As seen in the Tampa Bay Business Journal
A Tampa cybersecurity firm is preparing to publish what the CEO says will be the first report designed to help top corporate executives understand the business risks of data breaches.
The Cyber Balance Sheet Report, designed for boards of directors and C-level executives, is due out this spring from Focal Point Data Risk, says CEO Yong-Gon Chon.
Focal Point Data Risk is the new name for Cyber Risk Management’s portfolio companies, including Sunera in Tampa. The organization rebranded last month to unify its cybersecurity consulting, training and mitigation services and provide a single identity for its operations.
Most Americans have personally experienced a major data breach, and relatively large shares of the public lack trust in key institutions — especially the federal government and social media sites — to protect their personal information, the Pew Research Center said in January.
An estimated $1 trillion will be spent on cybersecurity between 2017 and 2021, according to researcher and publisher Cybersecurity Ventures. It bodes well for the local economy that cybersecurity services are in high demand.
High-profile data breaches at Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) and the Democratic National Committee, among others, have made corporate boards “hypersensitive” to the next breach, Chon said.
“It’s not that they’re surprised by it anymore. It’s more along the lines of ‘who’s next, and pray that it’s not me,’” he said. “Breaches are a business problem today, not just an IT problem any more.”
The Cyber Balance Sheet is an outgrowth of an earlier project Chon worked on when he was an executive at CyberTrust, a security services company in Virginia.
“We created the industry’s first report on how data breaches were impacting the world,” he said. “We sold that business to Verizon and it continued to evolve into what’s become the gold standard, called the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.”
The Verizon report is targeted at industry practitioners and subject matter experts, he said.
“That report is highly technical … but because breaches are now a business problem, C-level executives and board members need a report that breaks it down in business terms and no such thing actually exists,” Chon said
That business information is the focus of Focal Point’s Cyber Balance Sheet, unveiled at a summit the company hosted about two weeks ago at the Nasdaq Marketsite in Times Square in New York. It was attended by regulators, legal experts and corporate executives.
“I don’t think the demand could get any higher as it is,” Chon said. “It’s more along the lines of — what are we doing that is different than a Yahoo or different than the Democratic National Committee that is either going to keep us off the radar or — if something bad does happen — how do we compartmentalize or minimize the impact it has on our organization.”
Demand for cyberprotection has driven growth at Focal Point, which has grown more than 100 percent in the past three years, Chon said.
When Chon started work at the company two years ago, it had a staff of 200 and 200 clients. Now, it has a staff of 400 and more than 500 clients.
In 2015, Sunera qualified for up to $164,000 in tax incentives under the Qualified Target Industries program, after the company expanded its downtown Tampa headquarters so it could hire 40 additional workers.
“We’ve blown the cover off of that,” Chon said, while sitting in the company’s 17th floor office at 201 E. Kennedy Blvd. “We now have space on the 14th floor and we’re currently figuring out how we can reunite the entire team and take over an entire floor.
“Our future growth plans have us going from 400 employees today, to over the next two years going to over 800, through a combination of both organic growth and some strategic acquisitions,” Chon said.
Focal Point has 17 offices globally, including its downtown Tampa headquarters. It is part of a growing cybersecurity sector in Tampa. ReliaQuest, another cybersecurity provider, recently opened an expanded headquarters on Harbour Island and said it would hire 150 workers this year. The Trenam law firm has launched a new cybersecurity practice that is concentrated in Tampa. Many Tampa accounting firms have developed an expertise in cybersecurity as well.
Chon credits initiatives such as the University of South Florida’s designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity and a talent pool from MacDill Air Force Base and the U.S. Central Command.
The company’s former Sunera business is now Focal Point Advisors and it handles data risk consulting. The former ARNC, now Focal Point Academy, provides cybersecurity training. Focal Point Force, formerly APTEK, concentrates on identity and access management to help companies mitigate the impact of breaches.