At Norwest, one of our key investment areas has been security and our portfolio includes security leaders such as FireEye, MobileIron, Exabeam, Shape Security, Fireglass, Bitglass, Bracket Computing, Dtex Systems, Palerra, Pertino, Seculert, TrustID, Morta Security (acquired by Palo Alto Networks), and 41st Parameter (acquired by Experian).

With more than 20 years of security investing under our belts, we’ve seen it all (so far). We recognize that advancements in cloud/SaaS technologies combined with increased use of mobile devices and the continued influx of sophisticated cyber security attacks will only create more opportunities for startups and legacy companies pursuing security solutions. While this is great for innovation, the crowding of the market can be a huge challenge for aspiring entrepreneurs and investors alike.

Experts say that searching for the cause of a security threat can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. The same could be said for finding the next hot security startup.

This was precisely the focus of a panel that Norwest’s Matthew Howard was a part of earlier this month at the Structure Data conference in San Francisco. Joined by Steve Bowsher of In-Q-Tel and Dharmesh Thakker of Battery Ventures, the panel was moderated by Tom Krazit from Structure Events.

The experienced group of investors shared their thoughts on how to separate promising technologies from wishful thinking, and also talked at length about data analytics and the role of machine learning and artificial intelligence in today’s security sector.

If you’re interested in hearing more, please see the video of the full 20-minute panel below (courtesy of Structure Events).

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