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Microsoft-Backed Security Startups Outsmart Hackers with Hackers

To beat a hacker, you have to think like a hacker, and in some cases, even work with them, according to two Microsoft Ventures’ startups who spoke during the Microsoft Inspire 2017 event this week.
Microsoft Ventures launched last year to focus on startup investments, unlike Microsoft Accelerator, which focuses on startup enablement through its accelerators around the world. Two companies that were added to its portfolio this year were on hand at Microsoft Inspire to talk about their approaches to cybersecurity, which remained a hot topic over the week dominated by news about Microsoft 365 and Azure Stack.
Synack Crowdsourced Cybersecurity Platform Helps Close Talent Gap
In a breakout session on Wednesday, Synack CEO and co-founder Jay Kaplan talked about its crowdsourced approach to cybersecurity, which he said is much more scalable than hiring security pros, particularly in light of the massive cybersecurity talent gap.
“Clearly there’s a big issue here; we need to recruit more talent and frankly most organizations are not going to be able to fill the positions they need,” he said.
The company is based in Redwood City, Calif., and was launched in 2013 when Kaplan and Mark Kuhr left the NSA. In March, it closed $21 million in Series C funding, with Microsoft Ventures participating in the round.
Kaplan said that crowdsourced security is not a new concept, pointing to bug bounty programs, which have been around since the mid-nineties. But he says Synack lets

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