Andrew Rinaldi of Defendify

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Andrew Rinaldi, the co-founder of Defendify, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Defendify – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

From day one, our mission has been to make cybersecurity possible for small business. Traditionally, cybersecurity has, for the most part, been reserved for the enterprise. My business partner and I both ran small businesses that could not even begin to think about affording enterprise level solutions. It just wasn’t feasible and didn’t make financial sense. At the same time, the stats coming out were astounding, showing that small businesses were under attack just as much as larger ones. When we vetted the market for a solution, we couldn’t find one. Nobody was paying attention to the small businesses and we took that personally. That’s when we knew we needed to find a way. If we could bring affordable, flexible, ongoing cybersecurity to small businesses, we’d be addressing an absolutely massive business and societal issue, helping the millions of small businesses that are the unsung heroes and undercurrent of our economy. That was enough for us – we never turned back.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

Awareness is one of the biggest hurdles we have to face each and every day. Cybersecurity, while around for ages for enterprises, is still a very new concept for most small businesses. A big part of our business and go-to-market strategy hinges on that educational component. Many still think antivirus and firewalls equal cybersecurity, or that there is some kind of magic bullet that you install and you’re all set with cybersecurity. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that cybersecurity is about so much more and has to encompass plans, policies, procedures, awareness training, education, testing, and technology that goes beyond antivirus and firewalls. The sum of all those parts results in what we call a cybersecurity posture. It’s kind of like your health – you can’t just eat spinach one day and expect to be good to go. You have to eat well, exercise, take care of yourself, and you have to do it every day.

What does the future hold for Defendify?

We are tackling an absolutely massive problem in the market – something that impacts millions and millions of businesses. We will continue to drive our message out there, with an eye toward those small businesses with under 500 employees. In doing so, we will expand our vision and product to meet the changing needs of the small business market and address new and shifting threats. The small business market is in desperate need of the ‘QuickBooks’ of cybersecurity to easily deploy and manage comprehensive, affordable, and scalable cybersecurity. That’s our goal and we don’t expect to stop until we reach the masses and protect all those vital small businesses that are out there and need help.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Portland?

Portland, Maine has a lot going for it. We’re so glad to be a big part of it. There is a groundswell of activity going on in the local tech startup community and it’s really gaining some traction. One of the big reasons for that is the amazing sense of community and camaraderie, not to mention the amazing support coming from a variety of groups promoting the cause like Startup Maine, FAME, and the Maine Venture Fund. And, of course, the Maine Technology Institute is at the center of it all. It’s a tremendous organization that really helps tech startups get off the ground at very early stages. They’ve been instrumental in our success and the success of so many other tech startups in Maine. It’s an organization that not everyone knows about, but should.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Don’t give up, don’t ever give up! It’s a roller coaster ride and you shouldn’t expect anything different. A constant journey of highs and lows and pivots. And if that doesn’t suit you, be honest with yourself and perhaps consider something else. Honesty, within yourself and your business, is paramount to driving success. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask for help. One thing I’ve learned is that people are extremely gracious with their time and advice and want to help – you just have to find them and talk to them. Turn over every rock, don’t give up – there is always a way!


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