teleport, a platform that assigns identities to hardware, software and users to replace the need for passwords, today announced it has raised $110 million in a Series C fundraising valuation after a $1.1 billion investment. Bessemer Venture Partners led a tranche involving Insight Partners, Kleiner Perkins and S28 Capital, bringing Teleport’s total to $169 million.
Co-founder and CEO Ev Kontsevoi says the capital from the new round will be used to develop the product and expand the Teleport team from 200 people to around 300 by the end of the year. “An important aspect of growing our product is to create teleport more affordable,” he told TechCrunch via email. “In addition to continually improving open source downloads and enterprise standalones, we will continue to invest in making our cloud offering available worldwide.”
Kontsevoy co-founded Teleport (formerly Gravitational) with Taylor Wakefield and Sasha Klizentas in 2015 with the goal of building a product that could manage access to Kubernetes clusters. (Kubernetes clusters are a group of nodes or work machines that run applications packaged with necessary dependencies and services.) Wakefield has just come out of two startups he helped launch together, including Mailgun (which was acquired by Rackspace in 2012). ), while Kontsevoi, the co-founder of Mailgun, was stepping down as product director at Rackspace. After acquiring Mailgun, Wakefield also worked at Rackspace, where he was site manager for the San Francisco office.
Kontsevoi, Wakefield, and Klizentas released Teleport’s flagship product, the eponymous Teleport, as an open source project in 2016. The system provides what Endpoint describes as “identity-based infrastructure access” by acting as a secure proxy that understands protocols spanning SSH, HTTPS. and RDP to enable a passwordless route to resources such as databases, Kubernetes clusters, internal web applications, and network servers.
The open source version of Teleport, the Teleport Community Edition, is still available for download from GitHub. Teleport also offers a commercial, fully managed product that includes features such as role-based access control.
“[At Rackspace,] we found that engineers and development teams lacked an easy yet secure way to access their increasingly complex cloud environments. Most of the people we knew gravitated towards choosing between safety and convenience, and that was frustrating. That is why we started this project,” Kontsevoi said. “We want engineers to feel like their entire infrastructure getsteleported’ in the same room with them.
Teleport can secure certificate-based communication between machines, such as service accounts, servers, and user code in applications. The system allows certificate-based authentication only by integrating with an identity manager such as GitHub, Google Apps, Okta or Microsoft Active Directory and others, ostensibly protecting against compromised credentials.
Teleport provides a web-based configuration panel, but requests for elevated permissions (like editing a system-level file) can be approved ad hoc through chat tools like Slack and Mattermost. System logs record events including authentication attempts, file transfers, network connections, and file system changes.
“Remote access should not be isolated – it should be consolidated, because having a single source of trusted information not only increases security, but also reduces transaction costs and improves the end user experience,” Kontsevoi said. “Teleport significantly reduces the risk that compromised credentials could be used in an attack, and improves the productivity of developers who need access to multiple infrastructure resources on a daily basis.”
Developer teams are indeed being asked to keep up with a growing set of critical infrastructure, Kontsevoi said, especially as business moves online during the pandemic. In a recent poll from Forrester to Sonrai Security and Amazon Web Services, more than half of IT and security professionals said their company’s computers and digital identities are “out of control” and will need new security solutions. The implications are becoming clear. More than 50% of companies expect surge in recorded security incidents in 2022 above the level of 2021, according at PWC.
“Complexity is the biggest challenge facing our industry because complex systems are difficult to protect at a time when attacks are increasing and becoming inevitable. Complexity arises as companies implement new clouds, create new applications and expand teams that increasingly work outside the network perimeter, ”said Kontsevoy. “Traditional solutions to these problems, such as virtual private networks, secret vaults, or legacy privilege access control, do not solve the problem. Solving this complexity problem means removing things from the stack, not adding even more complexity to it.”
Alternatives to Teleport include Bastion and StrongDM, the latter of which recently raised $54 million in capital. But Kontsevoy points to Teleport’s Oakland, California-based customer base as evidence of its growing market power. Doordash, Elastic, Nasdaq, Snowflake and Square currently use Teleport, as well as Samsung, NASDAQ and IBM.
“teleport has over 11,000 stars on Github and has been downloaded approximately 19 million times,” said Kontsevoy. “We will continue our unique approach to delivering industry-leading security practices without sacrificing engineering productivity…By removing passwords and other secrets, teleport eliminates the source of human error that leads to an attack and greatly reduces the attack surface when a disaster occurs.”
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