For a small to medium-sized business, achieving the right levels of cyber security can be a minefield.
Invent finalist ProtectBox makes it easier for businesses by advising on the right mix of cyber solutions. ProtectBox was incorporated in January by founder Kiran Bhagotra, who has been working on an initial service to launch soon.
ProtectBox aims to work a lot like Comparethemarket.com. A business owner or IT manager enters a short form response about its’ cyber security needs, and an algorithm returns a set of solutions customised to them.
The business can then purchase the suite of solutions, or some of them, including things like email protection, anti-virus, and anti-malware. Less obvious solutions like training, cyber regulation and cyber insurance are also included. ProtectBox will earn revenue through an affiliate marketing fee from suppliers, while the service remains free for businesses.
Founder Kiran Bhagotra said, “Our algorithms give businesses a gap analysis, and we risk-score the gaps. The businesses can filter solutions based on price, etc., and tailor it how they want.”
ProtectBox aims to be “low-cost, independent, simple to use.”
I asked Kiran whether ProtectBox has the large security brands on board – the likes of Symantec or McAfee. She said, “For a business like ours it’s not about name dropping, but a mix of all types so everyone is catered for, and still dynamic to new suppliers. That’s why we’re built to easily ‘plug and play’ aggregators and re-sellers.”
In a former life, Kiran promoted cyber security for the Cabinet Office and Foreign Office. She said, “At the moment there isn’t a lot of cyber regulation but that’s where we’re going whether we like it or not, because of the unprecedented frequency of attacks, like those on the NHS.”
How do security regulations fit into your business?
Kiran said, “Businesses have to meet regulations, and governments need to see that their regulations are being enforced. Our search data will be beneficial to suppliers, giving data about where global businesses’ security demands are, and also to governments about what regulation works. I’m currently speaking to some international governments about possible collaborations.”
What brings a mainland UK entrepreneur to set up shop in Northern Ireland?
Kiran said, “The tech talent on the whole island of Ireland is very strong. Invest NI has been instrumental in our founding and they’ve been very open-minded about a cyber security-related service rather than a product. The tech industry in general is product-focused. The business culture here is supportive at building the export market.”
What traction have you had, to date?
Kiran said, "We've spoken to hundreds of small and medium businesses across the UK, Middle East and USA who are waiting to use our service when we launch. This is a very short time since our launch in January 2017 to have built a dual marketplace that aggregates other marketplaces. We're also partnering with companies with thousands of small and medium business customers to act as sales channels."
What’s your personal background?
“Before ProtectBox, I was a freelance consultant in government, investments, sales, operations, and business development, and helped set up three companies like this one. I also trained as an investment banker, PR and a doctor before that,” Kiran said. “But I couldn’t do this without my team - experts in regulation, entrepreneurism and tech.”
She’s had a diverse set of experiences. Kiran is also passionate about fighting gender barriers in the technology sector.
“I’m hoping to break down barriers about what the people that work in technology should look like.” She won 2nd place for Woman of the Year in the Cyber Security Awards 2016.
Any other information you’d like to share with TechWatch readers?
Kiran said, “To local angel investors throughout Ulster and the rest of Ireland: we’re close to completing our first funding round but still open to receiving offers of small SEIS or EiS investments – even £5k to £20k – for those who want to jump on board early.”