Defendify: Five Years in the Making
Five short years ago, the term “cybersecurity” was just starting to make its way into the vocabulary of business leaders outside enterprise circles. That evolution continues today and along with it has come the arrival and growth of Defendify: The first-in-kind, groundbreaking, and award-winning all-in-one cybersecurity platform.
With thousands of organizations in over 20 countries now using Defendify, demand continues to be driven by the growing awareness of cyber risks, the emergence of cybersecurity insurance, and escalating compliance, regulatory, and third-party assessment requirements.
“It’s been a fulfilling journey, not only to see Defendify take shape, but to help shape the cybersecurity industry for small and midsize businesses. We are extremely proud of our amazing team and how far we’ve come in such a short period of time. And we’re even more excited at the opportunity in front of us,” shares Co-Founder Andrew Rinaldi.
2017: An Idea Takes Launch
Defendify started as Launch Security, a cybersecurity consultancy firm delivering a suite of products and services to challenged small businesses. “The idea was to create an affordable, comprehensive, and effective cybersecurity solution from the onset,” said Rob Simopoulos. “From day one, our mission has been to make comprehensive cybersecurity possible for all businesses.”
Traditionally, cybersecurity has been reserved for the enterprise given how extremely challenging affording and managing a comprehensive program has been for smaller organizations. At the same time, small businesses were under attack similarly to larger ones. “That’s when we knew we needed to find a way. If we could bring accessible, flexible, ongoing cybersecurity to those outside enterprise businesses, we’d be addressing an absolutely massive business need, helping the tens of millions of smaller businesses with equal needs.” said Andrew Rinaldi.
“We knew robust cybersecurity was possible, even for those companies without deep security expertise or teams,” shared Rob Simopoulos. “We saw attacks continuing to expand beyond big business, and we knew that we needed to remove the complexity of deploying a multi-layered cybersecurity program in order to fortify protection. But as entrepreneurs, we felt continuing the business as solely a consulting firm wasn’t going to meet the need. We had to solve the growing problem and make it scalable through technology.”
A Grand Vision is Born: Defendify
“Our vision was that if we could digitize the delivery of our services through a unified platform, we could help more companies worldwide, faster, and with a lower investment. That was the genesis of the Defendify All-In-One cybersecurity platform.” said Andrew Rinaldi.
2018 – 2019: Rapid Growth of Defendify
Defendify, rebranded from Launch Security, behind pre-seed capital from the Maine Technology Institute, moved quickly to establish a product development team and build the first all-in-one cybersecurity platform for small businesses. Defendify blossomed quickly once recognizing the value of delivering a software platform that could provide a full range of solutions to address the ever-evolving cyber market.
The Defendify platform was built to allow a business to complete self-assessments, develop policies and incident-response plans, scan systems and websites for vulnerabilities, and train and test their teams on cybersecurity. It brought multiple key tenets of cybersecurity together in one place, in a cost-effective, layered security package, designed for organizations with IT resources yet without enterprise-level security teams. It soon became clear there was so much more to an effective, evolving system—including training and awareness. Treating cybersecurity as a posture, and not as a project, moved the research and development efforts forward.
The platform was designed as modular, so customers could use what they needed to get started and then grow by activating new modules in the platform as budgets allowed and as needs or risks changed, making it both flexible and adaptable.
At the same time, IT Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and technology integrators were being asked more and more often by their customers for increased cybersecurity, and they didn’t have the tools or bandwidth to help in the ways they wanted. As a result, Defendify established a partner channel to bring the all-in-one cybersecurity solution to all segments of the small business market. This strategy recognized that the evolving cybersecurity threat landscape now included the entire supply chain, particularly service providers. Defendify gave these businesses tools to differentiate their service offerings and add new revenue while addressing the growing need for cybersecurity. Defendify’s holistic cybersecurity approach, including risk assessments, vulnerability scanning, and penetration testing, emerged to give companies tangible and affordable ways to protect their customer’s businesses from cyberattacks or compromise.
With initial successes and recognition in the marketplace as the first-in-kind cybersecurity platform designed for businesses without dedicated cybersecurity teams, Defendify raised $1.6M in pre-seed capital, led by private investors and with participation from Maine Technology Institute (MTI) and early cybersecurity industry investor, 3dot6 Ventures. “Finding a way to provide cybersecurity solutions holistically and at a reasonable price point has been very challenging until now,” stated Jonathan Dambrot, investment partner at 3dot6 Ventures.
Defendify added to its Advisory Board with senior advisors Jerry King, former COO at WHERE and Vets First Choice and current COO at GRIID; Rob Knake, former White House Cybersecurity Director; Steve Johnson, President and COO at Berkshire Grey; Virginia Lee, former privacy Leader at Intel, ServiceNow, and Starbucks; and Joe Doherty Jr., technology executive formerly of Xerox and Hewlett-Packard.
