This 23-year-old school dropout now counts RIL, Amul, CBI as clients with his cyber security startupAparajita Choudhury
With a strong inclination towards technology, gaming, and computers since he was a child, 23-year-old school dropout Trishneet Arora ended up becoming one of the youngest ethical cyber security experts in India. At the age of 19, in 2013, Trishneet founded TAC Security Solutions, a cyber-security solutions provider with a mission to anticipate, resolve, and mitigate cyber security risks and challenges.
TAC Security provides complete vulnerability assessment solutions, which involves the process of identifying, quantifying, and prioritising the vulnerabilities in network infrastructures. It provides network, application and web security solutions to corporates, banks, startups, governments and law enforcement agencies.
Its current client portfolio includes names such as Reliance Industries Limited, Gujarat Police, Punjab Police, International Tractors Limited (Sonalika), AMUL, Avon Cycles, RALSON, and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), among others.
A humble start
Who would have imagined that a 11-year-old boy would take computer software and hardware so seriously? When Trishneet’s father bought him a computer, he soon discovered his appetite for technology while surfing and exploring the web.
Whenever his computer crashed and an expert was called for, Trishneet would closely observe the repairs done and start exploring computer hardware as well. His first milestone was when he networked two computers.
Trishneet then started sharing his learning by writing blogs, which later led him to penning books. He has written a few books on cyber security, ethical hacking and web defence, such as The Hacking Era.
Trishneet failed in Class VIII and somehow completed Class X exams through correspondence. Thereafter, with a little guidance from friends who were pursuing BTech, Trishneet learnt a significant bit about cyber security.
“I was always keen to understand more about computer hardware and software too. Practice makes a man perfect and that's exactly what happened with me. I will not say I was perfect but playing with the hardware and software of the computers gave me the confidence that I can pursue this field for a career,” he says.
Starting off as a trainer, Trishneet built a strong network in the first year by conducting training sessions at Indian Institute of Technology, GNAIMT, among others in Punjab, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Gradually, he was introduced and referred to companies and government organisations that needed training for their employees in related departments on IT infrastructure and data security issues.
And that was the Eureka moment for him, when he realised he wanted to give his work a corporate approach. That desire took the form of TAC Security. Started in a small office in Ludhiana, TAC Security has shifted the operational base to Chandigarh and is now establishing it footprint in Dubai.
The startup recently closed pre-Series A funding from Vijat Kedia (MD, Kedia Securities) and is looking to raise $10 million in Series A funding within a year. Trishneet said that Subinder Khurana, angel investor and member of TiE network lent his guidance on business strategy, productised solutions, organisational development, and helped the team expand the business globally.
Prevention better than cure
TAC Security helps corporates recognise their infrastructure weaknesses before the fraudulent elements can use them adversely and cause harm.
The expanding IT landscape in India over the time triggered the risk of cyber crimes and data thefts, thereby mandating it for the companies to be prepared with strong measures to counter and defend the IT infrastructure.
The startup also offers training and sessions to employees on IT infrastructure and data security issues, apart from identifying weaknesses and advising remedies.
Recently, details of more than 3.2 million debit cards faced the threat of breach due to hacking. This issue is part of the larger problem of cyber attacks, and it can affect any organisation - not just banks, but also corporates across sectors, and government organisations.
Earlier this year, TAC Security introduced a new service called TAC-CERT (Cyber Emergency Response Team), which will help in quick recovery whenever the breach happens.
Building the brand
TAC Security today has acquired more than 50 clients through word-of-mouth and references. Once Trishneet gave a corporate structure to the services, he started building a team, which would introduce their expertise. The startup today has a team of 15 people.
The services are offered in two modes- when a company wants one-time assessments of their infrastructure done on their vulnerability, tests are conducted to evaluate the security of an IT infrastructure. Secondly, TAC Security gets associated with companies and conducts periodic system checks, corporate training sessions, setting regular alerts on emerging threats and consulting.
The service fees are charged on annual and sometime quarterly basis based on the agreements and contracts. At present, TAC Security is maintaining a growth of 25-30 percent quarterly.
Dealing with cyber security threats
According to Ken Research, digitisation initiatives by government, increased online transactions and compliance-led deployment of security solutions in SME businesses are likely to boost cyber security market in India.
With one of its flagship programmes, Digital India, the Government of India is on an aggressive drive to push the position of the country on the digital map. Recently, India and Russia signed a cyber-security agreement in the BRICS Summit in Goa. The agreement reportedly will see cooperation between the two countries on matters of cyber crime, defence and national security.
According to a Markets and Markets report, the cyber security market globally is estimated to grow from $122.45 billion in 2016 to $202.36 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 10.6 percent.
TAC Security has rolled out operations in UAE and will soon deploy Cyber Emergency Response Team (TAC-CERT) in London. Currently targeting financial institutions, corporate giants, telecom, startups, manufacturing units and automobiles, the startup plans to reach out to more than 300 corporate brands in India in the next one year. It will also expand operations to North America, Singapore and UK and is anticipating clocking revenue of more than a million dollars in the next fiscal year.
Website: TAC Security