jSonar to begin a new chapter and collaborationA message from CTO and co-founder, Ron Bennatan
My wife complains that I’m a boring person. I’ve been doing the same thing for 25 years now – databases, then security, then database security, then data security and then some data lake security. But by that account Tom Brady is a boring person too – so I’m good with that definition (and yeah, I live in Boston).
My life in the data security world has spanned 5 companies. I started my career focusing on Sybase and Oracle and wrote guidelines, articles, training, and books on the subject. I worked with both Oracle engineers and customers on really cool security features, teaching people what to think about and how to implement database security. Back then, we started from scratch on every project every time. So, in 2002 I founded Guardium to make people’s life easier. Database Activity Monitoring was a brand-new market and I was fortunate to work with a lot of amazing people in those crazy growth times.
Back then there were two vendors competing on pretty much every single deal – us (Guardium) and Imperva. I used to wake up every morning thinking about how to beat Imperva. When we lost, I hated them. But most of all, I respected them. They were good. Really good. But we were better at the time (I’m obviously 100% objective).
And so, it continued for seven years until IBM acquired us in 2009. We were integrated into the IBM machine and growth accelerated even more. I spent another three years helping customers get the most out of Guardium, but as is natural in big companies, it became harder for me to do what I like doing most – understanding customer needs and building solutions so that they can do their jobs faster and with less effort. So, in 2013 I left IBM and founded jSonar.
The first years at jSonar were “platform years.” We built columnar NoSQL technology that allowed us to do analytics on massive amounts of flexible data – to levels that were unheard of and at costs that were insanely low. We created an analytics/integration/orchestration platform that made people’s work lives simpler. People sometimes ask me what those early innovations had to do with data security, and the answer is it didn’t – just look at Splunk. What is Splunk if not a great data management and indexing platform? And our platform is better than Splunk’s (here too I’m obviously 100% objective).
Then came the marriage of analytics and orchestration with data security. Our team knew just how challenging the data security market is – full of raw data and data lakes (swamps?), difficult manual processes, complex integration issues, insane requirements, high costs, etc. The data security landscape had only gotten harder since my days at Guardium. Migration to the cloud is difficult (if you want to do it securely), new databases are released on a weekly basis, and people need to get more value for less of an investment.
These things became our relentless focus with jSonar – to revolutionize the data security experience and make our customers’ lives simpler. Simpler to manage. Simpler to move to cloud. Simpler to cover 100% of their databases. Simpler to move from compliance to security, etc. Our company tagline became “Simplifying Security”.
All this time we had customers who also used IBM Guardium and/or Imperva products. We created powerful integrations, adding value to customers when they have Imperva, Guardium or, in some cases, both.
But during this time, two things became very clear to me. First – Imperva’s data security vision is one that aligns with ours, a mission to solve roadblocks across the entire data lifecycle. Second, and more important to me as someone who loves to spend time in the trenches, every Imperva customer we spoke with expressed a higher level of relationship and satisfaction with Imperva.
And so, it became obvious that if we joined forces, we could provide customers of all sizes and maturity unparalleled flexibility of choice and complete coverage in terms of capability across the entire data lifecycle – faster and more completely than we could do independently. So, when they came and suggested we become part of the Imperva family, we just could not say no. Almost to the day seven years after founding jSonar (yep, I did get slightly superstitious after all this) we have made plans to join Imperva!
It seemed strange at first, especially the timing. We had just completed a $50M funding round by Goldman Sachs and we were ready to take on the world independently. More importantly, we have a huge install base that uses a lot of Guardium – will Imperva ask us to abandon them?
On the contrary. I intend to join Imperva to lead a new data security business unit comprising both jSonar and Imperva data security product lines. Bringing together our two teams will form a large development team dedicated to securing data and all paths to it. For on-premise and cloud. Agent and agentless. Imperva agents and Guardium agents. With analytics and automation. With UEBA and SOAR. For security, compliance and privacy. That includes continuing to support and grow our Guardium customer base and using our analytics, SOAR and SIEM capabilities throughout the Imperva solution stack.
As we move forward in this collaboration, my mission is simple and clear. Make the best, easiest-to-use, most effective and just plain out awesome data security products and solutions for everyone. For existing Imperva and Guardium customers (hey – I’ll always be the founder of Guardium), for customers new to DAM, for big enterprises and small startups, for cloud, on-premise, and hybrid, and for regulated and unregulated customers who just want to be safe. And do it in a way that does not cost an arm and a leg and that provides real and immediate value. It’s a bold mission, but one I’m confident we can tackle with Imperva on our side.
And that’s how I plan to spend the next seven years! And believe me when I tell you, it’s not going to be boring!
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory clearance, and is expected to close [mid-October 2020].