Cool Startup: Illumio


One of the fastest growing startups in the security space right now is Illumio. Illumio’s claim to fame is its adaptive micro-segmentation technology, which helps companies prevent viruses and security threats from spreading within their data centers and cloud environments. Illumio also recently announced that it would extend its segmentation tech to cloud networks like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure (among others). In an age of increasingly dangerous and prevalent security threats, data centers are under attack daily.

Sophisticated, intelligent, and intuitive segmentation technology like Illumio’s should be essential to security solutions moving forward. The adaptive segmentation technology works essentially as a nerve center for a network’s firewall and security measures. It filters traffic in and out of the network and enforces security directives automatically. Security engineers have long had to manually write hundreds, sometimes thousands of firewall rules to protect complex systems. Using adaptive segmentation, Illumio wants to give security engineers a wider range of options for controlling security apparatuses. Illumio envisions segmented security networks working under specially-designated conditions. Engineers can be as broad or as granular as they want in writing system directives. Segments of a security framework can protect massive data center spaces, or they can be molded to fit a particular need.

Illumio has also moved to make its technology easier to visualize. They recently announced Illumination 2.0, which improved their existing segmentation tech’s aesthetics and streamlined visual workflows. They emphasized that Illumination emerged as customers provided feedback on how they interacted with the system. While the segmentation tech often worked without a hitch, it was difficult to map out and visualize complex security systems that had to be split into many small segments. Illumination’s Policy Generator helps security engineers understand exactly how their systems are segmented and how security policies are affecting traffic.

Another visualization feature, called Explorer, helps engineers download lists of connections flowing into their environments. They can produce reports under specific parameters to better understand traffic and security interactions.

The most recent addition to the Illumio portfolio is their Adaptive Security Platform (ASP), which brings public and private cloud environments into the fold. The same segmentation principles apply, but for cloud security this is a new step and an important one. As security environments become less tangible and sometimes harder to monitor, security technology like adaptive segmentation must move into the cloud market sooner rather than later. Illumio now has a wide range of products and services catering to essentially all major segments of the security industry.

Illumio has been flush with capital since its founding, and only a few months ago received $125 million from J.P. Morgan. Some of Illumio’s major clients include Morgan Stanley, Workday, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Plantronics, Salesforce, Netsuite, and many others.

Company Background

  • Founded: 2013
  • HQ: Sunnyvale, CA
  • Raised: 267.5M
  • Employee Count: ~200
  • Executives: Andrew Rubin (CEO and founder), PJ Kirner (CTO and founder)
  • Product: Adaptive Segmentation Security Technology
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