Network security management software developer GuardedNet has broken through the venture funding wall that has been blocking deals in recent weeks, snagging $9 million in first-round financing.

Boston-based M/C Venture Partners led the round and was joined by Imlay Investments of Atlanta and Technical Consulting Services Limited, a previous investor.

“This financing will enable us to expand our footprint, enhance our existing customer relationships, grow market share and fulfill our vision of becoming the vendor of choice for security intelligence,” said Tom McNeight, who left Internet Security Systems in July to become president and chief executive of three-year-old GuardedNet.

“An investment from an experienced and respected venture firm like M/C in this tight funding environment is a testament to the strength of our security management solution and the incredibly talented people we have here at GuardedNet,” McNeight said in a statement.

First product available

GuardedNet will use the new money to expand its sales force, enhance its customer support and beef up research and development efforts.

The company launched flagship product, neuSecure, early this year to provide centralized security event management and improved operational efficiency of an enterprise’s security team. The software correlates log data files from disparate network devices, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, intrusion prevention systems, anti-virus software, computer systems and routers and automatically analyzes the data to uncover legitimate threats to the enterprise. It lets security teams prioritize investigations to focus on the mission-critical task of responding to the real threats.
Customers include communications giant Cox Communications, leading East Coast rail carrier Norfolk Southern and managed security services provider, NetSec.

As part of the funding round, GuardedNet will add M/C Venture Partners’ Russell Pyle and Neil Sheth to its board of directors.

“With GuardedNet, we saw a company that had bootstrapped its way to building a stable of satisfied customers, which is the most critical proof-point for future success,” Pyle said in a statement. “In addition, we saw a robust technology that solves the real business problems of security operation teams and provides a platform that will support an enterprise’s evolving security needs.”

GuardedNet’s round is the first venture funding in Georgia this month, after the state saw just three deals in October for about $28 million.