Ottawa’s Trustifier securing a key market niche

Ahmed Masud had an unusual start in the cybersecurity industry.

By Lucy Screnci.

Shortly after he developed Trustifier KSE, a security solution that prevents data leaks within organizations, the CEO of Ottawa-based Trustifier received an unexpected phone call. A publishing house in Australia urgently wanted to buy his software and have it rolled out in less than a week.

The representative of the publishing company explained the firm needed to prevent excerpts from a highly sought-after manuscript from getting leaked to the public.

“They were basically the subject of phishing attacks,” Mr. Masud says. “A copywriter would receive a phone call and the person would say something like, ‘We’re calling from the London office. The attachment that you sent was too big – can you send it to my Hotmail account?’”

Mr. Masud was able to deploy the software in four days and three nights to a network of 350 computers.

“We ended up protecting a manuscript of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from getting leaked from inside the publishing house,” he says.

While protecting a hugely popular book from getting leaked was a unique assignment, Mr. Masud stresses that all companies should be vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity.

There’s a misconception that small enterprises won’t be the target of “crimeware” attacks such as phishing or ransomware, which entails hackers stealing information and only restoring it once they receive a ransom.

But according to a statement made by former U.S. Securities and Exchange commissioner Luis A. Aguilar in October 2015, 60 per cent of all targeted cyberattacks were aimed at small to medium-sized businesses. Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report said nearly 90 per cent of cyberattacks had financial or espionage motivations.

This is a main reason why Trustifier, whose earlier clients included federal defence agencies, began to serve the SMB market.

Rob Lewis, a business developer at Trustifier, says cybersecurity will soon become mandatory for all businesses. The problem is many small companies don’t have the money or the knowledge to secure their networks.

“There’s a misconception that IT knows security, but there are different functions,” says Mr. Lewis.

The Trustifier TUX AI platform is “designed to be comprehensive and for people without expertise,” he adds. “It’s like a driverless car – tell it your destination and it will do it.”

TUX AI was developed with mathematical modelling, making it uniquely flexible.

“If you told it to secure all your web servers, it wouldn’t matter how many there were,” Mr. Lewis says. “It would go off and protect them and maintain them from that point going forward – that is dynamic and continuous.”