Techopia Live: Ottawa firm reducing cyber threats for small businesses

As fears of cyber threats spread, an Ottawa-based company is finding opportunities in alerting small and medium-sized businesses to vulnerabilities in their systems. Techopia Live sat down with Field Effect Software this week to hear about what’s fueling growth for the burgeoning local startup.

The 35-person firm, which is set to more than double its office space at Lansdowne Park this summer, builds training and simulation software to help companies prepare themselves against cyber incursion, as well as network monitoring technology.

Field Effect largely concerns itself with a customer’s “threat surface” – the “set of all attackable points in a network,” as president Andrew Loschmann put it. This ranges from an employee’s email inbox, to access points on the company’s web server to the network infrastructure that gets installed and then forgotten about, otherwise known as “ghost IT.”

The firm’s monitoring technology looks to identify these problem areas and reduce the threat surface for customers.

While the likes of Google and Microsoft are making major investments in the cybersecurity space, Loschmann told Techopia Live he has confidence in the products born out of the small company’s “world-class” team. The other difference is that the major players tend to focus on large enterprise customers such as banks, leaving a market gap for smaller companies that rarely have fully built-out IT teams.

While banks know they’re high-profile targets, Loschmann said SMEs tend to assume that they’re too small to be on threat actors’ radars.

“The problem that we see out in the market today is that a lot of small businesses tend to feel they’re not going to be victimized,” he said.

In reality, hackers tend to automate their craft to take advantage of vulnerabilities. As soon as a company connects to the network, Loschmann said, it’s susceptible to attack.

Field Effect’s approach is to make sure it provides clear and accessible recommendations to its clients so that SMEs can establish best practices in cybersecurity even without an IT expert on staff.

To hear more about the firm’s approach to attracting cybersecurity talent in Ottawa, watch the video above.