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NexDefense Left The Valley For ATL’s Thriving Security Scene

by Raven Davis

NexDefense is a cybersecurity dream team creating software to address modern-day cyber threats. Founded in 2012 by Michael Sayre, Michael Assante and Derek Harp, NexDefense allows security professionals to monitor automation and control systems more efficiently and in real-time using a software called Sophia. The company was originally headquartered in California, but relocated to Atlanta because of our reputation as a center of information security.

Read on for more information about this technology, how it operates within the cybersecurity market, and what sets it apart from other cybersecurity solutions.  

NexDefense empowers automation and control systems operators in critical infrastructure and defense facilities with real-time knowledge to maintain system integrity and combat sophisticated security threats. Our first commercially available cybersecurity software is proven to provide insight and control over threats and increase compliance without sacrificing a facility’s productivity or performance.

Year Founded:

Number of Employees:
We have a team of about 25

Founders and Board Members: Michael Assante, Derek Harp, Tom Noonan, Michael Sayre
Executives: Loney Crist, Preston Futrell, Graham Speake

Funding or bootstrapped: 
We have secured $2.4 million in angel funding. Expect a Series A announcement in the first half of 2015.

What market are you disrupting, and how is NexDefense disruptive in that market?
We focus on cybersecurity for automation and control systems in critical infrastructures and defense facilities. Cyber threats on these systems are becoming more frequent, aggressive and sophisticated. Our first software product, Sophia, provides passive, real-time visibility to detect and control these complex threats.

Revenue Model:
Software licensing

How’d You Get The Idea For It?
NexDefense is led by the foremost authorities on cybersecurity for automation and industrial controls, and we have exclusive rights to commercially license Sophia. The software is the result of extensive collaboration between the United States Department of Energy, Battelle Energy Alliance and the cybersecurity experts of Idaho National Laboratory.

The concept for Sophia originated in response to the concerns of energy and defense organizations, and the recommendations of engineers assessing real-time threats and response protocols. Since 2011, more than 70 industry and government organizations have beta-tested Sophia in developing and enhancing their cybersecurity strategies and programs.

Who are your competitors and how do you stand out?
There are not currently any direct competitors to NexDefense, because other cybersecurity solutions for industrial control systems are not passive and don’t provide the real-time insight that Sophia does. However, a few similar companies include: Industrial Defender, Nessus, Mandant and Solar Winds.

NexDefense stands out because of our leadership. Technology can be reproduced, but trusted thought leaders, recognized subject matter experts and commercialization experts cannot. They are especially relevant and powerful in emerging industries where leading edge technologies are needed to fulfill ever-changing industry requirements.

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