Dome9 launches as cloud security heats up

Dome9, which aims to create the equivalent of a firewall for public and private clouds, came out of stealth mode and launched its first product on Monday. The company, which was founded last year, is just one of several cloud security companies to crop up lately. The space is heating up, but it’s hard to distinguish the legitimate potential threats from the hype and fear over the unknown.

Dome9, which is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, offers Software-as-a-Service as well as an API that allows customers to let legitimate users access the ports for cloud-based servers. The software, when deployed as an agent, works on any number of public and private clouds, such as Amazon’s (s amzn), GoGrid’s, TerreMark’s (s vz) and others. The API, however, works only with Amazon’s EC2 service. Much like other cloud security solutions, such as those provided by CloudPassage, which launched earlier this year and raised $6.5 million led by Benchmark Capital, Dome9 routes requests for access through its own infrastructure.

This allows the service to work across a variety of infrastructure providers, which may become more important as enterprise customers and managed service providers try to link public cloud offerings to those their clients might have in-house. After all, what is the point of putting a firewall in the cloud if it isn’t as abstract and flexible as the cloud infrastructure itself? Otherwise it becomes a Maginot Line that hackers, disgruntled employees or others can route around.

Coming out of its beta, Dome9 now offers support for Linux machines, as well as Windows OSes, and it provides auditing capabilities so that administrators can see who is logging into cloud servers. Customers pay $20 per server for Dome9’s service, or they can have a personal account for free. Because it’s a SaaS offering, administering it can be done from a secure website, although I suppose access to your security weak points then becomes as secure as your Dome9 access.

Regardless, figuring out how to make IT security flexible to fit in the cloud as opposed to the traditional, perimeter-based mentality, is a problem that Dome9 won’t fight alone. Dome9 has raised an undisclosed amount from Opus Capital.