With many thanks to CEO and Co-Founder of Traceable, Jyoti Bansal, Aviva Zacks of Safety Detectives learned all about this serial entrepreneur and silicon valley technology visionary.
Safety Detectives: What motivated you to start Traceable?
Jyoti Bansal: The genesis for Traceable AI started about 6 to 7 years ago, while working at AppDynamics, my prior startup.
When I started to talk to our customers, they were asking about ways we could use the existing instrumentation to secure the application. So it really started me thinking about ways to use instrumentation to secure an application. The more I talked to customers, the more it seemed there was a market need for a security solution to inherently protect the application from within.
My vision for Traceable AI is it will be the ultimate platform for capturing an application activity that includes all request and response data. Once you have the actual data responses you can understand how the application behaves and more importantly how users interact with that application. The Traceable AI platform uses unsupervised machine learning to detect and understand malicious behavior as it starts happening. The platform can do this because it knows what is the normal behavior (baseline) across the entire application.
SD: What do you love about cybersecurity?
JB: I like to solve big engineering problems. Cybersecurity today has a lot of challenges stemming from the way applications have been written and how they are deployed increasingly faster while introducing vulnerabilities that can be quickly exploited by cybercriminals. The only way to solve this problem is to use data to help monitor the security of applications and to block attacks before they exploit and exfiltrate sensitive data.
We began Traceable AI with the mission of “Protect[ing] every line of code in the world” and it’s a very ambitious mission. We really need to think big because it’s a very big engineering problem. If I were to fast-forward 10 years from now, the whole world will be running on software; everything we do will be done through interconnected software systems. So our mission is to be able to secure every line of code running, placing a safety net around it. Traceable AI can watch how the code is used and learn what the normal developer intent is for that code. If suddenly an attacker, hacker or malicious person is trying to use the code in an unintended way, we can stop it.
SD: What is the flagship service or product your company offers?
JB: Traceable AI is the only application security monitoring platform combining the power of end-to-end distributed tracing and advanced context-based behavioral analytics to deliver modern API security to cloud-native and API-based applications.
How it works is that Traceable AI analyzes both metrics and data, capturing API relationships in terms of data flowing into and out of all APIs, which enables its AI system to detect normal application behavior from abnormal activity. We provide 360-degree microservice and API visibility through the continuous discovery of transactions, surfacing sensitive data flows, risky APIs, and API dependencies based on call sequencing and API specification reverse engineering. We use that deep contextual application knowledge to provide protection against web application attacks, API-based attacks, and advanced business logic attacks, using an AI-first approach to drastically reduce false positives and eliminate the need for constant rule and signature maintenance. Lastly, we provide security analytics through an explorable data lake of application transaction data, which enables deep forensic insights, threat hunting, and simplifies compliance.
SD: What do your customers find unique about your company?
JB: Unlike other API security solutions on the market, our customers have found Traceable AI’s approach is focused on the end-to-end analysis of their applications. We collect data telemetry from the user, application front-end, internal micro-services, and back-end servers. This allows us to provide a complete picture of how a customer’s application works, enabling us to provide comprehensive application and API security that follows the changes made within the application, so our security is always up-to-date. This lays the foundation to protect against web application, API, and business logic attacks.
In addition, since we provide a comprehensive end-to-end solution, we are able to track data as it is accessed from the user, enabling us to track sensitive data flows for our customers, identifying where sensitive data is being handled, and surfacing malicious activity which might signal data exfiltration.
SD: What are the worst cyberthreats today?
JB: The most damaging cyberthreats are those targeting and exploiting unknown API vulnerabilities or business flaws embedded within applications. One of the major drivers for application threats is faster feature delivery for applications, which can introduce unknown vulnerabilities having no known CVEs or security signatures that block exploitation. It can enable a clever cybercriminal to bypass existing applications, systems, and network security and enable them to directly reach into the application and steal sensitive data such as PII and PHI. This is a problem that is only going to increase as applications become more complex and more organizations deploy applications in the cloud.
SD: How will cybersecurity change forever now that we are living through a pandemic?
JB: The pandemic has forced people to isolate themselves at home, whether to work or for personal reasons. This has reoriented how people work or live on a daily basis by relying on apps in order to be physically safe. Employees are working remotely from home through collaboration software and cloud-based enterprise applications. But this has also meant that mundane personal activities such as a physical doctor visit or going to a bank have gone virtual. People are increasingly relying on virtual doctor visits for diagnosis or banking apps to obtain a mortgage loan in order to be physically safe.
What this has meant is that in order for these activities to happen you need API-driven applications to power these connections. However, as these applications continue to serve as the engine for the new virtual world, they also expose a new attack surface that is very wide and very hard to protect. Zero-trust application security adoption is now more important than ever in order to ensure that every API connection into an application is authenticated and authorized but also ensuring that user activities are monitored to ensure they are safe. Malicious actors looking to exploit an API-driven application can be immediately surfaced and blocked, preventing any further interaction with an application. This ensures that normal users are able to use these apps safely and more importantly that their sensitive data is secure.