Edgescan: On the hunt for cyber crooks 24/7

With its novel approach to cyber crime, start-up edgescan is going from strength to strength, writes Trish Dromey.

Given that cyber criminals tend to work around the clock, Dublin security specialist Eoin Keary decided that the best way to defeat them was to use a system that’s also on duty 24/7.

Just two years after his start-up company, edgescan, launched on the market with a vulnerability assessment platform which detects weaknesses in websites and computer systems on an ongoing basis, it has global sales and a seven figure turnover.

“Over the last 12 months our revenues have increased by 420% — we are selling everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires and our clients include everything from small start-ups to large multinationals,” says Mr Keary.

Employing a staff of 25, edgescan is now talking to venture capitalists with a view to raising funding to continue R&D, increasing the pace of growth and doubling the staff size.

It began with a random idea discussed over a cup of coffee in 2012. A security specialist for 18 years running his own consultancy company, Mr Keary had his eureka moment while considering ways of combating the escalation of cyber crime.

“The idea was to create software and a platform which would perform continuous testing 24/7 looking for vulnerabilities. This was needed to mirror the behaviour of hackers.”

The traditional way of countering cyber crime was for companies to get security specialists to perform analyses on a regular basis but Mr Keary came to the conclusion that in the face of every more sophisticated threats, this method no longer provided adequate protection.

He says that edgescan was the first company in Ireland and one of the first in Europe to develop a platform to provide continuous assessment coupled with expert human validation and machine learning.

Funding the project from consultancy revenue, he hired a software developer in 2012 and spent 18 months working on developing edgescan, “a vulnerability management and penetration testing system” sold on a SaaS (software as a service) basis. Releasing the first version in 2014, the company began selling to existing customers and to small start-ups.

“In 2015 we got employment grants from Enterprise Ireland which allowed us recruit a team of software and security people.”

By then he says the rate of growth began to snowball. “Our first major customer was Icon Clinical — we started with one plant but our system is now being used by Icon across their global estate of 20 and 25 countries. We sell to a significant number of legal companies in both Ireland and the UK,” says Mr Keary.

Other Irish clients include PaddyPower-Betfair, RTÉ and some of the major banks. The company estimates that it is now providing managed security services to over 37,000 systems across the globe.

This year it was listed as a “notable vendor” by Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research company. This recognition has allowed the company to engage with much larger companies than the start-ups it originally sold to.

“Now we are scaling up to sell to entire organisations and the deals are getting larger. We sell to banks, finance companies and technology companies and North America, where we sell to several companies with global operations, is our largest market.”

Having started out in a small facility in Meath, edgescan moved earlier this year to a 6,500 sq ft premises at Northwest Business Park in Ballycoolin where it has space for further expansion.

Mr Keary says that securing venture capital funding will now give the company an adrenaline shot. “We want to continue with R&D, to expand the staff to 55 and to establish a bricks and mortar presence in both North America and the UK.”

Estimating that only 20% of all companies have now switched to using a continuous assessment model to combat cyber crime, he anticipates strong growth for edgescan in the future.

Company:

edgescan

Location:

Ballycoolin, Co Dublin

CTO:

Eoin Keary

Set up:

2012

Product:

vulnerability management software

Exports:

75%


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