Since the recent National Security Agency leaks that revealed widespread surveillance of citizens’ communication by the U.S. government, iSecure LLC has been busy.
Many companies in Rochester are turning to iSecure, a consulting firm that evaluates the information technology security of a business, to find and fix their vulnerabilities.
"There are companies that think, ‘Well, I don’t really have anything that is of any use to anybody,’" said Annette Warren, president and CEO of iSecure. "Well yeah, you do, because there is a reason you’re in business, and if you are successful in any way, there is something that you’re doing. It may not be that you have trade secrets or you’re patenting anything, but it might be your customer base."
ISecure, formerly known as NetAccess Inc., was founded as an Internet service provider by John Warren. It began by offering high-speed Internet to residential customers. In 2004, the company added online phone service for corporate clients and changed its name to VocalNet Inc.
Eight years later, the company began providing IT security under the name iSecure. For one year iSecure and VocalNet worked in tandem. VocalNet was sold in 2012, and today iSecure focuses on security.
Along with the new focus came a re-evaluation of roles. Annette Warren, then vice president of operations, became CEO and president, while her husband, John, stepped down as CEO and took a more project-based role.
ISecure serves customers with security needs in the health care, higher education, finance and legal fields. It has 10 employees and expects revenue to grow 31 percent by the end of fiscal 2013.
Mark Zane, director of vendor management for six years, is interested in seeing the industry grow.
"It is the most dynamic industry, I believe, anyone could be in right now in the world," Zane said. "Most experts believe that we are at least 10 years away from being close to some international standard that we can adhere to and depend on."
ISecure’s aim is to protect aspects of a company such as application security, company data, infrastructure and mobile security.
Companies with a long history are starting to think about security in ways they never had to before.
"When these networks were created years ago for some of these big companies, they never considered security," said Annette Warren. "Now what they are doing is they are kind of backpedaling."
At first, companies might be wary of letting a company such as iSecure become informed about their operations.
"Trust plays a huge piece of it," Warren said. "There’s a lot of companies we do business (with) that are very large, and it takes a long time to build that trust. I’m looking to sell this product, help you implement it and then let’s move towards the next project to make you as secure as you can, as secure as you feel is necessary."
As more technology filters into the business world, companies will find online security to be a growing need, officials said.
"The damages could be crippling," Zane said. "I’ve seen businesses that had to close their doors because of a cyberattack. Security is now a boardroom discussion, and it never used to be."
Email security is something iSecure has seen companies paying attention to in recent months. With the volume of email sent every day within companies, confidentiality can be easily overlooked.
"We are all becoming so reliant on digitalization," Zane said. "Obviously, the more we put out there, the more important it is to secure that information. People don’t realize it’s called the World Wide Web for a reason."
Marketing in the security industry sometimes plays on the emotional aspects of threats, but iSecure approaches security as just another element in a business plan.
"We are not trying to create fear and doubt," Warren said. "It’s really about how do you proactively go about something and how do you put a plan together that makes sense for you and your company to make it happen."
Ultimately, iSecure’s focus has to be on protecting a client company’s future and showing that it can be trusted to do so.
"That’s the success of us," Warren said. "What we are doing anyone else can do, but it’s really (about) that human piece."
Kerry Feltner is a Rochester Business Journal intern.
A consulting firm specializing in information technology security.
2012 ranking: 97
Top executive: Annette Warren, president and CEO
The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. This year’s Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 6. For more information, go to rochesterbusinessalliance.com.
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