Cybersecurity startup Sequretek helps secure and manage customer information assetsVishal Krishna
Mumbai-based startup offers a comprehensive suite of products and services to secure information for enterprises of the future.
In an age when digital business is the order of the day, security is paramount to the success of an organisation.
The recent attack on Equifax, a credit information company in the US, shows how nefarious digital attacks can be. The data of 143 million Americans - everything from credit details to investment details - was stolen by hackers or the black hats. The risk is so high that organisations can no longer look at security in isolation and only seek to protect their internal apps and data with security software. The CIO of the future needs to holistically look at how threats penetrate an organisation and this where Sequretek comes in.
Founded exactly four years ago by Anand Naik and Pankit Desai in Mumbai, the startup aims to bring the best of analytics and a suite of security services to secure enterprises of the future.
Pankit says: “When we started, the premise was that enterprises were always sold security products and not solutions that can be tweaked for them.” He adds that today CIOs need to be engaged at a level where not all events not to be analysed and patched, which means important attacks can be identified and managed. This is model of Sequretek, they believe in federated security-as-a-service rather than a centralised service or a box approach, which is an expensive proposition. Organisations are often sold security boxes with features rather than addressing the need to neutralize threats.
“Our platform and our services identify the threat that makes the organisation the most vulnerable and we go after it,” he says.
Sequretek is completely self-funded; the founders put in their own money initially. Later on, in the first half of this year, they raised a Series-A round through GVFL and Unicorn India Ventures. They currently generate more than $1 million in revenues and have more than 20 clients. They have over 200 employees in their organisation.
How was the idea born?
For 25 years, the duo has been in technology sales and development. They became friends in 1999 before Pankit moved to the US for a good 12 years, selling tech services and products across that country. Anand, on the other hand, scaled the corporate ladder in India and became the country head for a large global security services company.
In 2012, Pankit returned to India and met Anand, now Pankit's brother-in-law. In 2013, both of them began to see the cloud as an opportunity and also noticed that a lot of organisations were going mobile first.
“By November, we had decided that our company would operate by giving enterprises solutions to understand how they need to approach security in the digital era,” Pankit says.
Sequretek offers services such as security strategy and governance, vulnerabily management and malware analysis. In products, they offer digital personae management, threat protection and security analytics.
The products claim to help “secure and manage information assets to handle the changing digital landscape with expertise and experience”.
All companies need to manage the devices of their employees and prevent data leaks.
“We have to make sure that these devices don’t compromise enterprise security because employees are browsing several websites that can put the organisation at risk,” Pankit says.
In its Security Operations Centre in Mumbai, over 30 employees are constantly managing events in an organisation. The security products analyse and neutralise threats.
No wonder the company has won over 50 businesses in the pharma, banking and retail industries.
The market landscape
Growth in worldwide cloud-based security services will remain strong, reaching $5.9 billion in 2017, up 21 percent from 2016, according to Gartner, Inc. Overall growth in the cloud-based security services market is above that of the total information security market. Gartner estimates that the cloud-based security services market will reach close to $9 billion by 2020.
Ruggero Contu, Research Director at Gartner, says: “Email security, web security and identity and access management (IAM) remain organisations' top three cloud priorities.”
Mainstream services that address these priorities, including security information, event management (SIEM) and IAM, and emerging services, offer the most significant growth potential. Emerging offerings are among the fastest-growing segments and include threat intelligence enablement, cloud-based malware sandboxes, cloud-based data encryption, endpoint protection management, threat intelligence and web application firewalls (WAFs).
Companies like Data Resolve, Ineffu Labs and Quick Heal Technologies are some of the competing businesses in this space.
V Ganapathy, of Axilor Ventures, says: “These niche firms can take on large IT services companies as they approach the problem with precision. Unfortunately they need to focus on scaling up across an organisation if they have multiple offices and the challenge is always to have consistent paying customers.”
That said, the opportunity to build a large business exists for Sequretek. Several SMBs in India need to work on digital technologies and all of them need security. Today, of the 50 million SMBs only 1 million are digital; the rest of them are experimenting with digital solutions. If Sequretek captures even 1 percent of these businesses, it can easily become a Rs 100 crore business in 10 years.
Anand and Pankit have the pedigree of global sales to build a large business out of India.