Clearswift has revealed its new Adaptive Redaction (AR) technology, which it claims is reigniting the data loss prevention (DLP) space, is already contributing 40 per cent towards its sales pipeline.
The Brit security vendor, which carries out 90 per cent of its engineering work in Theale, claims to have racked up two million users for AR since its launch last year. This includes a single 150,000-seat, seven-figure deal with an unnamed French defence/government organisation, won in partnership with a UK-based reseller.
Ciaran Rafferty, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Clearswift, said end users' early experiences of DLP had left a "bad taste in their mouth" but that AR cuts out the false positives and complexity associated with traditional DLP solutions.
"We are upgrading from a gateway to a DLP business," Rafferty (pictured, bottom) explained.
"DLP gets everyone a bit tense because they think of the big projects and the high costs; they think of [Symantec-owned technology Vontu] and the false positives and the rest of it. But I think there is a renaissance of DLP, which is that there is a company here now that can do it simply and in a cost-effective way that doesn't stop trading business and I think there is an opportunity for us and the channel to fly with this."
Rather than taking the stop-and-block approach of traditional DLP products, AR lets information through but actively removes the critical data replacing it with Xs (pictured), which could include credit card details, Rafferty explained.
It works across email, web and internal Exchange environments, meaning resellers can sell AR as an add-on rather than a rip-and-replace for other vendors in Clearswift's traditional mail hygiene space, such as Ironport or Proofpoint, Rafferty added.
According to the most recent Gartner magic quadrant, Symantec, RSA, McAfee, Verdasys [now Digital Guardian] and Websense lead a global DLP market set to grow by between 22 and 25 per cent in 2014 to reach about $830m (£544m).
Kevin Bailey, who joined Lyceum-backed Clearswift in 2013 as head of market strategy, said it was Clearswift's AR strategy that lured him from previous employer IDC, where he was European security software director.
"If someone had asked me to join a company doing email and web hygiene, it wouldn't have exactly floated my boat. But I researched the market and realised Clearswift has the capability to produce something no one else was," he said.
Helen Wood, whom Rafferty recently enlisted as vice president of EMEA channels, said the root-and-branch reform at Clearswift extends also to its attitude to the channel, which she admits the vendor had previously treated as an afterthought.
"When I joined, everything went through the channel but it was quite reactive and it was chucked at them – there was no real love there," she said. "We now have a hardcore of Gold partners we focus on who are enjoying the fact we are teaching them to find new opportunities and that we are not asking them to rip and replace anymore. It is a relatively easy task to get interest in this [AR] technology and carry that on into the opportunity phase and close it."
Unlike other DLP vendors who partner with the likes of Oracle-Stellent or Autonomy, Clearswift uses its own engine, meaning AR can "go deeper than anyone else", Bailey said.
"AR is non-competitive [to other vendor partners of resellers] as no one else can do it, and I think we have a period of time to maximise this," Rafferty added. "It may not be forever, but we have 20 years of deep content inspection history and that's a lot for any vendor to pick up on."
The view on the ground
Clearswift's enthusiasm seems to be shared by its partners, some of whom have been burned in the past by what they saw as a lack of commitment to the channel from the vendor.
James McKee, security manager at Qual, described AR as a "good door-opener", particularly among customers who handle sensitive information, such as those in the legal, government and healthcare sectors.
"Because it can do it at the Exchange level as well as the gateway, you now have a complete compliance tick across the board if you deploy this solution with the right policies in place," he said. "It's a good product."
Jon Busfield, managing director of Cygnia, said the reseller had already won two deals with AR and welcomed the fact the technology would soon be compatible with competitive vendors' offerings.
"I don't know of anything else that's similar," he said. "There is a window of opportunity here and we are determined to make something of that window."
Rafferty claimed Clearswift's progression into a DLP firm was progressing faster than even he anticipated when he joined last year.
"Our business is changing," he said. "Historically, it was a lot of migrations from Minesweeper into email and web gateway. What we are seeing now is that the migrations have slowed down dramatically and net-new around AR is growing dramatically."
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