US-based Inernet security firm WhiteHat Security has raised a $31 million round of funding which will be used to grow its business overseas and increase its focus on small and medium-sized business customers.

The new investment was led by JMI Equity and it takes the Santa Clara company, which was founded in 2001 by former Yahoo information security officer Jeremiah Grossman, to a total of almost $50 million to date. Existing backer Investor Growth Capital (IGC) also took part in the round.

“This investment will enable WhiteHat to further that momentum by expanding into new global markets as well as broaden its market share with enterprise and SME [small and medium enterprise] customers,” a company announcement read.

The company provides security for websites, which is a topic that is fresh in the news after data and information belonging to the New York Times was accessed over a three-month period by what were thought to be state-backed hackers in China. The motivation for the sustained attacks is believed to have been an exposé that the newspaper ran in October 2012 on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s family finances.

WhiteHat specializes in protecting the online assets of enterprise customers, and it serves businesses across a range of verticals, including e-commerce, financial services, IT and healthcare.

The company claims that it is seeing record demand for its services, with new bookings in its recent fourth quarter up by 75 percent year-on-year. Though it has not provided financial figures, WhiteHat says it has a customer retention rate of 95 percent and it is keen to focus its sale and marketing efforts on new geographies.

“We have the resources and expertise to expand our market share globally with enterprise customers and within SME. [Our investors] JMI and IGC have experience working with a significant number of successful companies in the SaaS and security markets. We believe they will be valuable partners in our continued success,” said company CEO Stephanie Fohn.

In addition to settings its sights on growing internationally and increasing its share of small business enterprise customers, WhiteHat is also focused on mobile. The firm recently launched Sentintel Mobile, which brings its technology to apps, and Sentintel Source, which provides security from application-level inception.

With the Wall Street Journal and Twitter among other notable Web companies to have been hacked over the last week, and Symantec admitting that using anti-virus software alone is not adequate protection, Internet security is in the spotlight. That gives greater significance to the WhiteHat announcement.

Headline image via Ingrid Prats / Shutterstock