The Swiss cybersecurity startup, Hacknowledge, has decided to open its first subsidiary in the Grand Duchy a year ago. No sooner had Hacknowledge moved to Luxembourg than the company won a prize at the last Cybersecurity Week Luxembourg (*), against seven other promising solutions. At the time, the cybersecurity specialist had no customer here yet.
by: Delphine Sabattier
photo: Serge Deuces / Silicon Luxembourg
featured: Barbara Terra
“This award was a huge opportunity for us to get started,” recalls Barbara Terra, the sales manager who arrived from Switzerland to launch the company’s first subsidiary. Since then, Hacknowledge Lux has grown from 2 to 6 people in the heart of this strategic capital only a simple sales office .
So why is Luxembourg so important to Hacknowledge? “There are many similarities between the Swiss and Luxembourgish ecosystems. They have long suffered from not having cybersecurity solutions adapted to their realities: small markets, local understanding of their needs, quality requirements… And, up until now, SOCs (Security Operations Centers) were too heavy and expensive for most companies,” says Barbara Terra.
“Our proposal is to bring to the market a rational and innovative self-developed SOC solution, affordable to SMEs as well as large enterprises and adapted to all sectors. Our business model is simple and our pricing plan is transparent: following to the initial setup, based on the customer’s size we define a single monthly price, which includes all Hacknowledge services and the maintenance of its hardware and software components. No unpleasant surprises, no unexpected extra costs,” says the sales manager.
“We centralize all existing security information from the customer’s infrastructure and we complement them with custom sensors that we place strategically to cover our customer’s entire network.”
Hacknowledge offers two types of services: a “Pentest” (intrusion test) on a perimeter defined upstream with the customer. The startup simulates the behaviour of an attacker, draws up an inventory of IT security, and issues recommendations on priority areas for improvement, and on the implementation of security best practices.
The second solution, the SOC, is a long-term one: monitoring the entire information system in order to detect any security incident and alert the customer. “We are setting up a MDR (Managed Detection and Response). Via a log collector, we centralize all existing security information from the customer’s infrastructure and we complement them with custom sensors that we place strategically to cover our customer’s entire network with a unique blend of security technologies such as IDS (Intrusion Detection System, NDLR), honeypots, vulnerability scanning, etc.,” explains Hacknowledge Lux. Hacknowledge security engineers manage and sort all alerts ultimately saving a lot of time on the investigation.
Companies can go from 20 alerts per day to manage, to only 3 to 7 per month, all qualified and validated by Hacknowledge experts and enhanced with remediation advice. This allows companies to focus on the real attacks only! And unless their action is required, they can keep on taking care of their business!
Like any tech startup, Hacknowledge could have delivered its services remotely. But, it seems the Swiss woman understood that in order to gain her client’s trust (the Ministry of Economy and some banking institutions), it was necessary to invest in local presence. Thus, in its offer, Hacknowledge Lux offers a “hosted” service in EBRC datacenter, which guarantees customers that their logs do not leave Luxembourg.
(*) Public Choice Award for the most promising cybersecurity solution, during 2018 PwC Luxembourg Cybersecurity Day.