We sat down with Kate Larson, Operations Chief at WEBGAP, to talk about cybersecurity, cyberthreats, and what users can do about it.
Safety Detectives: Please share your company background, how you got started, and your mission.
WEBGAP: WEBGAP was formed in 2019 with a mission to unlock mass-market adoption of the browser isolation cybersecurity model. In the decade prior, our co-founders had been working with the US government on cybersecurity projects, specifically with the National Nuclear Security Administration at Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories. Our founders had spent a long time trying to physically isolate thousands of federal government employees from the risks of using the public internet, and this was back before we called what we do “browser isolation.” These were some of the earliest projects anywhere that attempted to isolate risky web browsing activity from secure government IT infrastructures and networks.
You see, your browser is an open window into your machine from the public internet and despite the best efforts of modern antivirus and firewalls, we can’t stop bad things climbing in through that window and infecting you. The browser isolation model solves this problem by isolating your browser and your risky browsing activity into the cloud and away from your computer. This was a huge problem for governments that suffer hundreds of thousands of cyberattacks daily, so they started to experiment with ways to isolate this web browsing risk away from them. These early projects represent the birth of the browser isolation space and the model took off like a rocket across the US government because it really worked.
These early attempts at browser isolation dramatically reduced the number of cybersecurity breaches across the NNSA and other agencies. The simple, yet technically complicated, model to physically isolate browsing activity away from your IT infrastructure and networks was a resounding success by almost any measure and this is why remote browser isolation represents the future of endpoint security, it puts an air-gap between your computer and the bad things on the internet which cannot jump through thin air to infect your machine, IT infrastructure or networks.
But there were serious systemic problems with the model that were apparent years ago and that are still holding back the adoption of remote browser isolation today, namely cost and scale. The technologies used to deliver the model mean that the model is expensive and hard to scale up to millions of simultaneous users without significant and sustained infrastructure investments.
Our competitors are still using technologies we abandoned years ago that make browser isolation expensive to deliver and scale, but this isn’t really a problem for them because they are focused on the enterprise segment of the market that has the most money to spend on cybersecurity. The sad fact is that they aren’t really worried about protecting the millions of individual or small business users out there; they just want to protect large organizations with deep pockets which means they are trying to solve a different set of problems than WEBGAP.
Here at WEBGAP our founders set out to unlock mass-market adoption and solve the problems of cost and scale, so we are trying to solve a different set of problems and I think that’s why we currently have the product edge over the rest of our competitors in the market.
SD: What is the main service your company offers?
WEBGAP: We provide our customers with affordable and scalable browser isolation technology and hosted remote browser solutions. Until WEBGAP came along, remote browser isolation solutions were only affordable to those with cybersecurity budgets large enough to afford them; they were beyond the reach of most small businesses who could really, really benefit from the protection remote browser isolation brings. Cyberthreats that attack you through your browser when you use the internet are still a massive problem for millions of individuals and small businesses out there, but it’s a problem that browser isolation has already solved. We want regular, everyday users to be able to protect themselves with browser isolation at an affordable price, so early on we tried to solve the problems of cost more than most in the market as we work towards that goal. Because of this, we offer the most affordable remote browsers in the market.
SD: What is something unique that helps you stay ahead of your competition?
WEBGAP: We had to invent a whole new technology stack, model, and architecture to solve the problems of cost and scale but we did it, and as a result, our platform needs up to 10x less infrastructure (servers) than our competitors and costs significantly less than they charge too, we charge $5 a user, but some of our competitors easily charge four or five times that amount per user.
That’s because we have better technology focused on the real problems of browser isolation, cost, and scale, while our competitors are still focused on solving the visible problem, isolating the browser. We use a different technology that we have patents pending for and our model is significantly more efficient and cost-effective at a very large scale (1M users+).
Pricing is really murky in our industry as vendors deliberately complicate their pricing to conceal the true cost of their offerings, it can be really hard for businesses to get a sense of what each remote browser isolation vendor charges and compare features. This is deliberate and is caused by vendors trying to line their pockets rather than deliver an affordable service, so we go the other way by clearly displaying our pricing and having one pricing model for all.
WEBGAP offers RBI to anyone. This means the single user, small business, or enterprise user. We make it incredibly easy to get affordable, effective, safe, and powerful RBI for our users. There are no downloads or plugins, we don’t require the purchase of some huge, ridiculous package, and we always take full advantage of the feedback our customers give us. We also protect the customer within the WEBGAP session by filtering out potentially malicious code (tracking code, adware code, malware code) so that our users are not only protected by physical isolation, but they’re experiencing a cleaner, safer browsing experience as well.
SD: What do you think are the worst cyberthreats today?
WEBGAP: Right now, it’s ransomware that we see plaguing small businesses the most because they are the least able to protect themselves, but we also see a huge problem with rapidly evolving cyberthreats ranging from viruses to any kind of malware, malvertising, and tracking code, which is a direct threat to internet user privacy. Most of these threats target users through the browser as they use the internet and we know everyone needs their browser, but we want you to protect yourself from the risks of using your browser.
Put it this way, you also wouldn’t use a car without a seat belt, test chemicals without protective eyewear, build a home without fire detectors, or run over sharp rocks without shoes. Remote browser isolation is basic protective safety gear for your computer protecting you against malware, ransomware, and trojans.