Ex-Googler launches security startup NetCitadel


NetCitadel, a company based in Mountain View, Calif., emerges today from stealth mode with a network-security virtual appliance that intends to simplify the security complexities of cloud computing.

NetCitadel Co-Founder and Chief Engineer Vadim Kurland’s experience on Google’s network-operations team inspired the new product, said Mike Horn, NetCitadel’s CEO and another co-founder. As is the case with other companies operating large data centers, Google’s cloud infrastructure was often in flux. “They’re really these dynamic environments that are changing frequently,” Horn said. As Kurland developed network security to fit the Google infrastructure, he figured other companies faced similar challenges and might want external providers to take care of that responsibility, Horn said.

The process of rolling out a security update over a security network is tedious. For example, a system administrator must find out about a firewall change request, such as adding another server. Then he or she needs to figure out the impact of the change, update the firewall or firewalls, deploy the change and make sure everything was done correctly.

Enter NetCitadel’s Security Orchestration Platform, a virtual appliance that automates that process, Horn said. As a result, network-security staff can focus on more critical matters than manual, time-consuming policy changes. Besides firewalls, the Security Orchestration Platform can also manage a network’s routers and switches.

Comparable offerings from Cisco (s csco) and Juniper Networks (s jnpr) support only cloud instances but not virtualization, or vice-versa, and they don’t accommodate network-security devices from other suppliers, Horn said.

NetCitadel was formed in 2010 and raised capital from venture-capital company NEA in 2011 – Horn wouldn’t say how much. It has since taken on 25 employees. Current customers include financial-services institutions, retailers and a university, Horn said. An annual subscription costs $25,000 or more per year.

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