AWS Buys Harvest.ai

2017 looks like it’s going to be a year of acquisition as the larger players are looking to consolidate their position by buying companies that add value to their current offerings. In this line, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has bought a cybersecurity company Harvest.ai to boost cloud security for the end-users. Though no official announcement has been made by either companies in this regard, TechCrunch and other major sources have reported this acquisition.

It is believed that AWS paid $19 million for this company, and this may be much more than what the investors hoped to earn by way of revenue. It’s interesting to note that the company has raised only $2.3 million by way of capital since it was founded, and employs only 12 people in all. All these employees are expected to move to Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle after the terms are settled.

This deal was believed to be in the offing for some time, as the co-founders, Anna Zelenak and Alex Watson had already moved to Seattle in 2016. Another co-founder, Jenny Brinkley, now lists Amazon as her employer on a political contributions page. These changes, along with inputs from anonymous sources within the company led TechCrunch to announce that Harvest.ai was acquired by AWS.

Harvest.ai is a San Diego based startup company co-founded by two former employees from the NSA in 2014, though it officially started its services only in March 2015. This company’s original name was 405Labs, but was later changed to harvest.ai, and the reason for the same is not known. This company specializes in using machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze the behavior of a user on the company’s network. Such a surveillance reduces the potential of cyber attacks, and increases the chances of stopping planned attacks before valuable data is lost.

It’s patent-pending product called MACIE Analytics uses artificial intelligence to get an in-depth understanding of who is logged in and what is being accessed in real-time, along with other pertinent information needed to identify a cyber attack such as what items are being moved and which areas are being accessed. With all this information collated together, it’s easy to stop phishing attacks as well as the more difficult insider attacks.

MACIE also comes with other cool features that make integration with existing systems a breeze. It works well with both cloud and on-premise systems, and creates extensive information on the activities of each user’s session. Such detailed information can go a long way in not just discovering attacks, but also for a detailed study about the company’s security system and its possible flaws.

Harvest.ai had been a customer of AWS, as it was featured in the “Startup Spotlight” of the latter. In many ways, this acquisition was a natural one for both the companies, more so for AWS, considering the sophisticated attacks that have been taking place over the last few months. Such a cloud-based tool could go a long way in protecting its customers’ data.

AWS could possibly use the services of this company as a part of its security-as-a-service division, and to supplement its existing security authentication and monitoring tools.

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