Cybersecurity – An interesting ode of Challenges and Opportunities for Startups

On a perfect sunny afternoon on June 27, 2017, while travelling on a train from Schiphol Airport to Dan Hague, I was on a conference call with my Maersk team. Suddenly, someone said their screen went blank, and others faced the same issue. As a tech leader
with a cybersecurity background, I knew it was severe. I hurriedly contacted IBM, telling them to shut down some data servers. We were under attack by Not Petya, a ruthless ransomware. More than 750 ships were stuck at sea without data or direction. Chaos
gripped our 75 terminals worldwide. It was a nightmare, and my heart was racing. My phone kept ringing with urgent calls from London. I assured them I was on my way back to face the crisis. The damage was enormous, with Maersk facing over $300 million in losses.
But we wouldn’t give up. We’d fight back, rebuild, and come out stronger. We were ready to turn the tide in this defining moment. It was one of the best first-hand experiences with remediating a large organisation from ransomware and building up one of the
most secured, reliable, available platforms post not-Petya at Maersk.

The rapid advancement of technology has brought immense convenience and innovation to our lives, but it has also exposed us to unprecedented cyber threats. The demand for robust cybersecurity solutions has never increased as the digital landscape becomes
increasingly complex and interconnected. Enter cybersecurity Startups, small and agile companies that aim to tackle the evolving challenges cybercriminals pose. While these startups present promising opportunities for addressing cybersecurity risks, they also
face several hurdles on their journey to success. This article delves into cybersecurity startups’ challenges and opportunities in their quest to secure the digital world.

Startups in the cybersecurity domain are venturing into unexplored territories and optimising their operations. It’s impressive to witness the focused efforts of some startups from IIT Kanpur.

One of the startups stands out for combating complex mobile app cyber threats using the power of AI and behavioural biometrics. Their solution addresses various threats, including account takeovers, mobile emulators, malware, VPN and proxy use, social engineering,
device theft, and synthetic identity tracking.

Another noteworthy initiative involves tokenising SME assets and providing software and financial services to enhance operational efficiency and transparency. Their scalable protocol enables SMEs to monetise assets while offering low-risk liquidity options.

Not stopping there, startups offer optimised solutions for IoT devices with limited resources, like RFID tags and smart cards. These solutions efficiently authenticate and encrypt sensitive data, catering to devices with low memory, processing power, network
bandwidth, and energy.

Among these startups is one specialising in digital forensics and cyber technology, offering comprehensive services ranging from setting up advanced labs to conducting thorough investigations and specialised training. Their innovative approach assists organisations
in handling cyber threats and constructing secure infrastructures.

Furthermore, startups are delving into IT risk assessments and digital security services, combining manual and automated vulnerability assessments. Their thorough evaluations help organisations monitor and enhance risk management practices.

In addition, a notable SIEM (Software Incident and Event Management) tool has been tailored specifically for SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses). This user-friendly, automated tool with rich graphical interfaces features a security data lake for analytics.
The company leverages deep learning models, aligning with MITRE ATT&CK, NIST, and cyber kill chain frameworks. This results in real-time visibility, secure data retention, and improved incident response for regulatory compliance, strengthening overall security

Moreover, startups are tackling fraud with patented technologies like the One-Touch authenticator. This technology helps banks and enterprises authenticate genuine users, preventing fraudulent logins and payments by enabling only verified users’ login forms,
payment forms, ATM, and POS machines.

We are truly amazed by the excellent work accomplished by these startups, with support from IIT Kanpur’s startup ecosystem. However, despite their remarkable achievements, startups face a variety of challenges:

Funding and Resource Constraints:

Securing adequate funding and resources is one of the most significant challenges for cybersecurity startups. Building cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions demands substantial research, development, and talent acquisition investments. However, many startups
struggle to attract the necessary funding, particularly early. They face competition from established cybersecurity firms and may find it challenging to convince investors of the potential value of their innovative ideas.

Opportunity: Despite the funding challenges, cybersecurity remains a priority for organisations and governments. Startups can capitalise on this growing demand and explore various funding options, such as venture capital, government grants,
and strategic partnerships.

Rapidly Evolving Threat Landscape:

Cyber threats are continuously evolving, becoming more sophisticated and elusive. Startups must constantly adapt to new attack vectors and emerging risks to offer relevant and effective cybersecurity solutions. Failing to keep pace with the threat landscape
could leave their clients vulnerable and diminish their market credibility.

Opportunity: The rapidly evolving threat landscape allows startups to develop niche solutions tailored to cybersecurity challenges. Specialised products and services that address unique threats can set them apart from larger, more generalised

Talent Acquisition and Retention:

Attracting and retaining top cybersecurity talent is an ongoing challenge for startups. The cybersecurity industry is highly competitive, with larger companies often offering more substantial salary packages and benefits. This makes it difficult for startups
to assemble a team of experts with the necessary skills and experience.

Opportunity: Cybersecurity startups can offer unique incentives, such as a more flexible and innovative work environment, opportunities for professional growth, and a chance to work on cutting-edge technologies. Cultivating a solid company
culture promoting collaboration and creativity can attract top talent.

Customer Trust and Credibility:

Establishing trust and credibility in cybersecurity can be arduous, especially for startups without a proven track record. Clients may be hesitant to rely on the services of a relatively unknown company with limited experience, especially when protecting
critical digital assets.

Opportunity: Startups can gain trust by showcasing the effectiveness of their solutions through pilot projects, case studies, and customer testimonials. Building partnerships with established organisations or obtaining certifications from
recognised industry bodies can also enhance their credibility.

Compliance and Regulatory Challenges:

Complying with ever-changing cybersecurity regulations and standards can be daunting for startups. Non-compliance can lead to significant legal and reputational consequences, making it essential for startups to stay up-to-date with the latest requirements.

Opportunity: Startups can turn compliance challenges into opportunities by developing solutions that help businesses navigate complex regulatory landscapes. Providing tools and services that facilitate compliance can set them apart and attract
organisations seeking to meet their regulatory obligations efficiently.

Both challenges and opportunities mark the world of cybersecurity startups. While funding constraints, the rapidly evolving threat landscape, talent acquisition difficulties, and building trust present hurdles, these startups are not deterred. They exhibit
remarkable innovation and determination, addressing specific cybersecurity challenges with cutting-edge solutions. Their work combating mobile app threats, tokenising SME assets, optimising solutions for IoT devices, and providing digital forensics services
is commendable. Additionally, their efforts in IT risk assessments, SIEM tools for SMBs, and fraud prevention technologies demonstrate the vast potential for growth in the cybersecurity domain. Despite the challenges, cybersecurity startups can capitalise
on the high demand for secure solutions by exploring various funding options, adapting to evolving threats, and offering unique incentives to attract top talent. By establishing trust through a compelling showcase of their solutions and navigating complex
regulatory landscapes. These startups can pave the way for a safer digital world. The support from IIT Kanpur’s startup ecosystem has been instrumental in nurturing their success. As these startups continue their journey to safeguard our digital landscape,
we look forward to witnessing further innovation and collaboration in the ever-evolving field of cybersecurity.


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This post originally appeared on TechToday.