How Technisanct is addressing cybersecurity threats in MENA
According to cybersecurity firm Technisanct, the Middle East is no longer relying on the US and Europe for cybersecurity solutions alone, thus opening the market to global players.
In 2021, a report by UK technology comparison website Comparitech found that the UAE loses almost $746 million every year to cybercrime. Another report by a cybersecurity company Group-IB showed that the UAE and Saudi Arabia had the highest number of cyberattacks between mid-2021 and mid-2022 in the whole GCC region.
Continued digitisation and technological advancements in the Middle East have increased the concern for cybersecurity threats.
As the region starts welcoming cybersecurity investments and companies from across the world, India-basedwants to address the cyber threats specific to the region.
The company was founded in 2018 by Nandakishore Harikumar, Dinson David Kurian, and Rakesh Aikkara as a cybersecurity service provider. In 2020, it pivoted to a product model by creating a software dashboard called Integrite, a breach detection and notification platform.
The platform helps monitor customer data, payment transactional data, and credential leaks. These are all structured automatically and presented as reports to the clients.
With a 20-member team operating from Kochi and Bengaluru, Technisanct launched its services in the Middle East in 2021, with the first customer coming from Saudi Arabia. Today, it is providing cybersecurity services to around 35 business clients across India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
Some of the sectors that have highest demand for their services in the region includes finance, fintech, and telecom.
“While we are sector agnostic in terms of our service, we are also looking at sectors in the region that are at the biggest cybersecurity risk. This includes the petroleum, finance, and telecom industries. They face enormous cybersecurity risks, sometimes even state-sponsored. We want to address these and help to deal with them better,” says Harikumar.
Along with Integrite, Technisanct also offers services such as private Intelligence and corporate frauds, forensic investigation, and risk monitoring, to name a few.
Organisations such as BYJU’S and Vedantu were some of the earliest clients of Technisanct in India.
The company raised a seed round of $241,000 (Rs 2 crore) in March 2022 from Shashidhar Pai from S3K Ventures, and KT Chandy and Surabhi Marwah, Partners at EY
Expanding to the Middle East
Harikumar feels it is easy for cybersecurity companies to expand to the Middle East if they can help in the compliance regulation industry. This is because the region is prioritising having a legal and regulatory framework to protect and govern the businesses in the region. It is welcoming third-party companies and consultants to ensure that businesses are following the rules and regulations laid down by the government.
Harikumar says since the market is highly competitive, having a strong product and service is essential to do business in MENA.
“There is a lot of competition from Europe and the US, and the region has always looked West for cybersecurity solutions. We want to change that and hence we are partnering with different distributors in the region to expand further,” he adds.
Technisanct has around six distribution partners in the region. The startup competes with the likes of US-based companies Digital Shadows, ZeroFox, and Recorded Future Intelligence Cloud.
How does the product work?
Technisanct’s proprietary software as a service (SaaS) platform Integrite is a dashboard that is customisable and affordable.
After completing a background check, a pre-sites team addresses the queries of the clients and gives them a demo of how the dashboard works.
Clients are offered a free trial period of two weeks. The pre-sites team guides them to use the dashboard at every step. This trial period also helps the team to gather basic data such as the level of sensitivity of the work of the clients, the security requirements, etc.
Post the trial period, if the clients choose to continue with the services, they are charged for providing security per domain. In case the organisation has multiple branches, such as in the case of family businesses and houses in the Middle East, the Technisanct team creates a package deal and charges accordingly.
In the Middle East, the team charges $20,000 to $30,000 annually.
“We want to build products that are affordable and customisable in a manner that is recession-proof. When the recession hits, we don’t want our clients to give up their cybersecurity as the first step of cost-cutting,” adds Harikumar.
According to Markets and Markets, the cybersecurity market in the Middle East is projected to reach $44.7 billion by 2027 and grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.1% between 2022 and 2027.
Technisanct plans to expand further in the region and onboard more than 100 customers in the Middle East in the next two years. The startup is hoping to have presence in Oman and Kuwait in the next couple of months and is targeting Morocco and Egypt markets as well.
The team is planning to close a Series A round worth $5 million from VCs and family houses in the region. It is projected to clock a little around a million dollar in revenue by the end of the financial year 2022-23.
Technisanct also plans to build a global cybersecurity research team in Dubai. The hiring would begin in the next six months.
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Edited by Megha Reddy