Simon Crosby leaving Citrix to tackle cloud security

Simon Crosby is leaving his post as data center and virtualization CTO at Citrix Systems (s ctxs) to launch a new company called Bromium that will utilize virtualization technology to tackle cloud computing security. Crosby, who previously co-founded XenSource, is joined in this venture by XenSource co-founder (and Citrix colleague) Ian Pratt and Phoenix Technologies CTO Gaurav Banga.

The company has raised $9.2 million in a Series A funding round from Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Bromium will launch in the second half of this year, although exact details are vague. During a phone call on Tuesday, Crosby hinted at how the company will address cloud security, explaining that cloud computing is innately vulnerable not only at the system level, but also because it involves employees accessing corporate systems from insecure devices. Click on an infected link in an e-mail and — voila! — the company’s system is compromised.

Although cloud computing itself hasn’t suffered from a public security breach the likes of which other large web properties have, Crosby said the threat it to everything under the umbrella of the public web. “[U]nless we solve some of these problems,” he said, “the whole cloud thing is just a big waste of time for everybody.”

As for how Bromium utilizes virtualization, Crosby was willing to divulge a bit of the strategy. Essentially, he explained, the hypervisor is very useful because it can monitor and control activity across the physical server and any virtual machines running across it. Additionally, he noted how, when properly engineered, hypervisors have a very small code base that’s inherently less vulnerable to attack because there are fewer potential holes to exploit.

When asked about the name Bromium, Crosby only suggested to think about another technology product with which it rhymes. It’s easy to see the Chromium connection as it relates to protecting client devices tied to cloud-based resources, but whether there’s a deeper connection to Google’s web operating system remains to be seen.

Crosby shares some more insights behind the creation of Bromium on his blog this morning, and also will discuss the new company during a morning talk at our Structure conference.

Feature image courtesy of Flickr user subcircle.