How remote work creates cyber risks, and how to address them

How remote work creates cyber risks, and how to address them

Remote work has done more than transform our daily routines—it also has made companies more vulnerable. With more people working on machines connected to networks outside the corporate grid, the threat of cybersecurity attacks expands exponentially.

I sat down with cybersecurity veteran and DeepSurface CEO James Dirksen to talk about his startup’s work to address this added vulnerability, its hiring goals and recent funding wins. Dirksen, who resides in Lake Oswego, has been rooted in the Portland tech scene since 1997 and cut his teeth in roles at companies like Galois, Symantec and RuleSpace (which was acquired by Symantec).

DeepSurface, which launched publicly in September of 2020, remained in stealth mode for more than two years as it iterated on its technology with a private beta program with local companies.

James Dirksen, CEO and cofounder of DeepSurface Security
James Dirksen, CEO and cofounder of DeepSurface Security

Traditionally the manual process of analyzing and prioritizing security vulnerabilities on enterprise networks can be incredibly time consuming for cyber security teams, and opportunities for human error are numerous.

“It’s a process ripe for automation and we wanted to create a technology that automates the analysis and removes all the guesswork,” Dirksen said.

Covid-19 greatly accelerated the number of potential attacks and in turn increased the complexity of resolving them quickly.

In September, DeepSurface debuted their proprietary suite of tools specialized in what they call Predictive Vulnerability Management. Exiting stealth mode also came alongside a $1.1 million round in seed funding from Cascade Seed Fund, SeaChange Fund and Voyager Capital.

“Companies across every industry are looking for ways to improve their cybersecurity stance while improving efficiency. DeepSurface provides actionable intel to cybersecurity teams to help them identify issues and clearly communicate to the executive team how and why they’re prioritizing certain activities,” said Cascade Seed Fund Managing Director Julie Harrelson. “DeepSurface supports companies in making the most of their cybersecurity investments.”

One of DeepSurface’s local customers is OnPoint Community Credit Union. They work closely with OnPoint’s cybersecurity team to help manage more than $7.5 billion in assets and visualize threats that could harm the personal and financial health of their members.

As DeepSurface continues to focus on acquiring customers across financial services, health care, higher education, legal services and beyond, they’ll need more manpower and are growing the team.

After the seed funding announcement, the team grew from three members to 16. Looking ahead, they are seeking to hire about one new person a month to manage the growth. Currently, the startup has open positions for a product manager, sales engineer, and a DevOps engineer.

Like many other companies during this pandemic, DeepSurface had to postpone plans for a brick-and-mortar office. Dirksen said he has “every intention to sign a lease in Portland” once it’s possible.

This is part of a regular guest column written by the Technology Association of Oregon in the Portland Business Journal.

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