Startups Can Play A Crucial Role In Addressing Cybersecurity Challenges

by Marios Roussos
iotshield Cybersecurity

The case of iotshield.ai and how countries and companies benefit

Being hacked is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone, either as an individual, a company or even a government. But it can happen to anyone at any time. Living in a digital world, fully connected to the internet the risks are there, but also opportunities too. Startups, like iotshield.ai, have recognised these and are offering solutions to help with security in cyberspace.  

In a few words, iotshield.ai is a spin-off from the CYENS Centre of Excellence. The platform uses innovative technologies like Machine Learning and Computational Intelligence to ensure that companies relying on IoT devices experience smooth operation and robust security, safeguarding them against potential cyberattacks.

The iotshield.ai team comprises Dr. Christiana Ioannou, a co-founder and the current Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Her extensive research background, including a PhD supervised by Dr. Vasos Vassiliou (co-founder), has been instrumental in laying the foundation for iotshield.ai’s innovative approach to cybersecurity.

Complementing the technical expertise, Mr. Christis Christoforou (co-founder) brings substantial business acumen to the team, derived from his extensive experience in the field. With a shared vision for enhancing cybersecurity and safeguarding digital ecosystems, the iotshield.ai team is poised to make a significant impact in the industry.

Significant obstacles

For Mr. Vassiliou in Cyprus, startups encounter several obstacles that can impede their growth and success. As he mentions, one significant challenge is access to funding, but equally important is the need for guidance and mentorship. While there is a growing interest in entrepreneurship and innovation, securing adequate funding and navigating the complexities of starting a business can take time for many entrepreneurs. Additionally, the lack of access to experienced mentors and advisors can hinder the development and scaling of startups.

“However, initiatives like Cyprus Seeds, an accelerator program that has been instrumental in supporting startups like ours, have helped address this need for guidance and mentorship. Through Cyprus Seeds, we’ve not only received invaluable funding but also access to experienced mentors who have provided us with invaluable advice and guidance throughout our journey” he states.

To further improve the startup ecosystem in Cyprus, they recommend fostering stronger collaboration between the government, private sector, and academic institutions to develop supportive policies and initiatives tailored to the needs of startups.

The startup ecosystem in Cyprus for Mr. Vassiliou is evolving, showing promising signs of growth and innovation. However, for him, to further enhance its vibrancy and competitiveness, several key areas can be targeted for improvement.

“Firstly, fostering stronger collaboration among stakeholders is crucial. This involves closer cooperation between government bodies, academic institutions, investors, and established businesses to create a supportive environment for startups. By aligning efforts and resources, we can better address the needs of emerging ventures and facilitate their growth” he clarifies.

Additionally, for Mr Vassiliou, there’s a need for targeted support and investment in specific sectors. “In the field of cybersecurity, for instance, where our startup operates, there’s a growing demand for innovative solutions. By focusing on niche areas of strength and providing tailored support, Cyprus can carve out a competitive advantage and attract talent and investment” he explains.

Furthermore, initiatives to nurture talent and foster entrepreneurship education are essential. By equipping aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge, and mentorship they need, we can cultivate a pipeline of innovative startups that drive economic growth and create job opportunities.

Mr. Vassiliou notes that “overall, enhancing the Cyprus startup ecosystem requires a strategic and collaborative approach. By leveraging its strengths, addressing gaps, and investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs, Cyprus can solidify its position as a dynamic hub for innovation and entrepreneurship in the region”.

The importance of cybersecurity

Lately, there are many interfering with the GPS signal because of the war between Israel and Palestine, a fact that should alert to some extent about the issue of cybersecurity in Cyprus and possibly the role that startups can help the country reinforce cybersecurity.  

Although the issue of GPS signals is not an area they are working on,  iotshield.ai offers comprehensive cybersecurity solutions tailored specifically for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

“Our platform aims to protect IoT devices from cyber threats by providing real-time monitoring, threat detection, and response capabilities. Through advanced machine learning algorithms and behavioural analytics, iotshield.ai detects anomalies and suspicious activities, enabling proactive defence against potential attacks” he declared.

The platform also facilitates compliance with industry regulations and standards. Additionally, iotshield.ai offers customizable solutions to meet the unique security needs of various IoT deployments, ensuring the integrity and safety of connected devices and networks.

“Should a country look for solutions in startups regarding cybersecurity?” Mr Vassiliou was asked and replied, “Absolutely, startups can play a crucial role in addressing cybersecurity challenges for a country”.

Mr. Vassiliou submitted the following reasons:

Innovation: Startups are often at the forefront of technological innovation. They bring fresh ideas, novel approaches, and agility to the table, which can be invaluable in the fast-paced world of cybersecurity.

Adaptability: Startups are more flexible and adaptable compared to larger, established companies. This allows them to respond quickly to emerging threats and changing cybersecurity landscape.

Specialization: Many startups focus on niche areas within cybersecurity, developing specialized solutions tailored to specific needs or industries. This targeted approach can lead to more effective and efficient security measures.

Collaboration: Collaborating with startups fosters a culture of innovation and knowledge sharing within the cybersecurity ecosystem. Governments can partner with startups to leverage their expertise and resources in tackling cyber threats.

Economic Growth: Supporting cybersecurity startups can stimulate economic growth by creating jobs, attracting investment, and fostering entrepreneurship. It can also enhance a country’s competitiveness in the global cybersecurity market.


Startup World Cup Cyprus

An advantage for companies

It is not only the governments who can benefit from startups with a cybersecurity focus but also companies too.

Mr Vassiliou explains that in a similar way to Governments, Enterprises can benefit from partnering with cybersecurity-focused startups in several ways:

Access to Innovative Solutions: Startups often develop cutting-edge technologies and approaches to cybersecurity that may not be available from traditional vendors. Partnering with startups gives companies access to these innovative solutions to enhance their security posture.

Customized Solutions: Cybersecurity startups are often more agile and can tailor their solutions to meet the specific needs and challenges of a company or industry. This customization can result in more effective and efficient security measures.

Scalability: Startups are typically more flexible and scalable compared to larger vendors. As a company grows or its cybersecurity needs evolve, startups can adapt their solutions and services accordingly, ensuring continued protection.

Early Detection and Response: Many cybersecurity startups focus on proactive threat detection and rapid incident response. By leveraging their expertise and technologies, companies can strengthen their defence mechanisms and mitigate cyber risks more effectively.

Cost-Effectiveness: Startups may offer cost-effective solutions compared to larger vendors, especially for smaller or medium-sized companies with limited budgets. This can make cutting-edge cybersecurity technologies more accessible to a wider range of organizations.

Partnership Opportunities: Collaborating with cybersecurity startups can foster innovation and knowledge sharing within an organisation. It can also provide opportunities for joint research and development projects, talent exchange programs, and access to a broader network of cybersecurity professionals.

“Partnering with cybersecurity-focused startups can help companies stay ahead of evolving threats, improve their security posture, and drive innovation in the field of cybersecurity”, he reflected.

Looking to the future

Mr. Vassiliou revealed that Iotshield.ai has entered into several strategic collaborations with organizations from different industry sectors (energy, water, smart city).

“We are working with our partners to execute small-scale pilots that can demonstrate the efficacy of our solutions and their applicability in commercially and industrially relevant settings. We have recently completed an acceleration program with the EGG Accelerator in Greece and we are currently finalizing the 3rd Cycle of Cyprus Seeds” he says.

“The business and technical validation of our offerings make us confident and ready to seek early-stage funding from investors” concludes.

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