We talked to Stijn Vande Casteele of Sweepatic about cybersecurity and COVID-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Stijn Vande Casteele: Well, in the beginning, we had to find a new balance in the household. Especially during the first lockdown when the schools closed for several weeks. Now in the second wave, I can say that my family got used to the new situation. We are following the Government measures, and we are hopeful that the surrounding people and us will make it through safely. Seeing the positive messages about the vaccine, we can go hopefully back to how it was before soon.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Sweepatic.
Stijn Vande Casteele: As a kid, I was interested in building things and messing with computers. After my university studies, I worked for several years as a cybersecurity contractor for different international organizations. After all those years, I realized that in many, if not all cases, organizations had little or no idea of how exposed they really are in cyberspace. To help organizations fill this gap, I founded Sweepatic in late 2016.
How does Sweepatic innovate?
Stijn Vande Casteele: The world operates and evolves at a very fast pace. We all depend heavily on the internet and the digitalized world in our private and professional lives. Cybersecurity and data privacy became important topics. First, in Sweepatic, our highly skilled software engineering team is devoted to and passionate about researching such topics. That drives several key features in our product today. Second, “we put the customer first” in every decision. We capture our customers’ input systematically and have several of our customers actively providing product feedback. This enables us, not only with innovative features but also with those that cover specific use cases our customers are dealing with.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Stijn Vande Casteele: At Sweepatic, we have been coping quite well. I guess we got used to the “new” way of working fast; we all could work easily from our home-offices as all our internal systems are in the cloud and “electronic” communication channels were already very established. It helped that we operate in a global market with our cloud-based product that does not need any installation and is accessible from anywhere.
Cybersecurity is now more important than ever. Unfortunately, bad actors take advantage of moments of crisis and chaos. That is no different in this pandemic: targeted cybercrime against healthcare providers and medical institutions has increased since the coronavirus outbreak.
That is why we launched a special COVID19 offer for hospitals at the beginning of the pandemic. Hospitals could sign up for a free Sweepatic license, allowing them to leave the attack surface monitoring to our automatic and 24×7 platform. A cyberattack on an already with COVID-19 overwhelmed hospital could significantly disrupt medical procedures with disastrous consequences. Sweepatic wanted to contribute and help hospitals become more cyber resilient.
Additionally, since COVID-19, digitalization has increased dramatically in many organizations, leading to larger, more complex, and more exposed online footprints. We have seen that the need for automatic and robust cybersecurity control remains high.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Stijn Vande Casteele: I like to disconnect from time to time by seeking adventure and exploring the wonderful outdoor nature with my family. When I disconnect, it provides some sort of oxygen to my ideas, so they mature more or find solutions for certain challenges more easily.
How does the competitive market look like? And how is your solution different?
Stijn Vande Casteele: Surface Management is relatively new and, with only a handful of players, the Sweepatic Platform is unique in its kind. We were the first one in Europe with attack surface mapping, monitoring, and management.
Competition lies mainly in the more traditional approaches to cybersecurity. We see that organizations and enterprises require an automated capability to have a lot more visibility and control on their attack surface, monitor and adapt to change continuously, and save them time and money. Businesses are still heavily relying on one-off exercises and manual approaches, such as excel-based asset management, the classic security audits, bug bounty programs, and penetration tests. To the extent such approaches remain valid, we recommend them at least to be combined with continuous monitoring of the external internet “attack surface” perimeter to improve your cyber resilience and keep your reputation at an all-time high.
Our customers buy a Sweepatic license because we offer an intuitive, affordable, and automated attack surface management platform that continuously maps, monitors, and manages their company’s online exposure. It produces high-impact insights and easy-to-remediate findings, allowing them to take proactive measures to prevent cyberattacks, saving a lot of money in firefighting work and damages.
Your final thoughts?
Stijn Vande Casteele: It is important to keep looking forward and see the positive side of things. We will come out of this pandemic even stronger! Sweepatic is there to help you stay resilient in cyberspace. We hope to meet you soon.
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