Virtru’s new API brings encryption tech built by ex-NSA engineer to third-party developers

Virtru co-founder Will Ackerly developed the company’s underlying encryption technology while he was working as an engineer at the NSA, so it’s fair to say he knows a thing or two about the subject. The company has been delivering encryption products for email and files in transit for several years now, mainly through a partnership with Google GMail¬†and Microsoft Office 365.¬†Today, it announced it was opening up that technology to third party developers through the Virtru Data Protection Platform.

It’s all well and good to encrypt your email and files while using Virtru’s tools in these major platforms, but developers have been unable to tap into that encryption technology until now. The platform lets enterprises and government agencies embed Virtru encryption into any program.

That means that if your application includes a file store, you can encrypt the files whenever they are in motion (or at rest). You can attach an expiration date to a file, revoke access to any file instantly, even one that’s already been sent. You can also control the ability to copy and paste files or set a watermark before or after you send it.

For instance, you could build a program that uses the Box storage service as your storage component and you could use Virtru to protect those files, all with a few lines of code. Many software companies today expose their core services to developers in the form of open APIs. These companies make money each time the program accesses the service.

The systems currently in place for Google and Microsoft may cover a lot of enterprise use cases, but as CEO and co-founder John Ackerly (and brother of Will) points out, that encryption has traditionally been too hard to apply for most users. He says in the case of his company’s GMail product, “it’s literally a button in Gmail.” You can also set policies on the back-end so that encryption is set by default if you wish.

He says that by opening up these capabilities to third parties, Virtru is extending this ability beyond the standard ways they have been offering the product to any organization or developer to build this into their programs with a couple of lines of code.

Virtru was founded in 2011 by brothers Will and John Ackerly. The company has raised almost $40 million. The most recent round was for $29 million Series A in 2016 led by Bessemer Venture Partners.