The beginning of Ava and how we shape Unified Security

Tormod Ree, April 21 2020
5 mins

Today we have some exciting news to share with you. We’ve merged Jazz Networks and Vaion to form Ava—the future leader in Unified Security.

When I took part in starting Ava Video (formerly Vaion) a little over two years ago, it was because I’d come to know a group of incredibly talented individuals who shared the desire to find an industry where we could make a difference and solve real customer problems. Together we set out on a mission to apply new technology in a better and simpler way. Specifically, we believed the physical security and video surveillance industries were badly broken.

There are millions of sensors out there (aka cameras), but all they do is sit and record video for later viewing and documentation. Organizations don’t use the technology to its fullest potential, and, at the same time, most solutions are incredibly complex. My colleagues and I set out to build a solution to allow our customers to move to a proactive security model—finding threats faster and leveraging insights to improve business operations.

In parallel, our good friends at Ava Cyber (formerly Jazz Networks) had come to a similar conclusion, but for a very different market. They realized companies are not properly protected against insider threats as the focus has been on malicious outsiders for decades, all while frequency of insider incidents has tripled since 2016. In response, Jazz set out to build a human-centric solution for insider threat detection and response. Jazz reduces the attack surface by continuously training employees and monitoring cyber hygiene, and protects data by combining deep visibility, rigorous policies, and machine learning-based algorithms.

Since then, both teams have come a long way. Team Vaion built an end-to-end intelligent video security and data solution. This solution is in use by numerous customers helping to keep their organizations safe while gaining real-world insight to improve business operations. Team Jazz Networks built an award-winning solution that is helping protect what matters most to customers—their people, data, and reputation.

The need for a unified security solution

We’ve always had the hunch that these two entities should come together as a unified security solution, partly because we’re solving two conceptually similar problems. Historically, customers in both market segments have been suffering from data overload. Too much unstructured data from sensors (agents and networks or cameras), make it impossible to be proactive as well as incredibly time-consuming to find what you’re looking for after the fact. Customers are also struggling with complexity. Also, if cybersecurity and video security providers want companies, organizations, and individuals to be safer and smarter, solutions need to be a lot simpler.

But more importantly, we’ve come to this conviction together: Jazz Networks and Vaion are uniquely positioned to solve what is probably the most challenging security risk of all—the lack of protection against hybrid attacks.

Today, companies and organizations want to be protected against threats that span the physical and cyber domains. These can be quite simple, like USB drop stick attacks, or highly complex attacks, like those against critical infrastructure. Threat actors employ methods where they attempt to gain physical access to IT infrastructure for data theft or sabotage. Or they use access to IT infrastructure to bring down physical security systems. Both are equally important and very hard to guard against today.

A case in point is the cybersecurity incident at a US power grid entity late last year, where attackers repeatedly caused firewalls to reboot for ten hours. Fortunately this attack did not cause any disruption of power supply, but imagine if they had used this or other vulnerabilities to sabotage physical security at the impacted power generation sites to gain access for further actions?

The challenge in protecting against these attacks is not the lack of data; it’s the lack of a solution that can look for patterns across both the cyber and physical domains. What if you could see that someone pretending to access your data from within your office is not actually in the office? What if you could be notified about an unauthorized individual gaining access to critical IT infrastructure?

And so Ava is born.

Some people call this “converged security”. We choose to call it unified security because that’s the result of bringing something together. And to us, it’s about results and not the process of convergence.

Tormod Ree, CEO at Ava Security
Jazz Networks and Vaion merging, Ava

We decided we’re going to solve this problem and, to do so, we need to come together as one. Together we can bring the resources to address a real need in the market today. As Ava, we can solve our customers’ and partners’ unified security challenges. We can fill the gap between cyber and video security with a unified security response to a mix of threats global security and IT teams face every day. We converge and interconnect the two solutions to help organizations set up a holistic approach to security, one that is flexible, simple, and, most of all, comprehensive. We will be identifying patterns and anomalies that span the physical and cyber domains, we will be exchanging data and events between our platforms, and we will be providing unified interfaces for joint SOCs.

Some people call this “converged security”. We choose to call it unified security because that’s the result of bringing something together. And to us, it’s about results and not the process of convergence.

We’re incredibly excited to take on this new venture and look forward to revealing more details in the weeks and months ahead.

This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.