Zilla Security automates identity access and governance across an organization

Identity is a big part of any security strategy, helping control access to applications and services across a company. Sometimes that involves a person, and sometimes a machine, adding to the complexity and requiring a more automated approach to identity management. Zilla Security, a Boston-based startup, believes it has come up with a solution to meet these more modern identity requirements.

Today the company announced a $13.5 million Series A investment.

Company CEO and co-founder Deepak Taneja says his company believes that identity has become the foundational piece in any security stack, and he says that requires a new approach to protecting it.

“There’s been a bunch of companies over the last decade that are focused on authenticating identities and making sure that you’re establishing trust in the right identities,” Taneja told TechCrunch. “The next frontier is all about exactly what those trusted identities have access to. And that’s what Zilla focuses on. Whether those trusted identities are people, machines or APIs, we are ensuring that the right identities have the right access, which has become absolutely critical,” he said.

As he sees it, if you want to have a more granular approach to permissions, it requires moving beyond the directory approach, the traditional approach to managing identity. “We provide a comprehensive solution. So while on the one hand, the people in the business can look at their own applications, their own solutions, from an organizational security standpoint, folks can get a completely unified view of who has access to what across SaaS, across infrastructure, across on-prem solutions, at a level of detail that is very granular.”

Zilla Security application view showing access reviews

Image Credits: Zilla Security

He points out that this requires a level of automation and intelligence to pull off because there are so many configuration options, often based on the level of access. By automating all of that, the startup helps ensure that customers are safe before there is an issue, at least to the extent possible.

Taneja, who has been in the security business for over 30 years, launched the startup in 2019. The company took some time building the application and landed its first customer last April. Today, it has 60 customers using the solution.

He says that the product should play well, no matter what happens in the economy in the short term. “I think what plays in our favor is the fact that while we provide a security value, a governance value add, we also provide a compliance and operational efficiency value and so we’re saving companies money,” he said.

The company has 35 employees, and is currently hiring. He expects to double in size in the next year. Taneja says his experience as a leader helps when it comes to building a diverse workforce. “I’ve found in my career that the more diversity you can bring into the company the more ideas you get, the richer your journey is, and the better your solution is. So we have a very inclusive culture.” He said that part of that is driven by the fact that many employees are remote and he can hire from anywhere.

Today’s $13.5 million investment was led by Tola Capital and FirstMark Capital, with help from Pillar VC.