During the pandemic, we probably all noticed how addicted we really are to technology. This sector was important before March 2020, but has now become more relevant than ever. It's no secret that, either out of necessity or to distract us from the situation, we have ordered various devices in the last year, contributing to a market so strongly developed.
Given this growing digitalization, we cannot overlook OT (Operation Technology) platforms and especially IoT (Internet of Things). What exactly do such services mean? Some concrete examples of their use appear in electricity networks, in water purity testing, in ATMs, hospital diagnostic and monitoring systems, respectively in any platform that uses the Internet to start, turn off or control a device, as in the case of thermostats, air conditioning, lights, echo devices, such as Alexa, or AI shopping for you. But, as Timothy Snow, Technical Solutions Architect for Cisco, pointed out in an interview, one of the most common risks in these platforms is neglecting security measures.
ENERSEC enters the scene, a Romanian startup focused on cybersecurity, which crossed the InnovX BCR threshold in 2020 and brought real results following the acceleration program. The company was founded in 2013 by Andrei Hohan and Bogdan Matache, who were later joined by Răzvan Codreanu, the three having over 20 years of experience in the corporate environment, in the field of tech and cyber security.
ENERSEC focuses on protection services for OT and especially IoT platforms together with compliance & regulation services for customers in Europe. Their impact on the market has so far been the most significant rather outside Romania, in Western Europe, in countries such as Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg. Their initiative has grown, and now the team is working to develop a Security Operation Center to protect users who use both IT and IoT equipment, whether at home or at work. These services are especially relevant in the current context of digital risks, given that for many people the job has moved to their own home. All it takes is a device with an internet connection and poor security for an attacker to take control of several devices in the house, steal personal data or invade the private space of the individual.
Protecting data and privacy has rightly begun to receive more attention in recent years. Although compromising personal data is a problem for each of us, endangering the data of the company or a customer is certainly a breach of confidentiality, and this entails legal sanctions and also damages the company's reputation and relationships.
Thus, the initiative of the Security Operation Center is to provide accessible services to both individuals in their own home and small businesses, which would not normally afford, especially in the beginning, to pay substantial amounts. In the Center where the team works, according to Răzvan, the end user pays a monthly subscription to be notified whenever his security in the virtual environment is endangered, using a software component that is installed on the router. Following this warning, the user can choose from the ENERSEC platform a security engineer to help him in the situation he faces, depending on the price, rating, skills of the engineer and the type of device at risk. The platform brings together unlimited global resources, engineers from around the world, who have been tested and validated before by the ENERSEC team.
The company joined the business accelerator when it was decided to make the transition from selling services to developing a concrete product. In this sense, Răzvan is “convinced that you need a support and structure group in absolutely everything you want to do, and the InnovX BCR program reached all the points where we were looking for improvement. [...] The program also helped us decide what we should launch and focus our efforts in that direction. ”
Indeed, before the program, the ENERSEC team wanted to invest its efforts towards the Industrial type IoT, which would have targeted the enterprise environment, where there is already strong competition. The accelerator helped them find a clear direction, towards another target audience, where the competition should be modest, thus reaching the aforementioned initiative for individuals and SMBs.
InnovX BCR is proud of the results of the ENERSEC team, as it won numerous awards in 2020, including TechCrunch Disrupt (which had a live presentation in September last year, moderated by Jeff Taylor), the Microsoft award - Coolest Startup in the House - and the UiPath award for Best Scalable Startup at InnovX BCR Demo Day. At the end of last year, they also won as clients the company ENISA (European Union Agency for Cyber Security), with which they currently have three contracts. You can find them right in their 2020 report in the “Acknowledgments” section, where the ENERSEC team appears with thanks for the analyzes performed and for the open-source materials purchased. It should be noted that ENERSEC is the only company in Romania - and among the few in the world - with references in the security of 5G networks. In 2021, however, the team does not let itself be outdone, coming with a presentation for onboarding and drone security at SelectUSA, a conference organized by the US International Trade Administration.
Currently, the team is working hard to launch the funding campaign and develop further. As before, we are preparing to be pleasantly surprised by their results.