked together, cyber security is concern number one. With experts predicting that there will be 200 billion connected things - cars, planes, homes and cities – by 2020, cyber security is no longer an afterthought. It needs to be the main one as shown by the numerous cyber attacks making the headlines, be it the hacking of Twitter accounts or leaks in confidential information. Enter Instasafe, a software-defined perimeter-based cybersecurity provider.
Instasafe was founded by five people, Sandip Kumar Panda, 37; Biju George 38; Prashanth Guruswamy, 39; Ravikumar Govindrao; and Deepak Panigrahi, in December 2012. Ravikumar and Deepak later moved out of the company.
The cloud security-based startup enables businesses to adopt cloud computing technologies and applications.
Sandip says, “Having been a part of the cybersecurity industry for a long time, we identified a clear need for a secure yet simple method for enterprises to provide access to their remote employees, contractors and business partners.”
The founders also realised that the solutions in the market were hardware based or were cumbersome to set up and deploy. It wasn’t very easy for a non-technical end user to use the remote access solution to do his/her job while travelling in or out of office.
This led them to create their USP in their solution - InstaSafe.
The secure access claims to offer a simple yet effective solution to allow any user to access any application located anywhere without any hardware to deploy.
The solution is delivered as a security as a service (SECaaS) through the cloud platform.
How did it all start?
In his previous role, Sandip was the country manager at BlueCoat Systems. The company provides hardware, software and services designed for cybersecurity and network management. Prashanth came in with 15 years of experience in sales, channel and account management, and has worked with Sify, Wipro, Symantec and Quantum. Biju also had 15 years of experience in network security automation, performance, technical pre-sales and support in organisations like Tasman Networks, Nortel, Radware, Pravegha Automation and GapBridge.
After having worked for a decade in the cybersecurity industry, the founders – friends working in the same industry - knew that the time was ripe for innovation.
Sandip says, “We saw a big transformation happening by consumerisation of the enterprise through mobile devices, cloud applications and social media. While traditional security solutions focus on limiting the impact of these trends, we wanted to enable businesses to embrace innovation securely, while delivering a superior user experience.”
How does it work?
The solution essentially contains three modules: the controller, the gateway and the client. The controller is the heart of the solution and is where all access control decisions are made. The gateway is placed at the edge of each data centre or public cloud setup and makes all applications in the data centre/ public cloud invisible. It acts as the gatekeeper to all the applications and data behind it. The client is an agent installed on all user devices - such as laptops and mobile devices – and connects the device to the controller, providing real-time information on the status of the endpoint for the controller to take a decision on whether or not the device is safe to connect and access applications.
The journey so far
Since its inception, Instasafe has been supported by Microsoft Ventures, Citrix Start-up Accelerator, Nasscom and the IBM Global Entrepreneurship Program. It was also shortlisted as a Tech30 company at TechSparks 2017, the eighth edition of YourStory's flagship annual event.
Initially started with five co-founders and occasional interns, InstaSafe now has a team of 30 individuals based in Bengaluru.
In the last three years, it claims to have registered 150 percent YoY growth in terms of the number of customers and 300 percent YoY growth in revenue figures. Their clientele includes Tata Group, Aditya Birla Group, Asian Paints, DTDC, Sattva Group and Kirloskar among others.
The revenue model is subscription based, and pricing is per user per annum basis.
Talking about what sets them apart, Sandip says, “Our technology is cloud-based and requires only minor software changes to the customer infrastructure, without any capital investment in servers or appliances. Customers can hence secure their systems and network from malicious access without capital expenditure.”
In January 2017, InstaSafe received funding of $2.2 million from ABM Knowledgeware. It had also raised $5,00,000 seed funding from different investors like Artha Ventures, CIO Angel Network, Citrix startup Accelerator, Indian Angel Network, Sanjay Mehta and Sunil Pillai.
Potential in the market
According to a study done by marketsandmarkets, the cybersecurity market size is expected to grow from $137.85 billion in 2017 to $231.94 Billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11 percent during the forecast period.
In the future, the founders believe cybersecurity is a “strategic sector” and the potential of homegrown companies is immense. InstaSafe aims to be one of the top organisations worldwide.
The founders’ vision is to “become a secure solution for enterprises and users everywhere”. With a large scalable security delivery network, InstaSafe plans to take its solutions overseas in the near future.