In today’s interconnected digital world, cybersecurity and penetration testing have become paramount. With cyber threats becoming increasingly sophisticated, organizations must take proactive measures to protect their systems and data from malicious actors. Robust security protocols, continuous threat monitoring, and effective incident response plans are essential for safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining the trust of customers and stakeholders.
Penetration testing, also known as ethical hacking, plays a crucial role in identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in systems, allowing organizations to address these issues proactively. By prioritizing cybersecurity and conducting regular penetration testing, businesses can stay ahead of cyber threats and safeguard their valuable assets from potential breaches.
In this issue of The Enterprise World’s Best Cybersecurity Solution Providers to Watch in 2023, we present the inspiring journey of Alacrinet, a leading cybersecurity company that serves as your go-to full-service security partner.
Alacrinet was established in the year 2002, during the early days of the .com boom, when there was a growing demand for information technology experts. Companies across the US sought these services to ensure proper implementation and benefit from the emerging technologies.
Founder Brian Bouchard started Alacrinet Consulting Services with a vision to become a leading information technology services provider, catering especially to mid and large enterprise customers. During its initial years, Alacrinet played a pivotal role in helping enterprises adopt new technologies, paving the way for their digital transformation. Their expertise ranged from building web portals to assisting companies in developing e-commerce platforms for selling products and services.
“For the first 10 or maybe even 12 years, we primarily focused on services centered around digital transformation.”
As the company evolved, it ventured into business intelligence, enabling them to gain valuable insights from the vast data generated by the growing number of systems. However, the turning point came around 2013 when cybersecurity emerged as a major concern. With the rise of hackers and their advanced tactics, every system and organization faced threats, despite having basic security measures like firewalls and antivirus software.
This posed a significant challenge for businesses, as valuable information was stored behind limited security constraints, making it easier for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities and cause disruptions. The increasing number of breaches and cyberattacks emphasized the urgent need for better security services.
The evolving landscape of cybersecurity propelled Alacrinet to shift its focus and expertise toward providing comprehensive security solutions, addressing the rising concerns, and safeguarding businesses from potential damages and losses.
During that period, companies like Q1 Labs developed a robust security information event management system, which became the backbone for monitoring all inbound and outbound traffic within organizations.
Recognizing the potential, Alacrinet viewed this development as an opportunity, especially since they already served numerous information technology customers and were actively working on various solutions and implementations for them.
As their customers encountered similar security challenges simultaneously, Alacrinet realized the pressing need for specialized cybersecurity expertise. This prompted them to transition into a prominent player in the emerging field of cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity is a complex domain that demands the involvement of skilled experts to effectively implement security solutions and safeguard the organization’s valuable assets.
In 2013, Alacrinet took a strategic shift, placing cybersecurity at the forefront of its services, and ever since they have been dedicating significant efforts and resources to cater to the cybersecurity needs of its clients.
Overcoming Challenges and Becoming a Cybersecurity Expert
In its early days, Alacrinet faced its first significant challenge when restaurants experienced a breach in their Point of Sale (POS) systems. This breach was not limited to just one organization; other businesses also encountered difficulties in their payment systems. The hackers gained access to thousands of pieces of sensitive information from the POS systems, and this stolen data was later sold on the dark web, resulting in substantial financial losses for many.
Around the same time, IBM made a significant move by acquiring Q1 Labs and their cybersecurity solution, QRadar, which focused on security information event management (SIEM). Alacrinet recognized the value of this product and recommended it to numerous clients, assisting them with its implementation. Through this process, Alacrinet grasped the importance of SIEM security intelligence in managing risks for both large and medium-sized companies.
As a result of these experiences, Alacrinet made a strategic decision to become an expert in the field of cybersecurity. Since then, the company has continuously honed its expertise to address the increasing challenges posed by the pandemic and the growing number of sophisticated hackers. With the rise of ransomware attacks, Alacrinet has witnessed the severity of the losses suffered by its customers, further emphasizing the need for robust cybersecurity measures.
Alacrinet offers a diverse range of services through its four distinct departments, with a primary focus on providing comprehensive cybersecurity and enterprise solutions. Within the realm of cybersecurity, Alacrinet covers various categories, including SIEM, EDR endpoint detection, CASB (Cloud Access Security Brokerages), and identity and access management tools like Okta.
The company boasts a diverse portfolio of approximately 80-100 cybersecurity solutions, with particular expertise in Penetration Testing, a critical service for identifying vulnerabilities.
In their Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) department, Alacrinet ensures expert management of implemented cybersecurity solutions through their Security Operations Center (SOC).
Furthermore, Alacrinet’s Cybersecurity Staffing service has gained significant traction, providing top-notch staff for companies seeking in-house security management.
“What sets us apart is our ability to offer such a wide array of services, eliminating the need for clients to seek support from multiple vendors.”
