It is great to see new companies entering the industry and after covering the Innovation Sandbox at RSA Conference earlier this year, I was very interested to see Infosecurity Europe follow suit with a session 'UK's Most Innovative Small Cyber Security Company of the Year: Competition Final'.
The companies were initially picked from 15 who presented to a panel of judges earlier in the year, filtering the best 11 who are appearing as exhibitors in the Cyber Innovation Zone at Infosecurity Europe. The top four British start-ups were given the opportunity to present on the keynote stage, and on Wednesday afternoon, Intruder, Exonar, DeviceAuthority and Cryptosoft took to the stage.
Facing them were chair Dr Alison Vincent, CTO of Cisco for UK and Ireland, and judges David Cass from IBM, Warwick Hill from Microsoft, Daniel Freeman from C5 Capital and Jonathan Care from Gartner. The companies were judged on innovation, differentiation, quality of pitch and ability to scale.
First up, Terry Pudwell of Assuria talked about SMEs using technology, and bringing defence-grade managed services to them. He explained that it is not about pure technology, but more about affordable cyber defenses that can be built quickly and deliver results at a lower cost than the cost of hiring a person. Among its users is the Japanese security operations center which is built on its technology.
The judges questioned him on the highly scalable SOC management platform, which allows scalability, and he claimed that a deployment can be done in days. What is interesting is the scalability capability, as this is built for the SOC and used by a national SOC, but it is intended for the smaller scale user. I thought that this was an interesting proposition, but being dependent on a managed service would perhaps hamper its chances of winning.
Next up was Remco Postma from DeviceAuthority. He talks about the need to secure IoT, and with a PKI option, it offers “dynamic key capabilities to tie the certificate to the device and put a static certificate in”. Offering an example of a car, which could have a lifespan of 15 years, he said that dynamic key capabilities would be of huge benefit as its technology can scale aggressively.
He confirmed to the judges that keys are encouraged to be controlled by the user, and as PKI is hard to scale to a large volume, this is a way to make the IoT easier to manage. IoT remains a key area and encryption also, can this be a secure way forward for IoT? I thought this was an interesting offering.
Third up was Adrian Barrett, founder and CEO of Exonar. The offering is for a powerful search capability to find sensitive information by discovering and asking questions of where documents and data are. “We can automatically detect how a document can be classified so it looks similar and used in a post-breach analysis environment to enable organizations to act on it and be more productive for users.”
So this is a search system, which follows what others have done and claims to be different from data loss prevention, but one of the judges does question on how much companies will not want them scanning documents. The use of the cloud will also let this scale.
Last up was Chris Wallis, co-founder and CEO of Intruder. Intruder offer a platform for SMEs to fix vulnerabilities in their systems, with an always-on offering which offers proactive notifications “as SMEs need usability innovation, not technical innovation”. It can also notify via a mobile app on current issues. The concept here is around finding and fixing vulnerabilities, and I have a good feeling that this company, formed by ethical hackers, will go far in the industry with an offering to solve this bugging issue.
With the presentations done and judges deliberating, we were treated to a presentation by Cylon. After this the judges return, and named DeviceAuthority the winner of ‘UK’s Most Innovative Small Cyber Security Company of the Year’.
Congratulations to them, and we hope to hear plenty about them and the other finalists and participants in the future.