Titan IC sets sail to secure the world’s major cloud providers

24 Jul 2017

The Titan IC team. Image: TechWatch

Emily McDaid talks to Belfast company Titan IC about their unique and speedy infosec solution.

Titan IC is a Catalyst Inc-based cybersecurity technology company on a growth track.

Titan IC has developed a high-speed processor for security analytics acceleration and content inspection. It implements regular expression (RegEx) rule sets, to search for complex pattern matching on high-speed networks running at speeds up to 100Gbps.

Future Human

The company’s CEO confirmed that the technology is being evaluated by a number of well-recognised government security agencies. The technology is capable of running in parallel on multiple hardware engines and can be configured for a number of cybersecurity applications, including NGFW (next-generation firewall), IDS (intrusion detection systems) and DPI (deep packet inspection).

We’re on the bleeding edge of content inspection within the security market’

Beyond government agencies, Titan IC’s customers include “key tier-one cybersecurity companies”, according to CEO Noel McKenna, who joined the firm 15 months ago to expand the business. The company was originally founded in 2007, and raised £1.2m in 2016 from QUBIS, Clarendon and a number of other private investors.

McKenna explained: “Our technology analyses all the data on a high-speed network for viruses, malware or data-loss prevention. It can search for particular patterns such as phone numbers, social security numbers, email addresses, names, etc, and do this at speeds of up to 100Gbps.”

He continued, “There are three major cloud operators: Microsoft Azure, Google and Amazon Web Services. Our technology is currently available on AWS, and we have the potential to help all three.”

Noel McKenna, CEO, Titan IC

Noel McKenna, CEO, Titan IC. Image: TechWatch

McKenna said: “Any content rule can be created and we analyse the traffic with speed in mind. We’re on the bleeding edge of content inspection within the security market.”

A major implementation of Titan IC’s technology is in data-loss prevention, stopping any critical content from leaving the building, including account numbers or customer names. “We are like a mega-fast inspection engine on the pipe – picture a water filter – and you can customise it to filter out whatever you need.”

McKenna said the technology is attractive to many tier-one players, and the company expects to be able to license the technology to many of them. “Acquisition down the line is also a possibility for us,” he said.

With a team that’s currently 19-strong, many of whom are engineering PhDs, McKenna indicates they may need to open a US office but it would focus on sales and marketing, with the development team staying in Belfast.

‘We are like a mega-fast inspection engine on the pipe’

With cybersecurity seeming very cloak-and-dagger, I ask McKenna if privacy is a hindrance in his field.

“Complacency is. People want to protect their networks but the biggest problem is throughput. Current network security systems are not keeping up with the pace of growth of traffic and demands on the system. There are exponentially increasing volumes of traffic working through any system, and it is difficult to stay ahead of sophisticated modern cyberattacks. Every device being connected, no matter how small (in other words, the internet of things), creates data leaks and vulnerabilities and compounds this problem.”

Companies tend to use outsourcing and cloud-based solutions to help them deal with the vast demands of monitoring traffic, and Titan IC technology lends itself exactly to this market. By adding the Titan IC technology to their solution, network engineers can increase monitoring capabilities dramatically.

According to McKenna, Titan IC’s USP is being “the only provider on the market supplying FPGA-based hardware acceleration to process RegEx in a highly parallel environment”.

By Emily McDaid, editor, TechWatch

A version of this article originally appeared on TechWatch

TechWatch by Catalyst covered tech developments in Northern Ireland