Defendify continued its growth spurt, gaining ground as a highly noted cybersecurity solution provider carving a new path for small and midsize organizations. Defendify was one of a handful of companies selected to exhibit at TechCrunch Disrupt in the Maine Pavilion, a section of the event’s Startup Alley that features companies selected by StartUp Maine. Disrupt is TechCrunch’s premier startup event and “where the world gathers to see rising startup stars.”
Recognition continued to pour in and Defendify garnered a number of accolades:
- Top Pick Startup (top trending startups exhibiting at SF Disrupt 2019)
- CRN Top 10 Cybersecurity Startup (top cybersecurity startups solving challenges)
- Top Technology Innovation (Top 30 Security Sales & Integration dealer/installer market innovators)
- Most Innovative SMB Cybersecurity (Defense magazine InfoSec Award honoring a compelling and unique value proposition)
2020: A Year of Change and Growth
Additional funding in January 2020 solidified the mission and objectives of Defendify’s SaaS cybersecurity development with the company receiving $2 million in seed funding led by existing investor 3dot6 Ventures and with participation from York IE, Maine Technology Institute (MTI), Maine Venture Fund (MVF), FreshTracks Capital, Wasabi Ventures, and private investors. Infusing those funds into its core product and team—bringing total funding to $3.6 million—allowed the company to continue to expand the product, team, customer acquisition, and market presence.
Meeting the Need During the COVID Era
With COVID-19 and the shift to work-from-home (WFH) strategies, businesses had to make swift operational changes, potentially putting systems, networks, and data at risk if not thoroughly checked and managed.
It was a difficult time for all companies, Simopoulos said. “We experienced exceptional growth, but there were significant decisions to make when the pandemic began. We focused more fully on understanding our key markets and where they needed help.”
Defendify created the free cybersecurity Essentials Package as the company looked within, wondering how it could help during these uncertain and cyber-risk-filled times. “Everyone was shifting to remote work, which from a cybersecurity standpoint, posed an increased cybersecurity risk to all organizations,” said Simopoulos. “Cybersecurity can no longer be an afterthought, and there are easier ways to improve your cybersecurity posture today to help protect and grow your business. Essentials does just that, and we’re happy to be able to provide it to businesses at no cost.”
The free Essentials Package, which includes Defendify’s cybersecurity assessment tool, vulnerability scanner, and threat alerts, was overwhelmingly received by businesses as business environments changed fast and cybercriminal activity continued to increase.
Advisory Board Expands
Defendify continued to fortify its Advisory Board in 2020, adding Alan Wade, Former CIO and Director of Security at the CIA, and Seth Bailey, Vice President of Information Security at Iron Mountain.
In July 2020, CRN, a brand of The Channel Company, named Defendify to its 2020 Emerging Vendors list in the security category. The annual accolades honor new, rising technology suppliers, and the Defendify cybersecurity program was recognized as a cost-effective, automated, and easily deployable solution.
Defendify launches its 13th module: Breach Detection & Response
As 2020 came to a close, Defendify launched its 13th module: Breach Detection and Response, a comprehensive solution featuring 24/7 security operations, monitoring, detection, response, and remediation. With these automated tools and expert teams, businesses could now proactively address the latest cyberattack—like ransomware and other advanced persistent threats—that often go unnoticed and can more easily spread without intervention.
“Every business has dramatically changed this year, making security more top of mind than ever before,” said Simopoulos. “In most cases, small and midsized organizations do not have the resources, technology, or bandwidth to detect and eliminate the evolving cyber threats targeting them. Breach Detection and Response changes that narrative, allowing nimble IT teams to up their game with an affordable, always-on cybersecurity operations center.”
“With Breach Detection and Response,” said Rinaldi, “Defendify now delivers even greater peace of mind for businesses and IT providers responsible for security, working around the clock as a cyber alarm system to detect potential threats and quickly stop attacks when identified.”
2021 and Continuous Innovation
Defendify’s pursuit of solutions that match the challenges of the market continued to etch its growth in the marketplace. In 2021, Defendify earned 30 awards from leading publications, media, and other top cybersecurity organizations, identifying the company’s impact on providing accessible, comprehensive, ongoing cybersecurity.
The Advisory Board further expanded, with Mark Sunday, longtime Oracle Chief Information Officer and former Vice President of Information Technology at Motorola, joining the team.
From its humble beginnings, Defendify has worked toward excellence, with the mindset that any organization can, and should be able to, build and manage a robust and comprehensive cybersecurity program. “Cybersecurity isn’t just for the enterprise anymore,” shares Andrew Rinaldi.
In many ways, Defendify is democratizing cybersecurity. It’s a lofty goal and a heady mission, but someone has got to do it. “Five years in, and we’ve made tremendous progress, helping thousands of businesses. We owe a debt of gratitude to our amazing team, customers, and partners who have been instrumental in our success and bringing our vision to reality. And in many ways, we’re just getting started. There is so much more to come.” shares Rob Simopoulos.
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