Michael Ferris of Abacode

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Michael Ferris, the founder and CEO of Abacode, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Abacode – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

We were literally “born out of the board room” and set out to solve the most critical cybersecurity business challenges facing C-Level leadership today. Our focus was to solve three major issues facing leadership:

  1. Complexity and Confusion – Most IT leaders inside organizations do not have the time, expertise, or resources to evaluate all of the cybersecurity and compliance products in the market place today. Because of this, we created a Cybersecurity Applied Research Lab (CARL) to help them evaluate, rank, and qualify which products are best for them. In effect, we’ve quieted the noise and brought structure to help them make better strategic decisions.
  2. Cost Controls – When we speak with most CFOs, they aren’t really clear on what their cyber-spend should be and what they get for it. We provide them with an easy to understand dashboard that shows them their entire spend and allows them to run scenarios like: “If we spend X, what does that do to my cyber-risk profile and compliance mandates”. It’s powerful for all finance folks and the biggest feedback we get is that Abacode allows them to make strategic purchasing decisions that ultimately help save them time and money.
  3. Governance & Compliance – Our goal was to provide boards of directors and CEOs something today that they didn’t have yesterday, and that is to give them a win in this fight against cyber-threats. A large majority of boards of directors and CEOs do not have a technical background, so it’s confusing for them to truly understand if they’re doing the right things to protect their data and become cyber-secure. We provide a new governance model that allows the CEO and board of directors to finally have the right checks & balances and reporting in place to enable the entire business to be set up for success. This is a very different approach than most of the other suppliers offering cybersecurity and compliance solutions.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

People. I am a huge believer that you must surround yourself with the best and brightest in order to be successful. We have that group at Abacode and will continue to seek out this type of talent. It isn’t easy as a young company. You have to incentivize teammates with things other than just money. What we’ve learned is that we’ve been able to find amazing talent who are looking for a rewarding career, and truly feel they are making the “right” impact in our industry – money isn’t their number one priority. What they are able to achieve and the impact they leave is bigger than dollars and cents.

What does the future hold for Abacode?

It’s limitless. We’re constantly innovating and adding value to partners and clients in a way that other firms just aren’t able too. We’re becoming a leader in 24/7 managed security and our ability to align a company’s cybersecurity and compliance initiatives under one roof. To this end, the sky is the limit.

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

I love it. Watching companies like KnowB4 and Reliaquest gain national/international attention is great to see, and all startups should be excited about that. Abacode is gaining national attention for our unique 24/7 managed threat detection and response (MDR) services, and this is partly due to the many great companies who have shined the spotlight on our city. A national audience is learning what we have already known for a long time about the Tampa Bay Region – we have the talent and ecosystem to drive sustained growth that can compete with any region on the planet.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Focus, hard work, and people. There is no silver bullet to success, but if you try and master these three, you’re ahead of the game. In addition to this, stay humble. My belief is that every day is a good day! There are many people in this world who don’t have their health or opportunities to achieve greatness. If you’ve been blessed with both, then work your butt off to get the most out of the talent God has given you. No excuses.

 

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series

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