Entrepreneur pioneers data-protection software
CEO & Founder, Netskope
Los Altos, Calif.
When the world’s most successful businesses began moving five years ago to cloud-based computing—storing and accessing data on the Internet rather than on hard drives—chief information officers posed a vital question: How can sensitive information and my users be protected?
Sanjay Beri gave them their answer. As founder and CEO of Netskope, Inc., Beri pioneered the development of cloud access security brokers, or CASBs, that monitor and govern cloud traffic while also erecting “guardrails” to screen out harmful malware and ransomware attacks. The technology uses policies, algorithms, and heuristics to prevent data theft and threats so organizations can use the cloud.
Beri’s data-protection technology is much needed. “People in your own company, nation-states, hacktivists—all of them want to exploit your company in order to achieve monetary or political gain or to advance their social cause or personal cyber-reputation,” he says.
Netskope’s CASB, the Netskope Active Platform, works in real time—interpreting, analyzing, and securing all cloud applications in the world—a count that exceeds 25,000 today.
Netskope was recognized in the 2016 Forbes 100 as one of the top cloud companies in the world and has earned numerous awards, including the 2016 New Product of the Year Award in the loss prevention category by Security Products magazine. To date the company has raised close to $250 million from top investors including Accel and Lightspeed.
Privately held Netskope doesn’t reveal its clients, but Beri says they represent a wide range of Fortune 500, 2000, and 5000 companies in sectors that include health care, financial services, energy, retail, and tech. Since Beri launched Netskope in 2012, it has grown to more than 400 employees, and he is one of the few Canadian-Americans to create a billion-dollar venture—according to some sources, Netskope has a $1.25 billion valuation—in the U.S.
An engineer early in his career, Sanjay transitioned to product, marketing, and sales roles and at Haas further developed into a business leader, learning about financial modeling and gaining an even broader perspective on business building. The experience gave him another critical exposure as well.
“Haas helped me see other perspectives from a marketing side,” he says. “I was able to understand the fundamentals more deeply.”
Netskope marked a natural career progression for Beri. In 1999, he co-founded Ingrian Networks (since acquired by information security giant SafeNet), which was one of the first efforts to develop enterprise data protection. Having been Ingrian’s founding engineer and the head of product management, Beri is considered a trailblazer of technology that continues to protect online retailers and financial institutions.
“I love building, scaling, and moving companies in an agile way,” Beri says. “When I started Netskope I thought, ‘I’m going to build an iconic stand-alone security company. I’m going to do it by building a great culture— no bureaucracy or politics—and I’m going to bring some of the best minds together and apply it to a great problem.’ That’s what drove me.” —Andrew Faught