Being hacked is something all companies dread, yet many do nothing to avoid it because they see cybersecurity as a complex and potentially costly problem to solve. Donal Kerr and Stefan Uygur, co-founders of cybersecurity start-up 4Securitas, recognised that the market was crying out for an easy solution and put their heads together to create ACSIA (Automated Cybersecurity Interactive Application), which greatly simplifies cyber protection without breaking the bank.
ACSIA is an automated interactive defence system that monitors and captures intrusion attempts by both automated hacking tools and manual techniques. If an intrusion is detected, the system creates an alert and generates an incident report in real time.
“It provides a full map of any malicious user activity including the geolocation and key details,” Uygur says. “ACSIA works intuitively, which is in contrast to many enterprise products that take days to set up, are difficult to use, create work and are not based on security fundamentals. ACSIA’s big advantage is that it is a one-click installation and people don’t have to be techies to use it.”
4Securitas was set up in March last year and employs six people. Development costs to date have been in the order of €100,000 and funding has come from founder equity and Enterprise Ireland’s competitive-start fund. The company is now looking to raise in the region of €800,000 to accelerate the product’s roll-out.
Uygur says that well over 90 per cent of intrusion alerts generated by current systems on the market are false and this creates a huge workload for those who have to check them out. “With ACSIA false positive alerts are almost zero and this saves organisations time and money and allows their security teams to focus on higher-value work. ACSIA delivers clear alerts and monitoring is via a simple dashboard. The security team can respond to an alert – permitting access or shutting down the connection – all guided by the software in real time and this is a significant improvement over standard enterprise software.”
Kerr comes from a business/legal background and worked extensively in financial services before moving to Twitter. Uygur is an IT security and infrastructure expert with many years’ experience in setting up data centres and back-end operations.
4Securitas is a recent graduate of the New Frontiers programme at the Synergy innovation centre at Tallaght IT and is now based at Bank of Ireland’s StartLab.
ACSIA was launched earlier this month and its first customer is an Irish internet company with two million users. However, the company’s focus is global and Kerr says its product will be of particular interest to companies in heavily regulated industries such as banking and to those subject to the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation which come into force in May. ACSIA is aimed at both SMEs and large companies and SMEs will pay about €200 a month for the service while the annual fee for bigger concerns will be about €9,000.
“Our pricing is highly competitive – existing systems can cost up to €100,000 – and while there are products on the market that sound similar to ACSIA, none has its level of functionality,” Kerr says.
“ACSIA is location agnostic and can run either as a hosted or deployed system on any hardware, including cloud platforms. It also differs from the main competition in that it is reporting attempts at compromising accounts and uses of hacking tools. Other software available analyses historical logs and informs you after the incident takes place. Some very new products are attempting to do what we do but they rely on users already being embedded on their proprietary platforms. We like to think of ACSIA as a Stripe-style product for security – the magic is unseen, but the customer benefits are clear.”