Entitle, which works with CIEM vendors rather than competing with them, is already working with channel partners as well.
Entitle, an Israeli-based startup with a SaaS-based cloud permissions management platform solution to bring visibility and control to IT and DevOps who are overwhelmed by what may be hundreds of thousands of permissions, and who adopt policies which may be over-permissive or too restrictive as a result, has come out of stealth. They are announcing $15 million in seed financing, with the principal investor being Glilot Capital, supplemented by a network of individual CISOs and security entrepreneurs.
Entitle was founded by two former members of an elite team within the Israel Defense Force’s Unit 8200, with expertise in deep learning, security operations and vulnerability research. The company’s name suggests that they are a player in the [CIEM cloud infrastructure entitlement management] space, competing with the likes of Okta and Microsoft Entra. But the company name there is somewhat misleading, said Ron Nissim, Entitle’s co-founder and CEO.
“CIEM is entitlement, but that’s not what we do,” Nissim stressed. “We are very much on the operational side. A company like Okta controls and provisions users with a single sign on. We do the next layer beyond that, and control what you have access to inside the organization. It’s a more granular level. We don’t just create a user. We allow you to see their roles, and the permissions for them in the database. Being able to provision those permissions across an organization is a big opportunity for DevOps.”
Nissim said that Entitle sees the CIEM vendors more as collaborators than competitors, something which is fairly common in the space.
“Okta for instance has a lot of partnerships with others who are adjacent to them,” he stated. “In this case, it is combining user provisioning with permission provisioning.”
Nissim has an interesting definition of the kinds of companies who make up Entitle’s target market.
“We are focused on cloud permission management companies with a lot of cloud resources who are large enough to care about them,” he said. “We also focus on midmarket companies who are looking to manage access, but who have no real access to manage their cloud provisions. We also target fairly large companies who have already moved into the cloud and want a partner to manage that access for them.”
Nissim said that what they do was virtually impossible until fairly recently.
“Moving into the cloud environment presents a lot of challenges and a lot of opportunities,” he stated. “We are able to create smart decision processes , and can replace long bureaucratic processes, which is better for the business. This is something that really couldn’t be done before because of where the industry was, where everyone was developing their own systems. We have a repeatable model which will work with them.”
Nissim indicated that the deep learning is critical to make the model work.
“The challenge with peer management is how to make the right decision and understand what’s right when the various groups who are part of the process all have different views,” he said. “It’s not enough just to copy permissions from individuals in related roles, because they may have different work experience, backgrounds and the like. How do you identify which permissions are right for specific individuals. We provide the organizations with the risk profile so that they can make a more thoughtful decisions.”
While out of the gate, Entitle, like almost all startups, is focused on selling direct, the plan is to bring in the channel in relatively short order, and they are already working with some partners.
“You need to be really good at selling yourselves first,” Nissim stated. “We are already selling through a few partners though, including cloud security vendors, cloud providers and general IT VARs. Permissions management has always been channel because customers need assistance. Providing it as a SaaS solution that is easy to deploy is unheard of in this industry, which makes it easier to sell.”