BK: What is Apani Networks doing, and how do you address the network security and compliance space?
DL: The growing regulatory compliance environment is focused primarily on privacy, integrity and the protection of confidential information. This is requiring IT managers to apply the same level of security inside the perimeter as they traditionally have outside it.
Unfortunately the tools traditionally used outside the perimeter are not well suited to being implemented inside the perimeter. There is a difference in scale for most organizations which raised the issues of managing large numbers in a cost effective manner.
There is also significant difference in encryption technologies. The classic VPN gateway was built to allow encryption to occur from the perimeter to the edge, it doesn't implement well within the perimeter. Plus the encryption protocols that work well in a latency rich Internet environment, for example SSL, do not work well in the internal network.
Additionally not only is there a need to secure the whole environment but, at the same time IT managers need to be able to demonstrate to auditors that this has in fact been done successfully.
Apani Networks produces an IPSec based Compliance Security Tool that allows organizations to effectively lock down the environment inside the perimeter. Our solution automatically enforces and audits network security relationships, provides dynamic access control, data flow security and management across an entire enterprise environment.
The Apani EpiForce is a centralized security management system that provides a holistic view of the entire environment, and is able to both enforce and report on security policies as well as identify "out of bounds" activity.
We are the only product capable of doing this on the market today, and our customers tell us we are at least 18 months ahead of the competition.
BK: Who are the founders of Apani, and why did they decide to start the company?
DL: Apani was founded by a group of Japanese investors who themselves are focused on hardware and semiconductors. As part of their regular market analysis they realized that the then current "moat and castle" security strategy of building a strong perimeter and focusing security on the outside of the perimeter had some inherent weaknesses. And felt that this represented a good opportunity for them.
They looked around and acquired a base technology from a company called Netlock who they felt had come to market too soon. Using this technology as a starting point they founded Apani Networks with the goal of engaging with alpha customers who had also came to the realization that a new security model was needed to build the base technology into an effective and marketable solution. Netlock was founded by Claudia Beaty who joined Apani as Chief Operating Officer and is a member of our board.
BK: What kind of customers are the target for your products?
DL: The Apani EpiForce is a product built with large enterprise for large enterprise. We have been working with a number of large financial institutions as our Alpha customers for a number of years, building a highly scaleable and flexible product aimed at the specific issues that large organizations have when it comes to security their environments.
Consequently we focus on the Fortune 1000, with a special emphasis on the Financial, Healthcare, Government and Pharmaceutical marketplaces.
BK: Where is Apani in terms of product availability?
DL: Our product is generally available today, under the name Apani In-Depth Network Security System (INS System). With the scheduled release in June 2005 the name will change to Apani EpiForce.
BK: Who are your investors, and how did you find them?
DL: The original group of investors included; Niigata Seimitsu Co., Micro Research Laboratory, and Mizuho Securities Co. With this latest round we have added Unicharm Co. to our investor list, and we found them through an active investment search in North America and Japan. We started this investment round in November 2004, and concluded it in May 2005.