The Silicon Review
Starting a cyber security company in this dangerous era requires a lot of grit and determination. You need to be frequently updated with the latest trends in cybercrime and come up with solutions to mitigate the threats that can arise from it. Everything comes down to meticulous planning and the forbearance to understand these market trends.
SyncDog CEO Jonas Gyllensvaan is one man who possesses these qualities with great aplomb. The company has offices in Reston, VA; Ottawa and Ontario, Canada.
Founded in 2013, SyncDog is the leading independent software vendor (ISV) for building secure infrastructure frameworks that protect enterprise networks from cyber breach from mobile computing sources. The SentinelSecure™ product line for application containerization and IoT (Internet of Things) module monitoring provide the industry’s most proactive approach to securing enterprise mobility computing.
SyncDog, based in the Washington, DC metro area’s sells its solutions in both direct and indirect channels. The flexibility of the mobile app container allows the solution to be sold as standalone or bundled with a number of industry-leading MDM solutions, most notably MobileIron. SyncDog also has technology partnering agreements with EMM providers Snow Software, Notify Technology, and MAM provider Apperian.
SyncDog’s vertical focus is Banking/Finance, Healthcare, Federal/ State government and Aerospace.
SyncDog is based in Northern Virginia, so North America is its primary geography, with several distributors in place. It is also working with partners in the EU to bring to market localized white label offerings in several countries, and have just signed a distribution agreement with an organization in South America.
The company’s SentinelSecure™ data security solution delivers military-grade secure mobile device partitions or “containers” that can secure emails/contacts, calendar items, IM apps, Internet browsers, mobile file stores and other business apps provisioned on personal devices to be used in a BYOD or COPE (corporate owned personally enabled) setting.
SyncDog is focused on constantly improving the app functionality within the secure container. The more secure it makes mobile computing with an extensive library of mobile applications, the faster its customers will realize ROI. The company will continue to increase the number of business tools and the secure interaction of device-to-datacenter within the product.
In Conversation with the Key Executive
What was the motivation to start the company, and how did it all come together?
When I started SyncDog in 2013, I had already been working in mobile technology for years and noticed growing gaps in the marketplace for mobile security. The large international full-service IT vendors had very little competition and this created a mobile security market with bullish business practices – rigid and expensive pricing structures, numerous acquisitions leading to poor or discontinued customer support, endless integration cycles, and mass-produced solutions with little focus on customer requirements that made sense. Ultimately, customers were tossed around with little alternative. I knew I could leverage my mobile technology subject matter expertise to challenge enterprise IT vendors with flexible, customer-centric solutions and service.
Can you help us understand the current market landscape?
The EMM market has evolved and matured to the point where a recent trend of consolidation has a large number of independent vendors absorbed into large international full-service IT vendors. This has changed the market in a way – leaving an innovation and flexibility void as MDM/EMM services are monopolized and commoditized. BlackBerry’s acquisition of Good Technology last year was a telling sign of power struggles among enterprise mobile IT vendors as well. With each acquisition, key resources and knowledge from the acquired company are let go. In its wake are the customers and end users struggling for affordable solutions and support to manage them. There’s an opportunity in this market for ISVs to step up with sharp, flexible security solutions that are cost-effective, easy to manage, and focus on customer requests.
How is your company positioned in the current market scenario?
SyncDog is uniquely positioned in the market to offer the most flexible solutions that deliver the most comprehensive mobile security. As previously stated, it is often the case that large international software vendors that develop and support resources from acquisitions is reduced to levels where it can’t support innovation and customer service. The acquiring companies generally go into a sort of maintenance mode with the solution that is acquired. It’s true there is some integration, but very little innovation.
In many cases, the acquiring company is after the customer base. The resulting ability to support, service, and provide personal attention following an acquisition is lacking or discontinued entirely we’ve seen some of with the Good Technology/BlackBerry merger. As an ISV, SyncDog bypasses the volatility trending in the EMM/MDM market by taking a personal, hands-on approach to customer requirements and using that ground-level feedback to build the most relevant mobile security solutions.
What are the pain points of the industry addressed by the company?
As BYOD and COPE force organizations into better EMM strategies, attention must now be focused on securing the data on devices versus the physical management of devices. Mobility as a whole is turning into another endpoint for government and industry to manage as the market looks beyond MDM to determine what tool can be used to protect key data from all mobile threats – whether internal or external.
Aside from the volatility and unpredictability in the market, due to ever-changing solutions, we’re noticing a “see-saw” problem in enterprise mobile security where government or industry would either have an EMM investment that was too secure to be functional, or too open to be secure. Many mobile containers out there connect via VPNs which are known to be slow and unstable. VPNs are also known for high resource utilization, and high total cost of ownership. Enterprises often find themselves with a device-level security tool that lacks the productivity they experience from working within the firewall.
Incorporating a containerized approach to mobile security shouldn’t eliminate the productivity advantage that mobile technology made possible in the first place, and that’s one of many reasons we created SentinelSecureTM.
