Former IBM security and Q1 Labs execs launch new service through channel

A pair of IT security veterans with significant Canadian roots are launching their own service, and they’re leaning on years of channel experience and the partner community to deploy it.

Sonrai Security launched with $18.5 million in Series A funding Tuesday, and its founders Brendan Hannigan and Sandy Bird, who’ve worked together for more than 16 years, say the company and its new Cloud Data Control service represent the forefront of data security and management on today’s infrastructure.

Sonrai Security co-founder Brendan Hannigan.

“There is momentous change happening in our world, and while that’s not new, the level and scale of that change is quite remarkable,” co-founder Hannigan told CDN, citing a Gartner report that predicts that by 2025, 80 per cent of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data centres, versus 10 per cent today. “And assuming these changes do take place, brand new ways of developing software emerge, and so surely that also means we have to reimagine how we secure data in these environments. That’s the focus of our company.”

Built from the ground up, Sonrai is launching a service called Cloud Data Control that will audit the data an organization has scattered across its multiple cloud accounts like Amazon and Microsoft – and according to Hannigan, those two brands are the ones customers use the most – and then continuously monitor all of it while flagging suspicious behaviour. It will also help ensure an organization is compliant with today’s latest privacy regulations like PIPEDA and GDPR. These tasks are important for an increasing number of businesses, but a lack of talent, especially in the security space, is opening the door for companies like Sonrai to fill those security gaps.

Most recently an entrepreneur partner with Polaris Partners, Hannigan was previously general manager of IBM Security, which he helped establish and grow to become a $2 billion division, and according to IBM, the world’s largest enterprise security provider. Hannigan and Bird joined IBM following its 2011 acquisition of Q1 Labs, with Bird serving as IBM Security’s chief technology officer. Bird co-founded Q1 Labs, and Hannigan served as CEO. The two were based in New Brunswick where they helped establish the security intelligence and analytics company’s flagship platform, QRadar.

Hannigan says while the built-in security found in services such as Amazon and Azure have improved, they’re likely never going to work well as they should in an environment where both services are being used simultaneously. The Cloud Data Control service is also an opportunity for channel partners to evolve themselves, explains Hannigan, adding he’s confident the years of channel experience between himself and Bird will resonate with partners.

“We’re definitely committed to working collaboratively with channel partners. We know how to do it, and not just building channel programs, but building a strong sales and organizational philosophy that encourages selling with our partners,” he says. “We think this is a service that partner organizations can easily explain to their customers, allowing them to expand their practices around infrastructure security significantly.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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