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EMC buys cloudy Canuck security company CloudLink

Encryption in the cloud to become a licence-free service

EMC has bought CloudLink – a 20-person Canadian firm specialising in cloud data security software – for an undisclosed price.

The software is SecureVM, which provides end-to-end data encryption for hybrid clouds, covering both at-rest and in-flight data for virtualised servers. It’s been an EMC Select Partner since 2013 and provides:

  • Secure VSA for virtual storage in the cloud and encrypted data stores for VMs
  • SecureVM for virtual machines in the cloud, independent of the CSP
  • SecureFILE for application files (NAS) in the cloud
  • CloudLink Center management system for policy control and key delivery, with keys held at customer sites or in the cloud

CloudLink Center integrates with EMC’s RSA Data Protection Manager. The firm is based in Ottawa and was previously called AFORE.

It has in excess of 50 customers and revenues have passed $1m per year: small potatoes in EMC terms. CloudLink enjoyed $6m A-round funding from a single VC in 2013 and its co-founder, CEO and president is Alex Berlin.

The products work with AWS and Azure, working with Azure Key Vault for example, as well as with IBM, EMC, VCE, and VMware, and they support Windows and Linux OS images.

A 5X payout for the VC would point towards a $30m price tag. However, it appears EMC Ventures was the investor and so bought its own funded start-up, which would cost a lot less than $30m.

One of EMC’s presidents, Chad Sakac, provided some background:

As more and more customers were deploying Hybrid Cloud models, encryption was showing up as a requirement. We do rich storage-level encryption across almost the whole EMC portfolio (in both storage arrays and SDS models).

[There are a] few exceptions where we currently don’t do this natively (ECS Object and HDFS doesn’t encrypt yet – but will soon have rich bucket-based encryption, and ScaleIO does only a lightweight encryption that is basic obfuscation – but will do more in the future as well).

He went on to say that customers need encryption to be cloud-independent, policy-based in an infrastructure and applicable to identified workloads, and enforceable: VMs don’t run if the encryption policy isn’t known to be working.

Alex Berlin will now head up EMC’s Cloud Security Division and he and his team will stay in Ottawa.

There are obvious integration possibilities with EMC's in-cloud back-up service. By the by, we note that CloudLink is not being folded into the RSA organisation. ®

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