Cybersecurity

For Cybersecurity Companies, It's Time to Shine

For Cybersecurity Companies, It's Time to Shine
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This story appears in the December 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

This article is part of our Trends 2016 coverage.

RAM scraping, phishing, keylogging -- you may not be familiar with all the schemes hackers use to invade personal data and business systems, but chances are you have been affected in some way by cybercrime -- or soon will be. Security firm Gemalto estimates that data breaches increased 49 percent in 2014, and its stats for the first half of 2015 reveal a 10 percent uptick.

Following high-profile meltdowns at Sony, Target, eBay, Ashley Madison, Anthem and even the U.S. government, businesses large and small are having a come-to-Jesus moment about cybersecurity. And there are plenty of well-backed companies hoping to help navigate the maze of threats; cybersecurity startups have seen $4.6 billion in investment in the last two years alone, according to CB Insights.

“The media has done a great job of scaring people, hackers have done a good job at hacking and there has been a good amount of activism to help people understand the risks,” says Jean Yang, co-founder of Cybersecurity Factory, an incubator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Customers are demanding more security and privacy. ”

Darren Guccione and Craig Lurey saw potential in the advent of the iPhone. In 2009 they launched a free version of the Keeper app, which creates and encrypts random passwords, storing them in a “vault” where thieves can’t find them. It’s now a subscription service with 8.5 million users; an enterprise version of the software is due in the new year. “Our users have been early adopters up to this point,” Lurey says. “But companies are starting to realize how extremely vulnerable they are. If you have one person with one bad password, then you have the Target breach. They realize this kind of product is important.”

Also focusing on mobile is cloud company Lookout, which has more than $280 million in funding. Its system scans for malware and other threats, providing protection against risks introduced by the mobile devices in an enterprise’s network. “A lot of places don’t let employees conduct business on their phones, which really affects productivity,” says co-founder and CTO Kevin Mahaffey. “We won’t be satisfied until we allow every enterprise to use mobile devices safely. We, and everyone else, have a long way to go.”

One issue is lack of collaboration; rather than warning others about cyber attacks, companies try to hide breaches. Paul Kurtz is addressing this with TruStar Technology, a global anonymous cyber-incident-sharing platform for enterprises. “No one is immune,” he says. “Lots of boards of directors are getting anxious and realize they have to manage cybersecurity more effectively. There are dramatic consequences from failure.”

Edition: December 2016

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