applied security research
Erik Remmelzwaal - 06 jan 2021

#CES2021 – We Are Ready!

We are very excited to be part of the #CES2021NL mission! Meet us at CES (Januari 11-14) in our online booth 10609 and see how we solve global challenges with NLTech.

Erik Remmelzwaal, Co-Founder & CEO

Yes I indeed think we are ready for CES. At this virtual event we will showcase Zolder.App. I am convinced that this solution is a game-changer to the cybersecurity industry. It depends on who you are and what your role is as to how I need to explain this, because the ‘changing the game’ happens in a couple of ways. So let me simply elaborate on all of them.

By the way, if you were just looking for more info on our solution, I suggest you click onwards to the landing page: https://zolder.app.

Game-Changing for Customers

First of all, the most important viewpoint is that of customers. In my cybersecurity career I have mostly dealt with large enterprises. Including the largest and world-leading ones in The Netherlands. To be clear: a large enterprise in the EU is any organization with over 250 employees. Everything below that is considered SME. And the SME makes up 99.8% of all enterprises in the EU, covering 60% of added gross value.

Source: Eurostat (https://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/submitViewTableAction.do

Working with big brands and complex organizations was all fun and games, but as a business owner I have always been looking for ways to give proper support to small & medium businesses as well. That really wasn’t possible, as cybersecurity services are generally very tailor made and labor intensive. And I know – from working with partners/competitors – that I wasn’t the only one: there simply is no proper security service offering available to small & medium businesses. Too expensive to get a good expert in that will help you fix problems.

And so most SME’s rely on generic IT suppliers to – at best – cover security as a side offering. The result is not surprising. in December 2020 the EU published a report stating:

Over two-thirds of companies, in particular SMEs, are considered ‘novices’ in cybersecurity, and European companies are considered less well prepared than companies in Asia and America.

The EU’s cybersecurity strategy for the digital decade, Brussels 16.12.2020

Personally I consider this situation – the “Cyber n00biness of SME” – to be a global challenge, as it undermines any perceived solution coming from digitalization to solve other global challenges at all. If we can solve climate change, pandemics, famine or bifurcation with robotics or what have you, but the organizations driving that innovation are not capable to protect these innovations, we will fail.

Zolder.App changes this situation because it is low-cost and easy to understand. The latter might seem irrelevant in this viewpoint but it is the only way this solution will work. As for business owners of the smallest companies require simple language and explanations with their cyber solutions. Huge dashboards and drill down tables really do not fill that need.

The low-cost feature of Zolder.App of course is the bigger ticket here. For only 20 Euro per month, a business can get on-board. And that is an actual service with actual world-class cybersecurity experts providing actual protection. That’s so cheap that one might think it can’t be good, but they will be surprised. The reason why we are able to do this, is because of hyper-scale…

Game-Changing for Scalability

For the same reasons as set out above, managed security service providers (MSSPs) generally have a hard time scaling their solution. This stems from the old days in which every company had it’s own server room or data center, thus company-specific infrastructure. Supporting such environments as an MSSP results in tailor-made services and labor intensive processes. Once your service organization is setup like that it will be very hard to transform it to make use of the possibilities of the future. After all: employees performing human labor are not automatically able to write code to rule themselves out, nor do they want to.

At Zolder we had the opportunity to start from scratch. And we decided to fully embrace that opportunity to tackle the scalability problem. And so our customer is one that uses Microsoft 365 for office automation. We will support other cloud providers later on, but for the sake of this argument consider it’s all M365. What this allows us to do is build an infrastructure that connects to 1 cloud service, create security content (a bunch of scripts) to assess and monitor that service and then apply it to all customers at once.

So if we – or others, like MITRE ATT&CK – discover a new attack tactic, we build scripts to cover it. Test them in our own tenants, apply them to customers that signed up for early testing, and then roll them out to all others. This is 1 effort supporting all customers whether we have onboarded 1, 10, 100, 1000 or 100000000. The amount of work is no longer depending on the amount of customers, but on the amount of threats we need to protect them from. That’s game changing, as it allows us to rethink positioning.

Game-Changing for Marketing

Marketing? Yes marketing. You see, what we have to sell is expertise. The SERVICES part of the cybersecurity industry has grown used to the idea that this expertise can be monetized either by providing professional or managed services, that’s basically it. I don’t believe that ground belief is in-line with the promises of digital transformation we are in. There’s a lot more we can do with expertise, it however might still need to be invented.

So one of the focal points in talking to my co-owners of how we wanted to setup Zolder was to stress that first and foremost we would need to be experts. And do expert things. So we do what we love most: we research digital stuff, we blog about it, talk about it and podcast about it. In doing so we get into contact with interesting and interested people and they might come up with new ideas in which we could help out and monetize our expertise. That actually already payed off and so have we been able to get to this point without any external investment AND have a couple other ideas under our sleeves.

