Meta Networks emerges from stealth with cloud-native Network-as-a-Service

The latest venture from serial entrepreneur Etay Bogner, Meta Networks is a next-gen VPN replacement targeted at the 250-1000 seat market. They are just beginning to develop a channel of resellers and MSSPs.

Etay Bogner, Meta Networks’ CEO and Founder

Meta Networks has emerged from stealth with the launch of their Meta NaaS [Network-as-a-Service] cloud-native networking and security platform. It is designed to replace VPNs with flexible always-on security for the enterprise,

Meta Networks was founded in Israel near the end of 2016, and is now headquartered in Palo Alto. Their $10 million in seed stage funding is led by Vertex Ventures and the BRM Group

“This is my fourth venture, and one that I have been thinking about for 15 years,” said Etay Bogner, Meta Networks’ CEO and Founder. His most recent one was Stratoscale, where he was co-founder and CTO.

Bogner said that Meta Networks’ software-defined perimeter meets the changed needs of networks today, which can no longer be handled adequately by VPNs.

“Networks used to be very site-centric,” he stated. “All the apps were inside the perimeter and security was based on the physical typology of the organization. Today, everything is fragmented, with public clouds and SaaS apps. Not everything will be on the cloud, but the majority will be. It’s all very complex to manage.”

Bogner said Meta Networks has handled this by building a secure cloud-native network.

“We have created a software-defined perimeter, so it doesn’t matter where things are located,” he said. “We have complemented this with partnering with third party vendors for security and gateway – Symantec and Cyren – and we are signing up additional vendors from other categories.”

Meta NaaS’s identity-based network security architecture is designed to provide secure access to both corporate resources and the Internet to millions of users efficiently, providing both identity-based policy routing and packet-level identity verification. Each user has a unique, fixed identity regardless of where and how they connect to the network. Users can connect either through an IPSec client or a browser.

“It is a very dense network, that is completely cloud based,” Bogner said. “The user-centric model creates a unique, permanent identity for every user device at the packet level, with every user identified on the overlay network. It works on a zero-trust model, which only trusts the overlay network.”

“Several use cases keep coming up with customers,” said Amy Ariel, Meta Networks’ CMO.” The most urgent one is securing remote access  – a VPN replacement. Zero trust means an onboarded user has no access to anything until it is granted to them. Once the user is connected, they can then connect to all apps open to them regardless of where they are located.”

The second use-case is multi-cloud connectivity.

“This one is especially popular with DevOps teams who can create their own workflows on top of our APIs,” Ariel said.

The third use case is branch connectivity.

“SD-WAN is especially useful if you are connecting a new team,” Ariel said. “Branch connectivity is fast and inexpensive, whether through the virtual or physical appliance connecting to a nearby PoP, or a user direct connection.”

While Meta Networks is positioned as a next-generation replacement for traditional VPNs, Bogner emphasized that it is not a ‘rip and replace’ solution, and that customers will be able to continue to leverage a VPN investment.

“We know how to integrate, and there are insertion points around the VPN,” he said.

The target market for Meta NaaS is organizations with between around 250 and 1000 employees.

“It can scale much larger than this, but we find that large enterprises are more conservative when it comes to their networking infrastructure,” Ariel said. “The 250-1000 market also has a shorter sales cycle. We are not selling to small business through. The customer really has to have a CIO or a CISO, and a team that can implement this new solution.”

Meta Networks is just coming out of stealth and is still focused on direct sales, but they are already beginning to move on creating a channel.

“We are starting to transition now, and will be building up during the year,” Ariel said. “We will work with both resellers and MSSPs.”

“Our strategic partners will also be go-to-market partners,” Bogner said. “Our channel will benefit from the relationship with these third-party vendors because, Bluecoat resellers, for example, will have access to Meta NaaS.”

Meta NaaS is available now.