These are busy times for Ronan Murphy and Smarttech247.
Active not just as one of the major players in the increasingly important cyber-security sector as well as being a key player at next week’s FutureSec conference, his associated artificial intelligence firm, Getvisibility, has also been involved in recent major deals.
As a result of a global distribution arrangement with Arrow Electronics and a strategic partnership with Microsoft signed earlier this month, this security operation to Smarttech247 will soon see its dedicated software sold around the world.
Established two years ago, Getvisibility provides an AI and machine-learning platform to assist companies securely organise and protect their data from attack.
The product utilises deep learning AI technology for data classification and blockchain for data lineage, giving clients visibility and control over data as it is being created.
“Data is the new oil, but data can become a liability if people don’t know where it is or how to protect it,” he explains.
“This is a disruptive technology designed to fix problems for enterprise clients around the world allowing them visualise their data footprint where new and changing risks have become evident, thus allowing for proactive data management and security.”
Designed to process and classify unstructured information as it is being created with a unique level of confidence, a company will receive a complete registry of all files that contain Personal Identifiable Information necessary for GDPR.
The earliest customers to see the benefits of Getvisibility were the Department of Agriculture and FBD Insurance, a list that enlarged substantially when Mr Murphy travelled to the London-based Arrow Electronics, a global distributor of electronic and computer products.
Arrow subsequently recommended Getvisibility to two of its main clients, Microsoft and Insight, both of whom arranged partnerships with the Cork firm.
Projecting sales of €15m next year, the company head count is scheduled to triple to 45 within the next few months, but could rise significantly higher in 2020: “We will scale at a huge rate and should be well in excess of 45 employees in Cork, and even more.
“The deal has already seen us meeting with potential clients in the UK, Switzerland and Germany. These are huge operations, one of which, for example, has €37bn in revenue.
"The support of Arrow has been incredible and opened doors of major system integrators and software resellers for us at this stage that would have otherwise been very difficult.
“Companies like Insight are massive with clients everywhere, and give Getvisibility a direct route to a potentially enormous market.”
Smarttech247 is an award-winning cyber security organisation that provides a wide range of cybersecurity solutions, including cognitive security services using IBM Watson for Cybersecurity, SIEM, Compliance & Governance, and Penetration Testing.
“Smarttech247’s services are designed to enhance the efficacy of clients’ security infrastructure and deliver business-sensitive cyber security solutions that build and optimise protection, detection and remediation strategies,” he explains.
“Cybersecurity was not an easy industry to access when I started. It was back when cyber wasn’t mainstream and was viewed as a risky strategy.
The company won the 2019 IBM Beacon Award for Outstanding Security Solution, presented at the IBM PartnerWorld at Think conference in San Francisco earlier this year.
It is the first time an Irish company has ever received the honour, and recognised Smarttech247’s work in “driving business value by delivering world-class solutions through its certified Security Operations centres.”
The big change of commercial focus for Smarttech247 goes back to the day it went from being a 100% services company using other peoples’ technology and facilitating cyber-security services to identifying major problems in the industry and building their own solutions for very specific pain points.
“Using the analogy of a war, we are the guys in the trenches on the frontline, protecting the troops behind us,” he says.
“We see the good, the bad and the ugly of the industry in absolute clarity, which allowed us a very specific view to where the gaps were in technology or capability.
"Essentially, we decided to become a company that built stuff to fix problems we couldn’t buy, and that’s really what became the game changer for us.”
Every day, a succession of global brand names suffer cyber attacks from server farms across the globe whose aim is to breach security at some of the world’s biggest companies, and he cites recent attacks such as Ticketmaster’s 40,000 compromised users, Dixons Carphone’s admitted 10m customers, and TSB Bank’s similar violation.
“The aggressive nature of cyber-attacks is ramping up to the point at which we can confidently say that there will be an escalation in the high-profile data breaches in the coming months,” he believes.
Despite the beneficial presence of GDPR, Irish companies still need to initiate more employee training and best practice on security testing measures.
"We can no longer ignore the emails that tell us to change our password.”
At Futuresec in Cork next week, Smarttech and other key voices in the industry will analyse how the growing influence of technology is impacting on every aspect of our lives.
Much of the core conversation will focus on cybersecurity and the challenges currently growing at an exponential rate as cyber-criminals use more advanced tools to breach user privacy.
Over 7.5bn records were breached in 2018, and 2019 is expected see that figure rise to 12 bn.
Over the next five years some 146bn data records will be stolen.
“We have turned information technology into both a powerful tool and a formidable weapon,” says Ronan Murphy.
“New approaches are needed to manage an era defined by even more powerful inventions like artificial intelligence and data harvesting.
"There is an avalanche of personal data out there waiting to fall, and the pressing question is — what is holding it back?”