Growing up in South Florida, Howard Hellman, Founder of Aerobyte Cyber Defense, developed an early love for technology. His family owned a video game business in the eighties and Hellman, at a young age, found passion and became proficient with computers. After earning a degree of Applied Psychology from The University of South Florida in 1993, he returned home and started his career with Data Resource Group (DRG). He spent five and a half years with DRG, where he served as VP of Sales and became one of the company’s top sales people. By the summer of 1999, however, Hellman was ready to forge his own path.
“Around this same time, I met Bill Tabor, my current partner with Aerobyte Cyber Defense,” Hellman said. “He was working with a security ‘think tank’ in Deerfield Beach, Florida. They were designing and developing interesting solutions that still would solve many problems today. The main product that was being offered was a biometric crypto smart card for both physical and logical access that was unbreakable.”
Hellman had a tremendous amount experience building distributed and high-performance computing environments with DRG and decided to enhance his knowledge by incorporating Cyber security.
“Bill and I had a good idea of where the market was heading and developed several products and concepts that are just being implemented today. This was during a time when organizations were trying to figure out how to deploy virtualization, and security was not something that many people were concerned with at the time.”
Hellman spent the next 10 years honing his Security and Cyber Defense skills and contributed to the growth and success of three separate companies – including one he owned. As Owner of DataQuest Technologies, he worked with a security incubator developing technologies that positively identify a user through advanced bio-metrics and digital certificates – using an advanced Cryptographic Smart Card. He also worked with the research team to understand weaknesses in perimeter security and came up with an out-of-the-box solution by protecting data from the inside out.
“In a nutshell, a lot of the stuff we developed between 2004 and 2008 is just now being rolled out today,” Hellman said. “Unfortunately, at the time, we weren’t able to get our signature product together. Very few experts truly understood the value of what we were building. Trying to introduce a new product into an established market is something that goes against the grain.”
Even though Aerobyte was founded in 2010, Hellman shared that it wasn’t until earlier this year that the company rebranded to Aerobyte Cyber Defense – a strategic move to help rollout Aerobyte’s Cyber Defense Framework (CDF) concept. Hellman also relocated their headquarters to Tampa to, in his own words; “position the company for success in an area more conducive to the growth of high-tech companies in Florida”.
“We solve the critical problem of protecting digital identities and the transference of electronic data/information,” Hellman said. “CDF defends and protects individuals, corporations, and governments from related threats based on a ‘Trust Model’. Our founders have developed the next generation Cyber Security architecture that protects organizations from the inside out where every endpoint with an IP address becomes the new perimeter.”
Hellman continued, “Aerobyte’s vision and understanding of ever-changing technology always keeps us several steps ahead of other market leaders. We have successfully revolutionized the way organizations protect themselves from some of the world’s most sophisticated data security problems. Our team has bundled 15 plus years of research and development into our solution offering. It took some time, but finally, the industry is looking in our direction and understands that a fundamental change in security architecture is required. Our CDF realigns previous security architectures and organizational thinking by addressing security from a new vantage point, our solution completely protects endpoints and information flow without any boundaries or borders. We’re not completely bullet proof, however our success depends on the right policies and procedures in regards to security and our CDF enforces those policies and procedures compared with what’s out there today. Aerobyte’s solutions close the vulnerability gap significantly and are designed to scale exponentially over time. We are considered Quantum Safe.”
Utilizing his vast network of industry connections and Aerobyte’s status as an IBM Channel Partner, Hellman recently established a partnership with KiwiTech – a technology services company and startup accelerator that assists entrepreneurs with transforming their ideas into new products. According the Hellman, the new relationship is an important component in getting the CDF product to market and raising additional capital for ongoing projects.
“I’ve received a lot of calls from people wanting to work with us, but something about KiwiTech caught my eye,” Hellman said. “They’ll provide some development work in exchange for equity. With their assistance, we’re raising money and building a team and we’ll be able to bring our CDF platform to market. When discussing what we’re doing, it used to be like speaking upon deaf ears. Now, more and more people get it. We provide true cyber defense, not analytics. We’re the guys that block and tackle at a bit and byte level. Even if a network is compromised, our security will still protect the data on it.”
Aerobyte is targeting enterprises and government level clients. Hellman is also positioning his company for the quantum computing “revolution”.
“When this happens, everyone and everything is going to be vulnerable to being hacked,” he said. “Quantum computing will chew up security systems. Assuming we raise the money we need to deploy our product, we’ll be ready to go.”
Hellman added, “I’d almost like to get to a point where we’re considered a utility like the Internet. Envision a security utility for the Internet that proves you’re a real person without repudiation and one that allows you to maintain anonymity while protecting your information, personal and private”
The mobile app being developed to deploy Aerobyte’s CDF platform is focused on going after the consumer market and getting people onto a trusted identity system by encrypting their voice, disabling their GPS, securing passwords and utilizing “trust levels” to maintain security. As Hellman shared, if they get all the funding they need, they’re only 90 days out from bringing their product to market. All the pieces are there, they just need to be sown together.
What advice does Hellman have for aspiring entrepreneurs? “Very simple – no matter what happens, get up and try again,” he said. “Learn from your mistakes and stay the course.”