Cloud computing has become ubiquitous for consumers and many businesses. However, many large enterprises are laggards in public cloud adoption due to regulatory, compliance, and security concerns around sensitive data.

NuCypher provides a data protection and encryption layer that allows enterprises to securely move storage and computation to the cloud. Cloud providers receive only encrypted data, while encryption keys always stay on-premise and can be instantly rotated at-will, greatly reducing the risk of a data breach and providing companies access to the scalability and elasticity of the cloud. NuCypher is starting with industries that deal with large amounts of sensitive data, like finance and healthcare, which are prone to the growing threat of cyber attacks.

“Financial institutions have a lot of sensitive information that they store in data lakes located in their own data centers,” says MacLane Wilkison, co-founder of NuCypher. “They are hesitant to bring this information to the cloud because they don’t want their cloud provider to have access to that data. That’s why large banks and other enterprises build their own data centers and insist on keeping their data on-premise.”

Housing all this data can be extremely expensive — JP Morgan spent more than $500 million to build its data center. Converting to cloud infrastructure would provide enterprises with 5 times the computational power for the same cost.

NuCypher is running in lab environments with several of the largest banks in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe.

Currently, NuCypher works with Hadoop and will soon will expand to other parts of the big data ecosystem, like Spark and Impala, as well as structured databases, like Oracle, DB2, and MySQL.

“NuCypher has built deep technology that for the first time allows Hadoop-based databases to store and query encrypted data while maintaining high performance,” says Jared Friedman, Partner at Y Combinator. “This technology will finally enable major big data users to migrate their datastores to the cloud.”

Two-thirds, or $67 billion, of IT infrastructure spend remains on-premise. By solving the security constraints, NuCypher is the company that will drive that market into the cloud.

MacLane Wilkison and Michael Egorov are the co-founders behind NuCypher. Before working on NuCypher, MacLane was an analyst in Morgan Stanley’s Media & Communications group and Michael was a software engineer at Linkedin and post-doc physicist working on ultracold quantum gases.