Avalon’s Investment in Conjur

When Andy Palmer and Sunil Dhaliwal, two trusted colleagues of ours, separately introduced us to the founding team at Conjur after saying, “You must meet these guys; they are amazing,” we took notice. After meeting Elizabeth Lawler and Kevin Gilpin and hearing about their vision for cloud security, coupled with some impressive and high-profile customer wins, we were hooked.

Most people acknowledge that security remains a major barrier to cloud adoption. The massive data security breaches of 2013 (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, LivingSocial, Drupal, LinkedIn, and Adobe) and the NSA scandal were front page news, and they underscore the risks of getting cloud security wrong.

Because of this, many potential cloud adopters remain on the sidelines. Large enterprises in health care, biopharma, financial services, etc., look at security and compliance as the big gap yet to be filled before moving to the cloud becomes a no-brainer. The folks at Conjur want to help bring the cloud migration date much closer to today—for everyone. Conjur is the first company to mash up enterprise-grade cloud security, compliance, and auditing with the needs of IT, security, and developers. The founders saw clearly that a lot more stakeholders must be satisfied to really make a cloud security system work in a complex organization. In other words, they “speak cloud”.

Cloud security, particularly at the cloud application level, is a place where the best security practices can be systematized, automated, and factored directly out of application code. At previous companies, both Lawler and Gilpin lived the alternatives—ad hoc enterprise IT solutions foisted onto the cloud environment—and they know firsthand the front line struggles.

But what they saw beyond the immediate needs of cloud adopters and better cloud security practices was much more transformative. With great security and transparency of security and cloud governance in place, tremendous opportunities exist for new software application architectures using cloud-computing infrastructure. Gartner’s in this camp too—they see the cloud security market growing from $2.1B last year to $3.1B in 2014.

So herein lies a very big idea. By rethinking security at the cloud and application level, we can now create borderless applications and jointly managed cloud infrastructures powered by cloud security patterns from Conjur. Now the true power for cloud computing can be realized by creating cross-organization, application-specific controls that are independent and transparent to all stakeholders, without any party having to give up “control.”

Conjur combines an exceptional team with early customer validation and fits neatly into our investment theme of cloud-enabled services. The world needs better, more agile, collaborative, and transparent security and compliance solutions. Conjur’s technology delivers them.