Cloud

Torq lands $50M to bring no-code automation to security


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Torq, which today announced raising a $50 million series B funding round, has already found “incredible demand and customer growth” after less than a year in market with its platform that enables no-code automation for security operations, CEO and cofounder Ofer Smadari told VentureBeat. The startup now serves dozens of customers and aims to accelerate its growth with the help of the new funding, which was led by Insight Partners and included an investment from prominent cybersecurity firm SentinelOne.

Portland, Oregon-based Torq, formerly known as StackPulse, was founded in 2020 by a team whose previous startup was acquired by Symantec. Torq offers a no-code platform used to connect security infrastructure with communication tools, while also bringing automation to workflows across all of the systems.

Coding not required

This no-code approach enables a level of ease of use and connectivity not available in most existing security tools, which “require engineering knowledge or professional services to get them integrated to the rest of the security stack,” Smadari said in an email.

No-code tools simplify app development and open the process up to non-technical workers. The tools provide a visual approach to creating apps, such as with drag-and-drop methods. A survey from Formstack found that 83% of employees expect an increase in their use of no-code tools over the next year.

Torq is seeking to bring its no-code approach to the security and risk management market, Smadari said — a massive market that covers the full gamut of cybersecurity across application, cloud, data, identity, infrastructure, and more categories. Gartner has pegged the market at $150.4 billion for 2021, an increase of 12.4% from 2020. And the growth is accelerating, as security and risk management spending had grown at roughly half that rate, 6.4%, in 2020, according to the research firm.

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However, this spending in cybersecurity is actually driven by “increasing complexity in the environments security teams are charged to protect,” Smadari said.

“This increasing complexity then in turn leads to a broader range of security tools and processes needed,” he said. “This complexity and breadth requires significant additional investment — in human hours, engineering work, or professional services — to tie the security operations into a cohesive whole.”

Cyber skills gap

Other factors, notably the industry-wide cybersecurity skills gap, make these issues even more difficult, he said. In the U.S. alone, job tracker Cyber Seek estimates that there are currently about 460,000 openings in cybersecurity.

“So the challenge for security teams is how to improve efficiency and deliver better protection, without being able to expand the team itself,” Smadari said — which is where Torq comes in.

The company’s platform makes it simple for any security professional to build and use automated workflows, no matter what other security tools they’re using today, he said.

By doing this, security teams not only reap the benefits of automation, but “they also are able to improve their overall protection with faster threat response, automated risk mitigation and remediation, and expanded coverage of threat surfaces,” he said.

In terms of ease of use, Torq has curated workflow templates that are recommended based on the customer’s security ecosystem. For example, in order to connect Torq to a Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) tool, the platform will suggest workflow templates tailored to responding to and remediating CSPM alerts faster.

This ultimately helps customers to automate more processes — and in less time — thus improving protection, Smadari said.

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More than a ‘buzzword’

When it comes to competitors, Torq is seeking to displace security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) tools that bring a higher level of complexity and require greater technical knowledge, he said.

While no-code is admittedly a “buzzword,” Smadari said, “it’s also our promise to customers. You don’t have to know any code whatsoever to connect Torq to the tools you’re using or to build automated workflows.”

This ease of connectivity and use — coupled with a cloud-native architecture that enables Torq workflows to run across both cloud and on-premises environments — helps customers to accelerate and expand their automation in the security realm, he said. The average Torq customer is running 17 automated processes after the first 30 days of using the product, according to Smadari.

In terms of product development going forward, Torq aims to make it even easier for teams to share and collaborate on creating workflows, while improving its curated workflow templates and recommendations, he said.

Growth spurt

Torq serves both enterprise and managed security service provider (MSSP) customers, and while the company isn’t disclosing its exact customer count, the number is now in the dozens, Smadari said. Customers that have been disclosed include Lemonade, NS1, eToro, The Meet Group, Armis, and Agoda.

Torq’s solution has made it “easy” for travel booking site Agoda to quickly turn manual security processes into automated workflows, according to Yaron Slutzky, chief security officer at Agoda. “This has helped us respond to threats and remediate risks faster, while also eliminating time spent on routine operations like user onboarding and de-provisioning,” Slutzky said in an email to VentureBeat.

In terms of hiring, Torq currently employs 70 and plans to cross 100 employees within six months with the help of the new funding round, Smadari said.

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Along with Smadari, Torq’s other founders are chief technology officer Leonid Belkind and chief innovation officer Eldad Livni. Together, they previously founded Luminate Security, which focused on software-defined perimeter technologies (now known as secure access service edge, or SASE). Symantec acquired Luminate Security in 2019.

Investor interest

The series A funding brings the company to a total of $78 million raised since its launch in 2020. The company had exited stealth in January, disclosing $28 million in funding at the time. Torq did not disclose its valuation in connection with the new funding.

Along with Insight Partners and SentinelOne, other investors in the round included existing backers GGV Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners.

SentinelOne CEO Tomer Weingarten said in a news release that Torq, like his company, is “dedicated” to the vision of “reducing complexity so our customers can reduce risk with autonomous cybersecurity.”

Stephen Ward, managing director at Insight Partners, said in an email that Torq is “uniquely” addressing automation gaps in the security operations space — as well as helping to alleviate the talent shortage — with its “simple to use” no-code technology. And both, he said, are “especially important at this critical moment of increased vulnerability to attacks.”

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