If Wiretap is rolling the dice by choosing to be located in the Columbus Region, its principals are confident their lucky numbers will continue to appear.
The cyber security firm Wiretap began its emerging technology platform here in 2015 as a startup and it is growing quickly, with 25 employees currently and expectations that it will double in size each year, says CEO Jeff Schumann.
“We made a big bet on where this city is going,” Schumann says. “Columbus is becoming a hotbed for technology, with capital investors and the right leaders and mentorships all readily available.”
Location is also critical.
“We have access to our customers better than anywhere in the US,” he says. “Just look at the amount of enterprises within 500 miles of this region that you can reach within a day's drive.”
Wiretap is all about strengthening the security of organizations, especially those with hundreds and thousands of employees.
“We have a few hundred enterprises running on our technology, and many of these are major enterprises with 200,000 employees,” Schumann says. “Their immediate need is often better security, but they get equally excited about what they can learn when they adopt these technologies.”
A primary function of Wiretap's technology is to secure data blasted out across varieties of an organization's digital channels and platforms, but the company does a whole lot more, including identifying patterns of messaging that could later spell trouble for a company.
The technology includes a “predictive intelligence” element that Schumann likens to the 2002 science-fiction thriller Minority Report.
“We take all of the analog interactions and create a digital footprint that can identify risks and provide behavioral insight back to the company,” he says. “We can make sure a CEO doesn't end up on the cover of the Wall Street Journal for not handling HR problems.”
That footprint might tell of an insider threat, it can recognize top talent, identify potential human resource issues or point out ways a company might improve its bottom line.
“It's powerful, but employees see value in it, too,” Schumann says. “It helps them communicate better than they did before, and it can save them time by showing them how to accomplish tasks in a better and different fashion.”
Wiretap works with all sorts of industries, and because Central Ohio has positive livability factors, the company is able to tap more than just digital platforms.
“In the beginning we were told it would be hard to grow in Columbus and attract the right talent,” Schumann says. “We've proven the naysayers wrong and have brought in the best talent from all over the world who want to come here and build this technology.”
The vibrant IT ecosystem that exists in the Region has also been a boon, allowing Wiretap to draw on expertise in areas related to its work, Schumann says.
“To be successful you have to move fast, and we don't have all the resources that come with a mega enterprise,” he says. “So we have partnerships to offset our knowledge gaps, and Columbus has everything you need across all disciplines.”
Moving forward, Wiretap must continue to look at the existing bigger picture while creating new visions for building on its business, Schumann says.
“One of the most important things to survive and thrive is the ability to out-innovate the bigger players, so we have to move very, very fast and use the ecosystem of Columbus to our advantage,” he says.
“We have to think about and engineer things that have never been done before. It's incredibly stressful, but when you get a bunch of smart people in a room, you can do it, and we are well underway,” Schumann says.