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FireLayers

Netskope Brings In $35 Million More As Cloud Security Competition Heats Up

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When it comes to understanding the profusion of applications employees are using to conduct business, IT departments are increasingly lost in the cloud.

Over the past several years a number of startups have cut through the fog created by this proliferation of tools to help workers do their jobs more efficiently — and leading the charge is Netskope, which just raised another $35 million.

The Series C round was led by Accel Partners, and included participation from previous investors Social+Capital Partnership and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

With the cash in hand, Netskope is going bring on more engineering talent to continue developing its suite of product offerings. The company hired its hundredth engineer recently and expects to grow its headcount to roughly 200 by the end of the year. In addition to expanding its research and development capabilities, the company will also look to enter Europe by the end of 2014, according to chief executive Sanjay Beri.

When the Los Altos, Calif.-based company launched from stealth late last year it had already managed to sign up several users like Vegas.com and Universal Music Group in a private beta. The company now sells its services to companies in industries including healthcare, financial services, technology, and retail.

Other startups are stepping in to the breach as well. Skyhigh Networks raised $20 million from Sequoia Capital and Greylock to roll out its cloud application monitoring and management services. More recently, FireLayers has launched from stealth with its own take on cloud application provisioning, management and security.

The guiding principle for Netskope’s service is that IT departments can wrest back control over how their colleagues use technology with more of a velvet glove than an iron fist — or as new investor and board member Eric Wolford puts it, “[IT departments] need a sharpshooter and they use a bazooka.”

Using Netskope’s services, companies no longer have to have an “on-or-off” approach to application management on mobile devices. Employees can use whatever services they want to while Netskope’s technology monitors and manages the data that’s being transmitted to and from the cloud applications. IT managers can set up rules that determine the types of data that can and can’t be sent to cloud-based services.

Increasingly, these managers need all the help they can get. According to the latest report from Netskope, enterprises ran an average of 461 cloud apps during the first quarter of 2014, 85 percent of which were not enterprise-ready.

“I don’t just want my control over the cloud to be ‘block that app’,” says Wolford. “I just want to say — I don’t know all of the apps that people are going to use, but I don’t want this data to go to any of them.”