ForeScout Technologies, an US-Israeli cyber-security firm with a large R&D staff in Israel, announced Friday that it had raised $76 million in additional financing. The company now has a valuation of $1 billion, making it the latest tech “unicorn,” the term for a privately-held firm that makes it to the billon-dollar club. With the funding, said ForeScout, it has tripled its valuation over the past 18 months. Financing was led by Wellington Management Company LLP.

Why has the company been so successful? ForeScout is in the right place at the right time – developing technology to protect Internet of Things devices. “It took 25 years for the world to get to 5 billion connected devices, but with the explosion of the IoT we’ll see around 30 billion by 2020 — an entirely new approach to security is required,” said Michael DeCesare, ForeScout CEO and President.

That new approach comes in the form of ForeScout CounterACT, which is designed to automatically prevent connections from devices that don’t belong on a network, said DeCesare. The system also connects to the many software solutions, switches, appliances, and other components that companies use to protect themselves against hackers. “We regulate connections, and work with threat detection systems from companies like FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, Bromium, Damballa, CheckPoint, McAffee, and many others,” said DeCesare. “We gather information from their systems and then determine what level of access to give a connecting device, thus keeping problems off the network in the first place.”

With R&D based in central Tel Aviv, Silicon Valley-based ForeScout has become a world leader in network access control – preventing devices, from computers to phones to anything else with an Internet connection – from joining a network unless it has the right credentials. “When you go to a hotel and open up your laptop and phone, and automatically get a message that asks you to login before you have attempted to connect to anything, that’s our technology,” said DeCesare. “The strategy is to keep devices that are not accredited away from sensitive parts of the network. That is the first step in preventing a virus or malware attack from event taking place.”

The solution has proven very popular with businesses of all kinds – not just hotels – and as a result, ForeScout, which has been in business since 2000, has recently seen a huge growth in demand for its services. The solution has proven very popular with businesses of all kinds – not just hotels – and as a result, ForeScout, which has been in business since 2000, has recently seen a huge growth in demand for its services.

ForeScout has been doing this for over a decade, but lately the solution has become much more popular – and the reason for that, said DeCesare, is the imminent arrival of the Internet of Things. “So many devices are now connecting to networks, from TVs to cars to washing machines. It would be impossible to download and install anti-virus software for all of these things, much less keep that software up to date as hackers come up with more ingenious strategies. Our system is agentless, meaning that there is nothing to install, and this is a big selling point, because companies know they will be protected whether or not a user proactively tries to protect themselves,” said DeCesare.

“Device proliferation and IoT deployments are easy entrances for cyber criminals if not detected and protected,” DeCesare added. “With agentless visibility, intuitive automated controls and a commitment to integrating with leading security and IT management solutions, ForeScout is well-positioned to own the burgeoning IoT security market.”