Like any fast-growing market, cyber security is loaded with small startups and big dreams – but things change quickly when your venture is independently chosen among the world’s top 20 cyber security startups.

For Brisbane-based Cryptoloc Technology Group, this recognition came recently as business journal Forbes worked through a census of the cyber security sector, which it says has 21,729 startups and attracted nearly $14.7b ($US10b) in seed funding last year.

Forbes recognised Cryptoloc’s “high-security cryptographic technology” – which already has over 10,000 customers managed by offices in five countries – using a methodology that ranks factors such as its ability to attract new customers, current and projected revenue growth, their ability to adapt their solutions to growing industries and their position in their chosen markets.

The honour led to a flurry of congratulations online – and new networking opportunities that, founder and chief executive Jamie Wilson told Information Age, look set to propel the fast-growing company to a new level after successfully penetrating markets in the US, UK, South Africa, and Japan.

Such rapid global expansion – the company’s distributed team has grown revenues by 27 per cent during the COVID-19 pandemic – comes from a singularity of vision and extensive support from peers, customers, and government bodies such as Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ).

“It’s all about building relationships and acceptance of the products,” Wilson said.

“As your relationships get strong and you keep on being elevated, before you know you are talking on panels at large events and weighing in on cyber attacks – and that is where you get value.”

Answering a simple question

Wilson’s ten-year journey started, like so many do, from a transformative event – in his case, the death of his father.

His father’s affairs were in order but, Wilson said, “I thought that if I dropped dead suddenly, all of my documents would be a total mess – and how would my children and family know where [crucial] information is?”

“I thought there had to be a virtual vault in the cloud where it’s a highly secure environment that would stand up in court”.

Jamie Wilson of Cryptoloc. Photo: YouTube

Existing encryption solutions were all built on a one-to-one basis – a public/private key architecture that relies on both parties being able to supply decryption keys to access information.

It was in solving this problem that Cryptoloc was born.

By building and patenting an encryption algorithm that encrypts data a second time, Cryptoloc has not only been able to provide high security – it uses both 256-bit AES and 2048-bit RSA encryption – but has built a three-key architecture that can be unlocked using any two of them.

In line with conventional encryption approaches, the user has the primary key, and Cryptoloc’s secure cloud maintains a second key – but the third key can be stored in escrow with a trusted third party such as a lawyer or accountant.

This approach allows data to be recovered even if the user can’t provide their key – enabling the storage of sensitive information whose security can survive its creator.

Taking on blockchain

Cryptoloc’s Your Digital File (YDF) technology not only provides securely stored data files but can, Wilson says, provide protection against ransomware attacks by storing files with unchangeable security that can be rolled back if malware starts changing them.

Its user base spans personal users, government, defence, and other security-conscious bodies around the globe, with data centres in each geography supporting a product range that includes document security, secure document signing, and anti-counterfeiting.

Cryptoloc’s QA technology stores encrypted data in a printed barcode that can be attached to garments, bottles of wine, pharmaceuticals, or any other high-value object prone to counterfeiting or strict quality controls.

Users download an app – or a brand’s app that integrates Cryptoloc’s Amazon Web Services (AWS)-based authentication services – and scan the barcode to confirm whether the product is genuine, subject to recall, or has any other issues.

Such applications touch the supply-chain assurance territory dominated by blockchain, which is being used in public and private supply chains to trace products back to their origins – but Wilson believes Secureloc offers enough differentiation to supplant blockchain for many applications.

It’s not a casual comparison: Secureloc’s website contains a page entitled ‘Why we hate blockchain’, and Wilson quite openly says he’s happy to leave blockchain to run bitcoin while Cryptoloc’s users apply its faster, more secure technology to their business problems.

Forbes seems to agree that the technology is a contender, and its approval has created myriad options for the company – which, Wilson says, was just breaking even for most of its life but is taking off on the back of its recent successes and expansion.

Driven by a newly energised inhouse marketing agency and rebranding of a core product, a looming July 1 rebranding will build consumer awareness ­ a cheeky consumer campaign will promote YDF using the motto ‘You Don’t F*** with my Data’ – and support a planned push into Middle East markets where Cryptoloc is already being used.

“It’s all about making the message clear,” Wilson says, “because sometimes, working in cybersecurity you get caught up in technical jargon, but that message doesn’t get through to the general public.”

“We have to be careful and accepting of that – if we get the messaging right and build ambassadors for each of our industries, that’s going to help us with this journey.”