James Henderson

Why did Bitdefender buy Singapore cyber start-up Horangi?

As the ink dries on the acquisition of Horangi by Bitdefender, the market continues to connect the dots between a cyber security start-up founded in Singapore and a global vendor born in Romania.

The purchase not only offers an encouraging endorsement of Asian expertise but highlights a growing reliance on multi-cloud capabilities in the context of enterprise protection.

Horangi was founded in 2016 by Paul Hadjy and Lee Sult – both former cyber engineers at Palantir Technologies – and goes to market as a security solutions and services specialist armed with unique intellectual property in the form of cloud-native offering Warden.

Capable of securing critical cloud infrastructure at an enterprise-level, the flagship platform runs across all major public cloud environments, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud and Huawei.

“This acquisition represents a strategic partnership built on shared values, a commitment to innovation and a vision for the future,” said Hadjy, speaking as Co-Founder and CEO of Horangi.

Paul Hadjy (Horangi)

“Horangi has focused on delivering strong business outcomes for our clients with best-in-class cyber security consulting services and Warden. By leveraging Bitdefender’s broad cyber security portfolio, our customers can expect an even greater level of service, accelerated innovation pace and exceptional cyber security outcomes in the cloud and beyond.”

Key features of Warden include compliance automation, threat detection and cloud posture management, alongside identity and access management (IAM), vulnerability remediation and DevSecOps integration.

The product enhances cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) and cloud security posture management (CSPM) capabilities, which are commonly purchased as part of cloud-native application protection platforms. Top vendor competitors within this space include Palo Alto Networks, Check Point, CrowdStrike, Zscaler, Microsoft, CyberArk and BeyondTrust.

Customers utilising the Warden platform across Southeast Asia include Bank Islam, Singlife, JobKred, SafeGraph and FreshKet as well as Persuasion Technologies, Vaultbox and Nalagenetics among others. This is in addition to Gojek, Ninja Van, PropertyGuru and Bukalapak leveraging other services and offerings.

And for Bitdefender, that is the drawcard.

With this acquisition – following a few months of industry speculation – the vendor will incorporate Horangi’s CIEM and CSPM offerings into the Bitdefender GravityZone unified risk and security analytics platform. The move is designed to add “critical compliance and governance” capabilities to strengthen threat prevention, protection, detection and response solutions.

“The addition of Horangi is a major milestone in our product strategy execution and aligns with our mission to be the most trusted cyber security platform worldwide,” noted Florin Talpes, Co-Founder and CEO of Bitdefender.

According to Gartner, “misconfigured cloud resources continue to be a primary reason for cloud-related data breaches”.

In response, the acquisition aims to address “growing demand” for advanced and streamlined management of cyber security, compliance and governance of multi-cloud environments. The theory is that a single point of insight and control across multiple hybrid-cloud environments “simplifies the application” of configuration management and least privilege for organisations.

“Horangi has been on an incredible journey, focused on delivering strong business outcomes for our clients with best-in-class cyber security consulting services and Warden,” Hadjy added.

“This acquisition is a significant milestone for Horangi and with this expanded portfolio of cyber security services and we are excited by the possibilities for both companies and our valued customers and partners.”

In addition to Warden, Horangi’s security services – including proactive risk assessment, red teaming and penetration testing – will “integrate with and complement” Bitdefender’s managed detection and response (MDR) offerings.

“Horangi has developed leading CREST-accredited cyber security consulting services that continuously keep global customers compliant and secure from advanced threats,” Hadjy outlined. “The addition of Bitdefender MDR services is an important and valuable evolution of this service provision.

“Our teams remain committed to delivering the same high-quality services our customers have come to expect from us and we will continue to work closely with our customers and partners.”

Terms of the transaction for Horangi – which secured US$20 million in a series B funding round led by private equity firm Provident Growth in early 2020 – were not disclosed. The deal is expected to be finalised subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

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