Startup Barkly touts light, fast endpoint protection

Product launches later this year, company has enough funding for two more years.

Barkly, a startup in endpoint security, has now banked enough investment money to keep it going for two more years and plans to launch its first products sometime in late 2015.

The company's founders say they have a new, lighter endpoint agent than competitors have that discovers and blocks the installation of malware as well as blocking behaviors that indicate an ongoing attack against the network.

Although they are being close with details, the agent makes a small footprint on the endpoint and uses up less than 1% of CPU when it is active, say Barkly's founders, CEO Mike Duffy and CTO Jack Danahy.

The company has just landed $12.5 million Series A financing from New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and including Sigma Prime Ventures. The company was founded in November 2013 and was funded by its founders for the first year, and it raised a seed round of investment last year, bringing the total investment so far to $17 million.

The Boston-based company has 15 employees.

Competitors in endpoint detection software include Bit9+Carbon Black, CrowdStrike, Cylance, FireEye, Guidance Software, Light Cyber and Tanium, but it's a very long list and this doesn't even scratch the surface.

The popularity of this technology is that it provides threat detection at every endpoint beyond what is done by static security such as anti-virus software. Many of these products rely on a separate analysis engine to decide whether data gathered at the endpoint warrants alerts and intervention.

Barkly is different in that the endpoint agent makes these decisions independently based on its ability to recognize behaviors that are common among a variety of attacks.

Initially the product will support Windows client software, but support will be expanded over time, Duffy says.

Danahy says the company wanted to detect zero-day attacks and recognize and interdict malware quickly so as not to disrupt users. Users are notified immediately when Barkly detects and blocks malicious activity.

It does this by monitoring the activity of endpoints at multiple levels of the operating system, he says. He says Barkly employs a new form of analytics that examines the behavior of code on each machine, and every agent contains a representation of what's malicious. That information is updated from a server in Barkly's cloud.

The company gathers this information about attacks from its own research, commercially available malware libraries and partners it will announce later.

When it launches its platform the company will offer a 30-day free trial for 25 instances of the agent. After that customers will be charged based on the number of instances.

Duffy and Danahy have a long history of working together. They both worked at BBN before it was bought by Raytheon, then they both worked together at IBM. Duffy was running OpenPages when IBM bought it, and Danahy was founder and CTO of Ounce Labs when it, too, was bought by IBM.

The name of the company is intended to conjure up the image of a dog that detects intruders and deals with them, Duffy says. The company logo is a cartoon image of a dog.

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