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Startup OneLayer offers IoT security on cellular networks

Israeli startup OneLayer has launched from stealth with $8.2 million in seed funding and a software-based platform to secure IoT devices on private LTE and 5G networks.

Israeli startup OneLayer has launched out of stealth a cybersecurity platform that takes an identity-based approach to secure IoT devices on private cellular networks, a fairly new market niche expected to grow steadily in coming years.

OneLayer assigns each IoT device an identity that follows it over Wi-Fi and cellular network connections.  Security policy is then enforced based on the device identity. The platform can secure either private 5G or LTE networks, and it sits in a cloud-based architecture.

Most IoT security platforms for IP networks filter traffic, identify devices based on their address in the network access control (NAC), and then work with the NAC to enforce policies, OneLayer co-founder Dave Mor said. "[But] the cellular network works differently."

Most network managers are unfamiliar with cellular networks, so they need a platform like OneLayer's that abstracts the complexity of IoT security, Mor said.

Instead of using IP and NAC protocols, OneLayer integrates existing security tools with its authorization, authentication and accounting software and extends their capabilities to the cellular domain. OneLayer describes the result as a simple, LAN-like way to control private 5G networks.

Specific OneLayer security offerings include anomaly detection, network segmentation, microsegmentation, and visibility services like deep packet inspection. OneLayer is developing endpoint detection and response and zero-trust authentication for a future release.

OneLayer focuses on the manufacturing and healthcare markets today but plans to expand to all IoT use cases as the company grows.

The private cellular market is increasing at a healthy rate. IDC predicts that the $1.8 billion global demand will grow to $8.2 billion by 2026, a compound annual growth rate of 36%. Security will need to be a core component of any private cellular deployment, IDC analyst Brandon Butler said.

"Security is such an important, critical factor for any technology buying decision," Butler said. "I think there's going to be an increased focus on security tools specifically for private networking into the future."

OneLayer faces competition from Fortinet, which offers the FortiGate and FortiWeb platforms to help secure, control and visualize private 5G networks. But private cellular network security is a market that still has a lot of headroom.

"We're in the early days of being able to build out some management tools that can spread across both cellular and Wi-Fi networks today," Butler said. "I think in the coming years, that'll be an area where we're going to see a lot more advancements, in terms of capabilities that can stretch across both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, across cellular and Wi-Fi."

In addition to its launch from stealth this week, OneLayer announced $8.2 million in seed funding, led by Grove Ventures and Viola Ventures. OneLayer will use the money to build its product, deploy internationally and collaborate with other tech companies to create a private LTE and 5G cyber-risk assessment and validation lab.

Madelaine Millar is a news writer covering network technology at TechTarget. She has previously written about science and technology for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and the Khoury College of Computer Science, as well as covering community news for Boston Globe Media.

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