Salesforce invests in cloud visibility provider Skyhigh Networks

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Credit: s13n1 via Wikimedia Commons

Salesforce wants you to have a safer cloud.

Skyhigh Networks, a startup that provides tools to give administrators visibility into the cloud tools being used on their networks and lock them down, today announced a $40 million Series C round of funding led by Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital, with surprise participation by Salesforce. 

The Skyhigh Networks solution is similar to others in the same market: It analyzes a corporate network, sees what apps employees are using on the network (like Dropbox or Facebook), analyzes the risk, and provides tools for locking them down according to company policy.

Like the recently announced LogMeIn AppGuru, Skyhigh aimed at helping administrators ride the wave of Shadow IT and take advantage of the tools employees already love using. Unlike that product, CEO Rajiv Gupta says that Skyhigh is more designed for ongoing application lifecycle management, from the introduction of an app to the network to securing it. 

The funding goes towards improving headcount, building a presence in the Europe and Asia Pacific sales regions, and further developing the product. Overall, the company has raised $66.5 million -- a number vindicated by the company's rapid revenue growth and team expansion, Gupta says. 

"This investment is fuel for the rocket ship," he says.

So why would Salesforce invest? It's pretty simple, Gupta says. Any solution that makes the cloud and BYOD a safer bet for the enterprise is something that's going to catch Salesforce's interest, after all.

Skyhigh's solutions enable administrators to find out when employees are using unsupported apps to access and share data. If Skyhigh customers don't save money from locking down potential data breaches before they become costly, embarrassing mistakes, they save by abandoning costly legacy solutions in favor of more cost-effective SaaS solutions that employees already know how to use. 

That lends itself a peace of mind for the CIO's office -- a CIO who knows where their data lives and understands how it's getting moved around is a happy CIO. This is so, so critical, Gupta says, because people aren't going to stop bringing their cloud-powered apps to the workplace. And so, giving customers more control is ultimately a good thing for Salesforce, which dominates so much of the enterprise cloud space. 

"The genie's out of the bottle," Gupta says.

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