Napera Networks Evolves, Moves Into Purely Cloud-Based IT Security

Startups almost never end up doing what they started out doing. The key is, can they adjust to the market and find enough paying customers before they run out of money? Here’s an interesting case study in the making: Napera Networks.

The computer-network security startup, based in Mercer Island, WA—are there any other startups there?—is announcing a new product direction and strategy today. Napera is rolling out network management software that is based entirely in the Internet “cloud,” and will be sold to small-to-medium-sized businesses through a software-as-a-service model. The software, called PC Security Informer, helps IT administrators efficiently manage the security of employees’ computers—dealing proactively with things like anti-virus updates, spyware removal, and firewall breaches.

It sounds pretty straightforward, but the key opportunity is that most smaller companies (with a couple hundred employees or fewer) don’t want to spend a lot of money on complex security systems from Microsoft, Cisco, or Computer Associates (CA), for example. Napera says it offers an easier and cheaper solution to the basic problem of businesses’ machines being insecure.

“We’ve wrapped it in a very Web 2.0-like wrapper,” says Todd Hooper, the CEO and co-founder of Napera. “If you can use Facebook, you can use our apps.”

Hooper, an expert in network security, co-founded Napera in late 2006. Before that, he had co-founded Momentum Pty, an Internet security consultancy in Australia, and audio software firm Trillium Lane Labs, and had been vice president of business development at Seattle-based WatchGuard Technologies.

What’s interesting is not necessarily whether Napera’s technology is really better than that of its competitors, but that the company has found a way to evolve from a … Next Page »

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