BalkanID today announced $5.75 million in seed funding and the launch of its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) solution. Delivering first-to-market functionality, BalkanID’s solution leverages artificial intelligence and workflow automation to provide visibility into risky entitlements and simplify the access review and certification process. By helping organizations find and fix problematic entitlements across their SaaS and cloud landscape, BalkanID enables IT and security teams to integrate the principle of least privilege into security and IT operations.
BalkanID was founded by Subbu Rama, serial entrepreneur and previously co-founder at Bitfusion (acquired by VMware); Jeremy Patton, former engineering leader at Bitfusion and Sameer Sait, former CISO at Amazon/Whole Foods Market. The company’s seed investors are Uncommon Capital, Afore Capital, Sure Ventures and prominent technology executives including Rishi Bhargava, co-founder of Demisto (acquired by Palo Alto Networks); Ely Kahn, co-founder of Sqrrl (acquired by Amazon); John N. Stewart of Talons Ventures, former SVP, Chief Security and Trust Officer at Cisco; Clark Golestani, former EVP and CIO at Merck; Pat Condon, co-founder of Rackspace and Vivek Sodera, co-founder of Superhuman. The money is being used to accelerate product and customer development.
“We spend valuable person-hours every quarter doing entitlement discovery, analysis and managing access review campaigns. Once we on-boarded the BalkanID platform, our time spent on this was reduced by more than 50%, which has freed up my resources to focus on other value-added activities,” said Michael Shannon, Sr. Director of IT and Security at Demandbase.
AI-powered Identity Governance fuels digital transformation
While the benefits of SaaS are indisputable, it also has introduced new cybersecurity risks, such as entitlement sprawl. Entitlement sprawl occurs when a company grants users more access than needed to do their jobs, with no way to see or manage user permissions across multiple SaaS and public cloud environments. These risks are particularly severe for small-to-medium sized businesses. Despite having the same risk profile as larger enterprises, many mid-tier companies still use spreadsheets, emails and meetings to manage identity and access governance.
“BalkanID has enhanced our security with a more unified view of users, identities, groups and associated entitlements spanning our cloud assets. Further, BalkanID has streamlined our ability to efficiently discover, assess and remediate entitlement risks. Insights from the platform have been instrumental in right-sizing entitlements without disrupting employee productivity,” said Matthew Sharp, CISO of Logicworks and co-author of The CISO Evolution: Business Knowledge for Cybersecurity Executives.
BalkanID’s solution is purpose-built to efficiently and cost effectively address cloud native entitlement sprawl. Its AI-powered risk engine automatically identifies risky users and those with excessive permissions or toxic combinations, risky apps, roles and privileges across the organization’s SaaS and public cloud estate. The risk engine automatically updates based on a constantly evolving set of parameters, including (but not limited to) role, activity, data attributes and environment, reducing risk and preventing entitlement sprawl.
By reining in entitlement sprawl, BalkanID streamlines upstream activities, such as on-boarding of new employees, as well as downstream activities such as change management, separation of duties and offboarding. BalkanID also automates the access review and certification process by offering risk-based access reviews and compliance campaign workflows, thereby allowing organizations to balance risk with employee productivity while enabling the enforcement of least privilege across third-party SaaS and cloud landscapes. Using BalkanID, companies can proceed with digital transformation initiatives with strong controls in place for reducing identity-related risk and maintaining compliance with internal and regulatory compliance mandates.
“We evaluated a number of identity and access governance solutions that would integrate with both SaaS and public-cloud environments. All of them were expensive, required extensive customization and did not offer much in the way of intelligence or decision support,” said Chris Castaldo, CISO at Crossbeam and author of Start-Up Secure. “My team was able to get up and running with the BalkanID platform in a few hours with immediate benefits being realized from an entitlement visibility, review and certification perspective.”
“Legacy IGA solutions don’t work well in cloud environments, yet security and compliance teams are expected to use them anyway—a scenario that usually ends up introducing more risk than it eliminates,” said Subbu Rama, co-founder and CEO of Balkan ID. “Using our customers’ existing pain points, we built our platform by re-engineering how fine-grained entitlements in SaaS and cloud identity stores expose corporate assets. We then designed the platform’s core features so that ultimately, using AI, the associated risk mitigation activities can evolve into a continuous, fully automated process.”