Cytidel: A platform to help security teams sleep better at night

17 Jun 2024

From left: Gary Fagan, Matt Conlon and Conor Flannery. Image: Cytidel

Since its seed funding led by Elkstone and Enterprise Ireland last November, this Mayo-based start-up has been growing its team and scaling its vulnerability intelligence product for burned out security teams.

Before becoming a founder, Matt Conlon spent nearly a decade working as a cybersecurity consultant supporting companies across policing, financial services and Big Tech to deal with essential tasks such as threat intelligence, vulnerability management, security architecture and incident response.

It was while working at Accenture that he met Conor Flannery, a cybersecurity consultant with a background in electrical and electronics engineering.

Click here to listen to The Leaders' Room podcast.

“Throughout our careers, we have worked with the same client on numerous occasions, and spent many days in the incident response trenches, helping organisations to deal with the latest cybersecurity incident,” Conlon tells SiliconRepublic.com.

“Having worked together for so long, in various different challenging scenarios, having Conor as my co-founder was a no-brainer.”

‘Sleepless nights dealing with incidents’

In 2021, Conlon and Flannery established Cytidel, a vulnerability intelligence platform that helps organisations predict their most likely breaches and prioritise the fixes necessary to prevent them.

The idea was to address the growth of hacking aimed at corporate and government organisations worldwide, amplified by what Conlon calls “alert overload” and an IT security workforce that is “both burning out and under resourced”.

“Cytidel continuously monitors the latest cyber risks, exploit availability, threat campaigns, zero-day vulnerabilities and trending news to predict the highest risk vulnerabilities. This intelligence is mapped against the customer environment, enabling security teams to make data-driven decisions on where to prioritise resources and improve efficiency in the risk management programme,” he explains.

“I founded Cytidel because I remember the sleepless nights dealing with security incidents. I felt like I was always on high alert due to the number of new vulnerabilities, the constant security alerts being triggered and the fear of missing something that ultimately leads to a breach. It’s no wonder security teams are burning out.”

According to Conlon, around half of security leaders are changing roles and a quarter of them want to leave the industry because of stress and burnout at a time when the need for security resources is growing exponentially.

“Cytidel was designed to help security teams that are drowning in vulnerabilities and alerts to get clarity from the cyber fog and enable them to focus on what matters most: the cyber risks being actively exploited by hackers,” he says.

Successful beta and hiring plans

Based in Castlebar, Co Mayo, the start-up currently targets customers in the financial services, aviation and healthcare sectors.

Cytidel is also an alumnus of NDRC, the national accelerator programme managed by Dogpatch Labs, and secured €1.35m last November in a seed funding round led by Elkstone and Enterprise Ireland and backed by several angels. The funding is currently being used to grow the team and scale the product.

“We’ve built a fantastic team with an infectious passion for security, customer delivery and solving complex problems,” Conlon says.

“No matter how great the challenge, the team are always on the pulse, delivering the latest quality intelligence or new product features to our customers. We’re also actively hiring across multiple areas including software development and vulnerability intelligence.”

The team developed a vulnerability intelligence platform called Recon earlier this year that allows customers to get access to the latest available vulnerability intelligence, early alerts on new vulnerabilities and begin integrating intelligence into their daily operations.

“The beta for this platform was quickly oversubscribed and has proven to be a great success with users. We are now taking bookings for the next batch of users to join the platform and start getting ahead of the game in their vulnerability management programme.”

Like the cybersecurity professionals he is looking out for, Conlon and Flannery are no strangers to burnout themselves.

“Start-ups are a rollercoaster, with various ups and downs throughout the journey. Like many start-up founders, a key challenge is maintaining some sort of work-life balance which is critical to ensure you continue to perform in your business,” Conlon says.

“This is something I’m still learning, and it’s easy to let all your time be consumed by the business, but taking time to recharge can make the rest of the rollercoaster that much easier.”

Find out how emerging tech trends are transforming tomorrow with our new podcast, Future Human: The Series. Listen now on Spotify, on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com