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Small Biz Insider: Global Cyberattack Takeaways with Houston Startup

Published Jun 23, 2021 by Maggie Martin

Small Biz Insider co-founder and CEO Ted Gutierrez (left) and CISO Bill Lawrence. Photos courtesy of

Cybersecurity has been on the minds of many companies in the past year, especially those whose employees have been working remotely. It's also an especially topical issue given a couple of international incidents that made headlines. In May, the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack caused gas shortages in parts of the country. And then a cyberattack disrupted the world's largest meat processing company, JBS, earlier this month. What lessons should Houston businesses in any sector take away from that event?

For, cybersecurity isn't just on their minds. It's what they do. The Houston-based cyber security software startup founded in 2017 has a risk management platform aims to help industrial companies understand cyber risks sooner and make improvements faster. It's a service that's in very high demand as evident by the company's 1000% year over year growth.

In this episode of the Small Biz Insider podcast, we talk with co-founder and CEO Ted Gutierrez and CISO Bill Lawrence about what lessons Houston companies can learn from recent cyberattacks that made international headlines and what businesses can do today to better protect their assets. 

Highlights from this episode below. 

On takeaways for Houston companies from recent cyberattacks

"They offer up a perspective that virtually everybody with an at - energy company - dot - com email address, everybody that has keys to that energy facility, everybody that works as a vendor to that energy company all equally play a role in bridging hands, following the same guidelines from a framework and assessment perspective of ‘what’s our core responsibility to make sure that that company doesn’t ever have this happen to them," said Gutierrez. "And so it’s an eye-opening experience. We don’t have to overthink this. Just be vigilant."

Lawrence added it's getting harder and harder to know if cyberattacks are coming domestically or internationally. Criminals have a way of masking their trail, he said. Cybersecurity challenges for most companies include defending against ransomware threats, which played a factor in both the Colonial Pipeline and JBS events. Lawrence also noted other challenges include the potential loss of intellectual company from a company as well as compromising customer data.  

On steps Houston businesses should take today to beef up cybersecurity measures

Both Gutierrez and Lawrence advise companies to take a good risk assessment of their systems to figure out what investments they can make to better protect their assets. Gutierrez noted he generally sees Houston business leaders taking the right steps and investing in cybersecurity. 

“I’m really hopeful that the leaders in the Houston community – they got the right head on their shoulders and they’re looking at this from a long-term perspective, not just a short-term ‘what can we fix today?’ Because these adversaries are very patient. And so this is a long-term marathon and so I see the right energy being placed in the right places," he said. 

Lawrence told Small Biz Insider Host Maggie Martin that investing in cybersecurity is the cost of doing business. 

“Cybersecurity is not a bolt-on anymore. It is really a fundamental piece of how a company gets its products and services out to the customers and defends that and the customer data," he said. 

On how COVID-19 impacted SecurityGate's growth

"We have had some incredible growth over the course of the last five months because I don’t think people can get in front of the clients anymore," Gutierrez said. "So they’re looking for a digital capability to reach their clients and delight them and showcase quickly through some insights where they want to add value. And so I think the pandemic did change it. I don’t see that changing back to the way it was. And so combined with the industrial cybersecurity push right now, I actually believe that it’s digital transformation that is driving the increased demand at SecurityGate and attraction we’re having.” 

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