With the help of a recent seed round, Reston, Virginia-based trackd seeks to test a novel model for cybersecurity.
trackd’s $3.35 million seed round was led by Flybridge and included Lerer Hippeau, DC’s SaaS Ventures and Expa. The company anticipates raising another round later this year for further growth; in the meantime, it plans to use the funds for proof of concept on an idea called “collective defense.”
Collective defense is the idea that organizations and companies can collaborate internally and externally across different industries to defend against cyber threats. This includes collaborating by sharing threat intelligence and coordinated responses to threats. This also includes the idea of auto-patching, where companies can share data on previous fixes, known as patches, and use that information to develop automated patches.
“For years, research firms such as Gartner and Forrester have asserted that collective defense in cybersecurity is impossible,” Mike Starr, CEO and founder of trackd, told Technical.ly. “We proved it is possible in December 2022.”
The idea of collective defense has been around since the founding of the United Nations in 1945. However, the concept was only recently applied to cybersecurity. The idea of sharing knowledge and actionable data has been increasingly embraced by the industry, and more professionals are sharing anonymized data to help the collective good. With trackd, Starr hopes to make auto-patching as common as the “https” on web addresses.
“There is growing acceptance that cybersecurity is not a single-player game,” said Starr. “You can’t solve for cybersecurity on your own. It is not possible as there are too many variables.”
Starr moved to DC in 2011 to work for the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency (NSA) and, later, IronNet (founded by retired General Keith Alexander, a former NSA director) He has been in Northern Virginia, which he described as a major cyber talent hub, for the past decade.
“The DMV region is home to some of the biggest cybersecurity players, including the NSA and government contractors,” said Starr. “A lot of expertise comes out of the federal government and it is a hub for exceptional cyber talent. I attribute the depth of my skills to my three years at the NSA.”
Starr said that trackd has a two-pronged ideal customer profile. The first is a traditional midsize company with up to 5,000 employees, a dedicated security team with a chief security officer and an IT department-to-employee ratio of one to 10. The second customer persona is a company with tens of thousands of servers globally, such as Netflix, Google or Cloudflare; and with a server-to-person ratio of 1 to 10, 1 to 50 or 1 to 100.
Currently, trackd is building support for all operating systems, including Windows, Mac and Linux. Leadership hopes to launch general availability by late Q2; with general availability, anyone can sign up, download an agent and use the technology in seconds.
“The goal is to fuel future requests from adopters and get more people on the platform,” said Starr. “We are making collective defense a reality and helping IT and security teams better understand each other and reduce friction.”
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