Well, it's just encryption, isn't it? There are lots of encryption companies and some are quite large. That is a pretty crowded marketplace for a new entry, so why would anyone want to compete in that space? Those were the questions I asked Venafi's visionary and he agreed with me completely that it is a very crowded market space. So, rather than competing in that space, they support it.
Venafi's innovation is its Encryption Director. In simple terms, it manages everyone's encryption products in a single enterprise. While it may not be obvious to the casual observer, there is a lot of encryption within today's enterprises and not all of it is the same. We generally think of encryption in terms of the primary product that we use on our enterprises. At the university where I teach, for example, it's McAfee.
But there really is a lot more than just the encryption of my desktop and the USB key I use to access it. For example, I encrypt files for transfer out of the university with PGP. I also use PGP to sign my emails. Then there are all of the certificates that I deal with on a daily basis. Finally, what about the keys I use for all of my colleagues on the faculty and staff? Something should manage all of this because if we don't, we may not be able to recover sensitive and important data as one possible consequence.
Most important, I would like all of this management to happen in the background, without me having to participate at all. I have enough to do without managing my little piece of the university's encryption scheme. Venafi has automated all of the pieces of encryption management: monitoring and discovery of certificates and keys, enrolling new encryption certificates across multiple applications and users, and provisioning to configure applications and systems for use with encryption services.p
Venafi hits both of my innovation targets head on. First, the technology is novel and it serves a useful purpose in a unique way. From the business perspective, it cleverly leverages the challenge that keeps new players out of the encryption market: it's very crowded. For Venafi, the more crowded the better. Lots of players exacerbate the problem that Venafi solves.
AT A GLANCE
Flagship product: Venafi Encryption Director
Cost: starts at $75 per managed system depending on level of automation and number of units managed
Innovation: Matching a serious challenge to an innovative and unique solution
Greatest strength: Vision and the ability to execute on it