Jacksonville company launches cyber security solution for small businesses

(courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal)

Small-to-medium businesses have been “left in the cold” by the cybersecurity industry, according to OnDefend co-founder Chris Freedman. By launching CyberSURE, OnDefend has set out to give these businesses an affordable and simple solution.

Many assume hackers only target large companies, like Target and Home Depot, but small-to-medium businesses are the targets of 70 percent of all cyberattacks. They are low-hanging fruit for hackers, lacking the sophisticated defenses of larger corporations. An average attack costs a business $7 million, and 60 percent of businesses that are hacked go out of business within six months.

Yet, the cybersecurity industry has focused almost exclusively on large businesses. Jacksonville-based OnDefend primarily tests the defenses of large enterprises of large enterprises, an expensive offering that only works if the company already has a cybersecurity system in place.

In partnership with LBA Accouting, OnDefend set out to create a way for smaller businesses to better secure their networks and data. Their solution, CyberSURE, surveys the companies’ cyber procedures, grades them on a scale from 0 to 900, reports vulnerabilities and makes recommendations to improve security. If a company scores 800 or higher, it receives a certification showing it is safe to do business with, a certification that can lower the cost of cyber insurance.

“This market has been left in the cold,” said Freedman. “We tried to make a plug and play product that almost runs itself.”

He noted that the certification can be a differentiator, especially in the insurance and finance industries, which are most targeted by hackers. Health records are the most sought after prize for hackers, who can use them to file fraudulent claims. A single medical record can go for as much as $360 on the black market, Freedman said.

Retailers, hotels, restaurants and other businesses are still prime targets because of the credit card information they collect. Small businesses that keep their employees’ insurance information are also ideal targets.

The costs of an attack can be devastating. Denial of service attacks can shut down a business for days; ransomware can hold a business hostage for a hefty price; and the costs of notifying customers, replacing records and paying fines for HIPAA violations if medical information is lost all add up quickly.
But there is still a higher cost to cyberattacks, Freedman noted.”The biggest risk of a cyberattack is the brand risk,” said Freedman. “If you clients lose confidence in you, many won’t return.”CyberSURE’s solution, unveiled at the 2018 BDO Alliance USA Conference May 7, is the first to offer a targeted solution for this tier of businesses, according to co-founder Billy Steeghs.”There’s not a comparable product out there,” said Steeghs. “This gives you the baseline you need before you make any other investments.”The product is available as a one-time product or monthly subscription service.BDO, a nationwide accounting firm, incorporated CyberSURE into its Alliance network after it acquired LBA Accounting. The partnership has given OnDefend exposure with many of BDO’s clients nationwide, but the company is still focused on “radiating out of Jacksonville,” according to Freedman.”We’re starting here in Jacksonville,” he said.

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