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Why should cyber security be so hard?


Gary Robinson must be one of Northern Ireland’s most enthusiastic tech-preneurs.

His startup, Uleska, builds cyber security into web applications while they are being built, rather than after they’re in use. You can read my recent article describing this approach, titled “It’s dangerous to leave security as an afterthought.”

Now, Uleska’s product is in trials at companies across the UK and Ireland, after speaking to 70 software companies about their challenges and needs. Its patent application is pending, and Uleska won a spot in the Invent competition finals, in the Enterprise category.

“When we launch to the open market – estimated to be this October – it will feel like a breakthrough,” Gary said. “Uleska was borne out of my repeated issues and delays I experienced as a hacker and security architect in the financial enterprise sector.”

Gary’s energy is contagious – he’s animated and passionate when describing the problems the cyber security industry faces.

He’s amongst the growing number of voices trying to change the mindset of an entire industry. Uleska is about security being a preventative measure, like taking a vitamin, rather than a prescribed medicine after you’ve developed a disease.

Gary said, “We’ve become accustomed to constant innovation, constant automation of tasks in the IT industry. Twenty years ago, it was a chore to write a website, and the mobile web hardly existed. Now we can use automated tools to write a website in hours for any internet connected device. Why has cyber security been so different? It’s the one area of IT where innovation hasn’t expedited tasks. It still takes two to four weeks to secure an application.”

Gary isn’t one to shy from warning people about the perils of this situation.

He said, “When it’s this hard to secure apps, of course cyber security is still the biggest risk to business. We need to sort this out.”

He’s also positive that Uleska is in a position to jump. Rapid 7 recently purchased a startup, Kommand, in this automation space. Although it was not confirmed, the sale price was rumoured to be $50m for a startup only two years old.

Gary said, “I’ve absolutely no doubt the approach to cyber security will evolve – and securing applications will be further automated – in the coming years. At Uleska we need to make sure we’re ahead of the game.”

And it’s a good game to play in. The application security market has a CAGR of 26.4 per cent and is estimated to be worth $9 billion by 2020. [Source]

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