Chris Murray founded Sheffield-based Bleam Cyber Security, in UK’s South Yorkshire county, with a focus on helping small and mid-market businesses understand their cybersecurity risks and stay well ahead of cybercriminals and data breaches.
Bleam’s focus on managed security, incident response, and consulting reflects the company’s passion for cybersecurity. “We’re not a traditional managed service provider,” explains Chris. “We help customers understand their cyber risks with a goal of not only ensuring small businesses can achieve their security goals, but also benefit from enterprise-grade cloud security technologies.”
The company serves businesses and organizations across multiple market sectors – many have specific regulatory or compliance requirements. Says Chris, “We provide the essential security capabilities and consultation to help customers achieve certification with standards such as Cyber Essentials, Cyber Essentials Plus, and ISO 27001, as well as compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).”
He adds, “You can say I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to cybersecurity. At the end of the day, we want our clients to achieve their security goals and continually improve their security postures.”
Bleam’s laser focus on cybersecurity was borne from Chris’ frustrations with both the lack of advanced security technology designed for the SME and mid-markets and a lack of ownership of cyber risks at a board level.
“I continue to see big gaps in the market when it comes to addressing SME security needs. When you look at the vendors that develop security technology, most are either not interested in serving SMEs or their solutions are too complex for easy adoption,” he explains. “Now consider the number of SMEs adopting digital initiatives and growing their virtual workforces, and you can see that advanced endpoint and network protection is absolutely critical for this market – and this has been literally non-existent. Security needs to be focused on the endpoint and users, especially considering the ever growing mobile working practices.”
Simpson Associates, a Bleam client, faced this exact challenge. The York-based data analytics consultancy, providing data and performance management solutions for public and private sector organisations across the UK, needed better web protection for its fast-growing distributed workforce, as well as visibility to users’ web behaviors. The company also required ongoing network insights to meet audits and achieve industry certifications in order to compete effectively in their market.
Chris explains, “Simpson Associates is an agile, modern business with complex security needs – the team needed specific security capabilities without adding to their IT toolset or requiring more management and maintenance.”
To respond effectively to Simpson Associates’ needs, as well as other clients with similar challenges, Bleam chose to work with the Avast Business team and provide the Avast Business Secure Internet Gateway solution and its Private Access (ZPA) edition.
“Secure Internet Gateway is truly a game-changer for SME security. Solving for modern security requirements, where SSL inspection of Internet traffic is critical, has traditionally been done using firewalls and on-premise appliances,” explains Chris. “After testing and evaluating Secure Internet Gateway, we quickly realized it’s a brilliant solution. The level of threat detection and protection is on par with very advanced enterprise solutions, yet it’s easy to manage and doesn’t add costs or tap people resources.”
Secure Internet Gateway is designed to eliminate gaps in security caused by legacy systems, on-premise security hardware, and Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances. Delivered from the Avast Business CloudCare platform, it provides total enterprise-grade, cloud-based security to protect both endpoints and networks.
Network security services such as full SSL/TLS Internet inspection, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), firewall, and sandboxing capabilities can be delivered and managed quickly and easily. All security rules, content filters, policies, and configurations can also be managed from a single view within the CloudCare platform. No additional management platforms are needed, regardless of the number of locations or users.
“The controls and visibility help customers actively demonstrate compliance while ensuring security. Simply complying with a standard does not necessarily mean that you’re secure, but with both Secure Internet Gateway and Private Access, you can achieve high levels of security and the ability to quickly demonstrate compliance as well as Want to see how the Avast Business product portfolio can help you differentiate your business, save money, and win new customers? Visit www.avast.com/business. CS-BLEAM-11-20 certification with industry standards like Cyber Essentials or ISO 27001.” says Chris.
With support from Bleam and the Avast Business team, Simpson Associates deployed Secure Internet Gateway just days before the COVID-19 pandemic mandated businesses to require employees to work from home.
According to Chris, Secure Internet Gateway not only delivered the web filtering and other Internet security protections that Simpson Associates required, but it also enabled the company to prepare for the unknown work environment driven by COVID-19 and provide secure remote work options for their entire workforce.
“The Simpson Associates team now has massive visibility across their network and users. They can identify web threats and can see Secure Internet Gateway’s advanced threat protection at work in real-time,” he adds. “From one platform, they have the tools to analyze hard to inspect encrypted web traffic as well as identify the right measures needed to meet audit requirements and achieve rigorous certifications like ISO 27001 without requiring significant time and expense.”
“Secure Internet Gateway is truly a first for small and mid-market cloudbased Internet protection – and one of the only solutions in the emerging Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) space that is completely designed for SME security needs and budgets,” he explains.
SASE (pronounced ‘sassy’) solutions are those that merge the functions of network and security point solutions into a unified, global cloud service. Gartner has referred to the SASE market sector as the future of network security, with solutions that enable the scalability, speed, and agility that businesses require for their digital initiatives.
From his experience, Chris shares that “Avast Business is well ahead of the curve, having the vision to develop this as a viable option for SMEs and their MSSPs and MSPs.”