Please give us a brief overview of the products and services offered by your company
SyncDog’s flagship enterprise mobility security product is SentinelSecureTM. This containerized mobile workspace allows organizations to control and manage how employees exchange relevant, time-critical information back forth between their devices and the organizations’ secure networks. Our “containerized” mobility security partition protects organizational data by employing FIPS 140-2 certified (cert. #2687), AES 256-bit encryption with a simple software-based deployment and no impact to productivity or application functionality.
The standard configuration of SentinelSecureTM comes with a full suite of productivity applications including SharePoint, Enterprise and Local Chat, Geo-location Services, DropBox, a personal Information Management (PIM) suite, Office 365, Secure Mobile App Management & Development, File Sync, and many more. Applications are categorized in these four key workflows:
SentinelSecureTM can be deployed as a standalone container or as a complement to existing EMM/MDM investments. We have a solid partner ecosystem and have certified integration with MobileIron EMM, Snow Software EMM, Notify Technology EMM, and Apperian Mobile Application Management Platform, and we have field integrations with other EMMs and MDMs. SentinelSecureTM has version builds available with industry-specific configurations for Healthcare and U.S. Government Department of Defense workflow requirements.
Finally, as IoT continues to mature, SyncDog offers its SentinelSecureTM Infrastructure Framework for IoT, an agent-based software that monitors IoT modules and tracks access to your network. This tracking data is sent to SyncDog’s EMM solution or any other EMM.
What are the differentiating factors that set SyncDog apart from its competitors?
Organizations need a mobile security solution that offers the best possible device-level security and SOC monitoring capabilities without sacrificing end-user productivity. We listen to our customers, and while we can never predict with 100% accuracy what the next big thing will be, our open, exploratory approach with existing and potential customers yields clearly defined development plans for our solutions. After that? We’re a small company with the ability to move quickly. We can make adjustments that satisfy customer requests more nimbly than full-service IT vendors. But most importantly, we make adjustments that make sense to customers and to the marketplace.
We are going to grow this business gradually so I can remain informed in the day to day architecture and development decisions. Playing a personal role in the smallest parts of our customer relationships and solution development allows me to see trends and opportunities before they mature.
When we identify a problem, we act from the standpoint of “security first,” and all development decisions are made with this in mind; then flexibility –we adjust to the customer and deliver on key requirements quickly; then independence – we do not rely on a MDM or any other technical framework, so we can be easily deployed with no infrastructure dependencies; and finally, scalable integration – once deployed, the framework allows for unlimited investment by companies mobilizing their business workflows.
What is SyncDog’s Revenue Model?
SyncDog is based in the Washington, DC metro area. We sell our solutions through both direct and indirect channels. The flexibility of the mobile app container allows the solution to be sold as standalone or bundled with a number of industry-leading MDM solutions, most notably MobileIron. SyncDog also has technology partnering agreements with EMM providers Snow Software, Notify Technology, and MAM provider Apperian.
Snow Software, based in the EU provides a distribution and support channel in Europe. SyncDog also has offices in Canada with development and support staff also located there. We are currently working on establishing partner channels in Latin America and Asia.
Who are some of your biggest clients?
Given the nature of IT security across government and industry, our clients are proprietary and must remain anonymous. However, you can get a feel for our reach by looking at our partner ecosystem listed above.
What is the road map ahead for SyncDog?
SyncDog is continually improving the end-user experience in the SentinelSecureTM mobile container. We are working hard to increase application offerings, and our work with a couple of mobile app development partners is giving each organization a secure environment to develop productivity applications that speak to their individual requirements. We are also actively growing our partner ecosystem, teaming up with EMM, MDM, and MAM providers to give our customers the ability to deploy SentinelSecureTM as a complement to existing mobile security investments or as a standalone EMM solution.
Additionally, we are adding infrastructure to SyncDog SentinelSecureTM in the coming months to provide more context-capable deployment of end-user policy management per organization. Geo-location and geo-fencing via GPS data and time-sensitive policy enforcement are a couple of examples of new things in store for our customers.
Geographically speaking, we are continuing to expand with a new development office in New Brunswick, Canada, and we have partnered with a large mobile solutions provider in Europe, Snow Software. This ecosystem will enhance customer service and we’ll better understand marketplace requirements, while increasing the reach of our vision. We hope that in the coming years our influence in mobile security will reach government agencies, law enforcement agencies, banking, finance, healthcare, and others. We’re already knocking on some of those doors right now.
Meet the Founder
Jonas Gyllensvaan, CEO and Founder: Jonas Gyllensvaan is a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in mobile IT solution development and software business development. Jonas has founded three successful start-ups and is a current board adviser to several others. Over the past 20 years, Jonas has designed, developed and implemented technology projects for government agencies and commercial enterprises in more than a dozen countries.
Jonas spends a good portion of his time visiting customers and traveling to leading industry conferences learning about client and marketplace needs, using this knowledge to build solutions with a focus on technology architecture, product design and business management. Across his 20-year career in mobile IT, Jonas has a proven track record of leading-edge product development, building profitable companies while forging beneficial business partnerships for clients.