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Elisity News

Elisity Taps Silicon Valley Veteran James Winebrenner as CEO to Support Rapid Growth

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Nov. 18, 2020 — Elisity, Inc., the pioneer of Cognitive Trust™, the new platform for knowledge-based enterprise security, today announced former Cisco, Viptela, and Aviatrix executive James Winebrenner as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Founding CEO Burjiz Pithawala, will continue to guide the company’s product strategy and execution in his new role as Chief Product Officer (CPO). Winebrenner is an experienced go-to-market executive with a successful track record building and scaling companies, including leading go-to-market strategy for Viptela culminating in the sale to Cisco in 2017. He joins Elisity to lead the company’s rapid growth as enterprises grapple with the changing environment due to COVID-19 and the need to connect and secure every user, device, and application. Today’s digital enterprises have vastly larger attack surfaces that require a new approach to cybersecurity and the castle and moat architectures from past eras are not ready for a cloud-first and remote-work world.

“Cognitive Trust is replacing legacy location-based trust models in the enterprise. The old way of connectivity first and then applying policies and security is broken,” said Pithawala. “We make it possible to secure enterprise data in a world transformed by cloud, mobility, and connected devices and under constant attack by increasingly sophisticated bad actors. With Elisity Cognitive Trust, context is the new perimeter, allowing you to proactively protect your enterprise assets and data without compromising the user experience. We deliver this for any user to any application from any device regardless of location. I look forward to working with James to grow Elisity and drive continued innovation for our customers.”

Over the last year, Elisity has partnered with innovative customers to drive the co-development of the Cognitive Trust platform and is now ready to scale to the broader enterprise market. The company is planning further investments in its world-class engineering team and expansion of sales and customer success functions to support increased enterprise adoption.

“Today we’re managing a patchwork of legacy solutions to secure our manufacturing environment and plan to migrate to a purpose-built platform that currently doesn’t exist in the market, leveraging cognitive trust,” said Michael Elmore, VP, Global Operational Technology Cyber Security at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). “In the pharmaceutical industry over the last 10 years, we have seen an increase in operational technology (OT) connecting to the corporate network, expanding the attack surface. No other vendor can provide the network visibility, telemetry, intelligence, and micro-segmentation required to effectively accelerate the time to reduce risk in both greenfield and brownfield environments. I am confident James will bring a customer-first mindset to Elisity, enabling continuous innovation and faster time to adoption for customers.”

“Burjiz and the team have obliterated the legacy castle and moat security model and built a truly unique approach to enterprise security that will radically change how customers protect and access their critical assets,” said Winebrenner. “I started my career with Check Point Software over 20 years ago, and I am excited to return to these security roots as we work to transform the legacy trust model. It is an honor to work with Burjiz, and I can’t wait to accelerate the next phase of enterprise growth.”

Transforming the enterprise security model

How you secure an enterprise has changed. Security used to be determined based on location. Because of digital transformation the cloud is the data center, every device is a work device, and applications are delivered from and to anywhere. This change has accelerated during a global pandemic—enterprises need a new kind of security.

On Aug. 12, Elisity introduced Cognitive Trust, the industry’s first combined Zero Trust and software-defined perimeter solution. Security used to be determined based on location, either inside or outside the perimeter. Cognitive Trust uses what is known about the user, application, data, and device, enabling organizations to apply identity-based access policy ubiquitously and nano-segment their environments. Now organizations can make Cognitive Trust the new perimeter, adopt a “never trust, always verify” security model, and enable secure access to any data or application, from any device, by any user, from anywhere.

Elisity Cognitive Trust is a platform that provides complete network visibility and continuously monitors the behavior of all users, devices, and traffic flows, making automatic policy recommendations based on context, behavior and risk. Cognitive Trust allows enterprises to manage their security adaptively, as user behavior changes and as the enterprise evolves.

Castles and moats are tools built for a perimeter world and do not provide control over users, applications, data, and devices. Centuries old solutions for modern day problems are no longer sufficient. Solutions like firewalls and VPNs are too limited, complicated, and expensive to effectively protect enterprise data and assets while enabling digital transformation and remote work. Such solutions create excessive trust in the network and expand the attack surface—weaknesses that are too easily exploited by malicious actors.


“Atlantic Bridge is excited about the early traction with customers, and James’ experience at Check Point Software, Cisco, Viptela, and Aviatrix lends well to him helping scale Elisity into a robust organization,” said Brian Long, Elisity board member and managing partner at Atlantic Bridge. “His customer first focus and extensive understanding of the enterprise security market make him a perfect fit to lead Elisity as the company transforms how enterprises secure their IT and OT assets in a remote work, and cloud first world.”

“Partnering with James at Viptela, I saw the benefit of his customer-centricity and laser focus on customer success in driving go-to-market,” said Khalid Raza, investor and strategic advisor, Elisity. “He is the right fit to lead the next phase of the company’s growth, and I am thrilled he has accepted the challenge.”

Learn more about Elisity Cognitive Trust here.

About Elisity

Elisity is solving the challenge of securing access to enterprise assets and enterprise data in a complex modern world where a perimeter no longer protects the enterprise and mobile workforces. Elisity has introduced Cognitive Trust, a unified policy and identity-based access solution that continuously learns and makes tuning recommendations. Today trust is no longer defined by where you are, but rather what we know. The Elisity team is made up of experienced entrepreneurs with deep technical backgrounds in enterprise networking and security with the world’s largest and most security-conscious organizations. Atlantic Bridge is the lead investor in the company. Advisors include security and networking luminaries, like Greg Akers (former SVP at Cisco), Woody Sessoms (former SVP at Cisco), and Jeff Tantsura (Internet Architecture Board). Learn more at www.elisity.com.

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