Value Disciplines – Treacy and Wiersema. Image credit: business-to-you.com

For Zolder.App in particular we are able to take another positioning approach. Again for all the reasons above, basically all MSSPs are built on the value discipline of Customer Intimacy. Not surprising as they need to have outstanding customer services and relations to be able to properly support the customer-specific situations they’re dealing with. This way of working of course requires even more human labor and makes these services unaffordable for SME. And so to game-change that situation, we would need to take the opposite route, being a mix of Product Leadership and Operational Excellence. The latter obviously is proven by the low-cost feature of Zolder.App, and the proces-automation as the enabler for it. But the cybersecurity expertise we’re bringing to the table is genuinely world-class. Furthermore the way Zolder.App provides actionable advise is a very important feature as well, unparalleled even. And so the quality of our solution gives it a bit of product leadership taste as well.

Point being: can a service be marketed in any other way than customer intimacy? I believe that digitalization allows us to do so. You only need the capability to make use of the possibilities of the future and get rid of old habits. Like we did 🙂

Come to think of it. I guess what we are launching requires a new term. It is not a managed service. Not a software-as-a-service. But actually it is a Service-as-a-Software. Let me elaborate on that in the next blog 😉 Stay Tuned!

Blogs

Zolder.App LIVE Presentations

Erik Remmelzwaal - 11 jan 2021
During #CES2021 we will host a daily LIVE event in Microsoft Teams – OPEN FOR ALL, so also available for non-CES-visitors and non-Teams-users. Monday – Tuesday – Wednesday from 17:00 – 17:30 CET / 11:00 – 11:30 AM EST. The events will be hosted by Erik Remmelzwaal in English. The sessions will be opened for […] Lees verder

#CES2021 - We Are Ready!

Erik Remmelzwaal - 06 jan 2021
We are very excited to be part of the #CES2021NL mission! Meet us at CES (Januari 11-14) in our online booth 10609 and see how we solve global challenges with NLTech. Erik Remmelzwaal, Co-Founder & CEO Yes I indeed think we are ready for CES. At this virtual event we will showcase Zolder.App. I am […] Lees verder

Azure App Consent Policies

Rik van Duijn - 11 nov 2020
OAuth consent phishing has been on the rise for a while now. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft has gradually introduced measures to protect from this type of attack. Latest: Risk-Based Step-Up Consent. Lees verder

Honeytokens using Azure Keyvaults

Rik van Duijn - 15 okt 2020
In 2017 Wesley and I gave a presentation at SHA2017 about honey/pot/tokens. We actually planned on building a fully fledged platform. But never came further then the POC phase of that project. This week we got a product demo from the guys at Thinkst, i’ve always loved this way of thinking: let the attacker come […] Lees verder

Risk of exposed home automation services

Wesley Neelen - 24 sep 2020
At home, I am automating many things for fun. Currently I am using Home Assistant, an incredibly powerful piece of software for automating your home. Regularly I am combining the home automation experiences with security. Home automation is often related to physical things such as changing lights, moving curtains, opening door locks or turning the […] Lees verder

Hacking the traffic light of the future

Wesley Neelen - 06 aug 2020
Nowadays we are connecting everything we can think of to the internet. Usually to make our lives easier or more comfortable. Some of the new upcoming innovations are related to making our traffic smart with the goal to improve safety, comfort and the traffic flow. We dived into this technology to analyze the inner workings and identify potential security risks. Lees verder

Detect lateral movement with Azure Sentinel

Wesley Neelen - 01 jul 2020
Lately we have been setting up a the production network for our Zolder.App service. The network consists of multiple segments separated by a firewall. As an addition we wanted to add monitoring features into the network. If an attacker is in our network, we would like to get a notification. Lees verder

Detecting BEC fraud using Azure Sentinel

Rik van Duijn - 17 jun 2020
Business Email Compromise (BEC) Fraud inflicts the most damage of all types of cybercrime, according to the FBI. How to detect such attacks using Azure Sentinel? Rik shares some actual possibilities. Lees verder

Phishing aftercare

Rik van Duijn - 26 mei 2020
This blog is part of our Office 365 attack & defense series. We also maintain a Github page where we share our Office 365 tools and queries. We often get sent phishing emails by family and friends. Not to phish us but because we ask family and friends to forward them to us. Sometimes they […] Lees verder

Inside a phishing panel

Wesley Neelen - 20 mei 2020
Dutch and Belgium citizens are receiving phishing attacks every day. But how does that exactly work? Lees verder

Office 365 - Exchange rules

Rik van Duijn - 13 mei 2020
This blog is part of our Office 365 attack & defense series. We also maintain a Github page where we share our Office 365 tools and queries. Exchange rules can be useful in managing the emails we receive on a daily basis. For example, it allows users to automatically respond or move specific emails to […] Lees verder

Office 365 - malicious applications

Wesley Neelen - 05 mei 2020
Wesley dives into the App Registrations feature of Microsoft Azure Active Directory. Finds ways to abuse it through delegate & application permissions and shares ideas howto protect from such abuse. Lees verder

Windows terminal profile fun

Rik van Duijn - 24 apr 2020
Rik plays around with the preview version of Windows Terminal to find manipulation options. Lees verder

Building a Zolder logo

Wesley Neelen - 22 apr 2020
Wesley writes about his most recent IoT project: building a Zolder logo with WS2812B ledstrips behind it, to give it some cool effects. Lees verder