Here is an in-depth overview of Alacrinet’s solutions:
Managed Security Services:
Recognizing that every business has its unique security requirements, Alacrinet offers a range of service options tailored to your specific needs. This includes full 24x7x365 monitoring, alerting, and response for some, while for others, it involves handling administrative tasks and maintaining uptime.
Alacrinet’s Penetration Testing service identifies vulnerabilities in your security infrastructure and ensures compliance with comprehensive tests. Using a Grey Box approach, the team provides a thorough analysis, using automated scans to test the strength of your credentials and manual testing by experts to identify less common vulnerabilities.
Vulnerability Assessments & Security Reporting:
Different projects and compliance regulations demand various types of reports. Alacrinet’s team is well-versed in compliance reporting intricacies and possesses the necessary skills and tools to assist your team effectively.
Scan: Through Vulnerability Assessments, Alacrinet quickly identifies gaps in your security using automated scans, providing valuable insights to enhance your security measures.
Analyze: NIST-CSF reporting offers a thorough analysis of your entire environment.
Assist: Alacrinet provides Pre-ISO and Pre-CMMC Audit Assistance to ensure compliance.
Solutions + Services: Many companies have already made substantial investments in software solutions and prefer to retain control over their security choices. Therefore, Alacrinet continues to offer leading security solutions for implementation on your network and provides additional services where a human touch is required.
Integrations & Customizations:
Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social, and Portal provide essential solutions for your IT infrastructure. Seamless integration with your existing security tools is crucial. With years of experience in implementing top-notch solutions, Alacrinet’s team of engineers, analysts, and developers is ready to tackle your most complex challenges.
“We harness exceptional technology to develop and integrate customized solutions.”
A New Approach to Cybersecurity
When it comes to Penetration Testing, Alacrinet employs ex-Black Hats, experts in their field. These former hackers have hands-on experience breaking into other companies’ systems. Alacrinet ensures that all its pen testers adhere to strict ethical standards and comply with applicable laws and regulations to deliver effective and secure services to clients.
“We have assembled a team of highly skilled professionals with a unique background in ethical hacking. Often referred to as ‘X Black Hats,’ they possess the expertise and experience to uncover vulnerabilities in our customers’ systems. By hiring them, we can reveal the true extent of our customers’ security weaknesses and provide valuable insights. This unconventional approach sets us apart and underscores our commitment to delivering comprehensive and impactful pen testing services,” says Brian.
Once Alacrinet identifies vulnerabilities through its pen testing, the team takes immediate action to help clients secure their systems.
“Leveraging our advanced cybersecurity solutions, we provide effective measures to address the identified weaknesses.”
This gives clients confidence in the security of their infrastructure, knowing that Alacrinet has addressed significant vulnerabilities that could have been exploited by real black hat hackers.
The company’s unique advantage lies in its team of experienced former black hat hackers who possess in-depth knowledge of hacking techniques.
“Working with us allows our clients to benefit from the expertise of our professionals, who possess the capability to identify vulnerabilities that may go unnoticed by other pen testing companies relying solely on automated tools,” adds Brian.
Alacrinet recognizes that security demands a proactive approach, and the team’s ability to individually assess and penetrate infrastructures helps clients gain a comprehensive understanding of their vulnerabilities.
Brian Bouchard – The Driving Force
Summing up CEO Brian Bouchard’s impressive career graph in a nutshell, it would be accurate to say that he is the pillar of Alacrinet. After completing his graduation in 1996, he embarked on a journey with IBM, where his passion for programming flourished. Brian holds an MIS degree in addition to an Accounting double major from the University of Hawaii, along with a minor in Computer Science. His love for programming was evident, and when the .com era was on the rise, he saw opportunities that led him to object-oriented programming and Web application development building business solutions.
“I naturally chose the programming position.”
Upon joining IBM, Brian found himself surrounded by an abundance of learning opportunities, and he was determined to make the most of it. IBM operated on a global scale, selling hardware through a channel, with their channel partners responsible for selling 50% of the hardware produced. Surprisingly, none of IBM’s enterprise software was sold through a channel at the time. This realization sparked inspiration in Brian, and he shared his vision with his colleagues at IBM.
“Let’s join IBM’s partner channel. We’ll resell each and every piece of business software.”
This marked the beginning of the business journey. In 2002, they established Alacrinet, which swiftly rose to the top of IBM’s enterprise software partners.
“I am delighted that we were able to expand Alacrinet into a national business, and that has been my objective for the past seven years.”
Setting benchmarks in accomplishments, Alacrinet successfully expanded beyond its area of expertise. Cybersecurity has been embraced across markets nationwide, and the entire team takes immense pride in the recognition of Alacrinet as a leader by consumers from various markets across the nation.
Building the Team – “I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best people.”
According to Brian, creating the Alacrinet team has been one of the most innovative processes. The most successful tactic for Alacrinet has been encouraging team members to bounce ideas off one another. This collaborative approach has resulted in the development of stronger concepts and has led them to success at every turn.