Securing IoT for the Clean Economy: A review of product trends through recent deal activity

Troy Ault

On March 15, in its first announcement of sanctions against Russian actors, the Trump administration formally acknowledged attempted cyber attacks on US electricity grid infrastructure. Prevention, detection and response to such attacks have been improving ever since the first known cyber-attack successful in disrupting grid service (also attributed to Russian actors) occurred in Ukraine in December 2015. It’s not just the Kremlin; today, utility folks we’ve spoken to say that attempts at cyber-infiltration of physical infrastructure are understood to be widespread, and are becoming more baked in as part of doing business.

It’s also not just the electricity grid that’s vulnerable. The proliferation of the industrial IoT is creating a massive need to understand new cyber threats and secure everything from industrial control systems (ICS) to edge devices in smart homes, transportation networks, and on factory floors.

We’re keeping track of the various solutions popping up in the venture-backed ecosystem and how potential buyers of those solutions are viewing the market. Venture deal activity since the start of the year provides a window into the variety:

Take just the four most recent to raise capital, for instance. SensorFlow, a Singapore-based developer of wireless room automation & energy management solutions for hotels, markets the core security attributes of its product platform. These include bank-grade Transport Level Security (TLS) for network traffic and node-level use of the Diffie-Helmann channel encryption scheme.

Zededa, a California company focused on edge computing solutions for IoT, is quite focused on security attributes of its product such as the ability to isolate edge devices from an app or base operating system with which they’re interacting.

CyberX, a pureplay industrial IoT cybersecurity technology developer, discussed in its recent Series B funding announcement the growing need in many enterprises to connect their IIoT and ICS networks to corporate IT networks, focusing on a unified approach across IT and OT security.

As BostInno reported in its coverage of Dover Microsystems’ $6 million seed funding, “What’s unique about Dover Microsystems is the company’s approach to cybersecurity, which is hardware-based. Instead of producing security software like its competitors, [the company] provides an integrated co-processor that checks every instruction execution to make sure it’s safe and secure.”

This variation of focus is something we’ve observed in growth stage IIoT cybersecurity innovators, as well as in the recent explosion of early-stage players, and reflects a dynamic landscape of threat vectors and system architectures. Stay tuned.

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