Piiano raises $9M to help businesses protect their PII

Tel Aviv-based Piiano wants businesses to keep their customers’ data private. The company is coming out of stealth today and announcing a $9 million funding round led by YL Ventures, together with a group of angel investors that include Snyk founder Danny Grander, Armis co-founder Nadir Izrael, Papaya Global co-founder and CEO Eynat Guez, Wiz co-founder Yinon Costica, as well as well-known angel investor Ariel Maislos.

The premise behind Piiano is that data breaches are basically inevitable, so the way to keep user data safe is to ensure that data sets are free of personally identifiable information (PII — you can see where the company’s name comes from…) and to fully pseudonymize customer data. Today’s approaches to securing this data, the company argues, simply don’t work. Companies often don’t know where all of the PII data lives — which is why so many enterprises invest in visibility tools.

Piiano co-founders Gil Dabah and Ariel Shiftan likened the company’s approach to how governments handle classified data. They redact the documents and store the original in a safe spot where only a few people have access. Now, if somebody gets access to the redacted document, it’s simply not that interesting anymore because all of the most important data — at least for the hacker — isn’t in it.

“What we are trying to do with Piiano is to — because data breaches are a matter of time — bring the privacy risk to zero,” Dabah said. “And this is the name of the game: it’s about the privacy because hackers will have a way into your system. Now we need to do something about the system.”

So on the one hand, Piiano provides tools to pseudonymize data, and on the other hand it provides a safe place to store the original data in a vault where access is restricted.

“Our innovation is to say: ‘look, just pseudonymize the data sets, segregate the PIIs into one place where you can actually watch for it and make sure that it’s safe.’ Then, nobody can come in and just say: ‘give me everything,'” Dabah explained.

The company argues that the tools on the market today are point solutions, while Piiano offers businesses a more comprehensive approach. With that, though, businesses also have to change their technical and cultural approach to privacy. That may make it more difficult for a company to implement its tools, but the team also believes that its service helps developers build privacy and security right into their code instead of having to bolt it on later.

The Vault, the second piece of Piiano’s solution, is currently self-hosted inside a business’ cloud. As such, customer data never leaves their systems.