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12/13/2007
04:15 PM
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Startup Of The Week: NetWitness Is Like TiVo For IT

NextGen software captures and stores all activity on a network segment and can replay it on demand.

In today's highly regulated business environment, knowing what happens on your network is critical. Like TiVo for IT, NetWitness captures and stores all the activity on a network segment and can replay it on demand. IT departments can use these recordings for forensic investigation, content monitoring, and compliance auditing.
--Andrew Conry-Murray

NETWITNESS

HEADQUARTERS: Herndon, Va.

PRODUCT: NetWitness NextGen network security monitoring software

FUNDING: $7.5 million

PRINCIPALS: Amit Yoran, CEO; Nick Lantuh, president; Tim Belcher, CTO

INVESTORS: Angel investors

EARLY CUSTOMERS: Total Intelligence Solutions; government agencies

Amit Yoran, Netwitness CEO

Yoran has his eye on the network


WHY TAKE A CHANCE ON YOU?
CEO Yoran points to the management team's experience. He's the former director of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division and co-founder of Riptech, a managed security services company acquired by Symantec. CTO Belcher is also a Riptech co-founder. "We are professionals, we know what we are doing, and we do it very well."

HOW IT WORKS
Decoder appliances sit at key network segments, where they capture every packet, recreate all sessions, and reconstruct all network activity up to the application layer. "We can reconstruct several dozen protocols and application types," says Yoran. "So if you look at Web browsing traffic, we can show you what the Web site looked like. We can replay VoIP conversations." The Investigator software performs data analysis. Administrators can investigate incidents by e-mail, file types, users, actions, and more.

THE COMPETITION
Network Instruments' GigaStor and Solera Networks' DS line capture and replay live traffic for forensics, auditing, and troubleshooting. And packet-capture tools and network sniffers are in widespread use.

THE OPPORTUNITY
The need for incident response and forensic investigation is being driven by regulatory requirements and advanced threats such as targeted malware, espionage, and internal misuse. Technicians with the know-how can reconstruct sessions, says Yoran, "but doing it on a large scale efficiently is difficult." NetWitness makes analysis easier and helps IT better understand the scope of incidents. The product can also drill down on issues such as bandwidth consumption and user activity.

TIMELINE
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