Secure Cyber Defense is a rapidly growing, Miamisburg-based cyber security firm that works with manufacturers taking on government contracts, healthcare and and other industries. STAFF PHOTO / HOLLY SHIVELY
Photo: Holly Shively
Photo: Holly Shively

Cyber hacking spurring local firm growth

From health care records to banking information, locally-founded Secure Cyber Defense is rapidly expanding to protect the personal data of Dayton-area consumers and others across the globe.

Cyber security is a growing concern across industries as hackers become more intelligent and more businesses and organizations move to electronic records. Cyber crimes are expected to cause $6 trillion in damage annually by 2021, double the $3 trillion in damages that occurred in 2017, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

“Organizations, I think, at this point, that do absolutely nothing know that they are vulnerable in more than one way. They’re vulnerable from a cyber security standpoint; they’re vulnerable from a legal standpoint. It’s getting aggressive,” said Shawn Waldman, co-founder and CEO of Secure Cyber Defense.

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The increase in cyber crimes has accelerated the growth of five-year-old Secure Cyber Defense, a Miamisburg-founded company. The company was co-founded by Shawn Waldman and Shawn Walker in 2015 a few years after cyber crimes started their climb around 2008, Waldman said.

“It just started looking like it was a great time to start maybe a cyber security-type consulting business…that turned out to be a super good idea,” Waldman said.

Since the start of the year, Waldman has nearly doubled his team to 11 by adding five full-time employees. The company now has a Louisville, Kentucky, office and at the start of the year, the Miamisburg operation moved into a new space at 1390 Vanguard Blvd. in the Mound Business Park after outgrowing its former location.

“While it was a good facility, it would not have accepted this amount of growth,” Waldman said. “It was important for us to move to a more independent facility that would give us the opportunity to have access to lots of square footage in a quick amount of time.”

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The office is currently using 5,000 square feet of the building and has leased the neighboring 5,000 square feet to be built out and developed into the Go Cyber Center, which can be used for educational events that teach local groups and companies about the importance of cyber security and the harm of a potential data breach.

Another part of the building could be developed into a locker room and gym space for employees.

“With the way that we treat our customers and our employees, there’s a culture here that you don’t find at a lot of bigger companies. You can tell that we actually care about the people who are here,” said Craig Engelbrecht, a network security engineer that has worked at Secure Cyber Defense for two years.

The tech firm has also experienced major growth in clients with more than 100 customers, including some in Canada and Serbia. In the last 30 days, the company has added four new accounts that it continuously monitors in real time.

Secure Cyber defense works with customers to install firewall. Some customers also use the firm for routine audits or to manage accounts in real-time, with engineers watching the firewall at all times to make sure hackers can’t get through.

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“We primarily started the company as mainly assessment-type work where we would go in and…work with companies to find out where they are and where they need to be. We very quickly got into managed cyber security services,” he said.

Secure Cyber Defense typically works with government contractors in manufacturing and aerospace, law, local governments, health care and the financial sector like banks and others regulated by the Security and Exchange Commission. The biggest space for growth are with companies that are required to follow enforced compliance standards like PCI HIPPA, Waldman said.

For area consumers, that means Secure Cyber Defense could be protecting their health records, employee information at the company they work for, banking information at financial institutions or potentially their credit card information on point of sales systems for a major restaurant chain it could pick up this year, Waldman said.

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“Every day here, you can tell that you’re making a difference. Talking with the customers, there’s a lot more personal connection, I suppose, than a lot of customers have,” Engelbrecht said.

Waldman helped start the company in 2015 after a long career in law enforcement and cyber security.

“From a growth standpoint, we’re ready to pretty much do whatever we have to do. We’ve had other states looking at us to recruit us to open offices,” he said.

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