Sponsored by Adversis

Taking Cyber Security from Wall Street to Main Street

With thousands of dollars in cyber security funding available to Montana companies, Kalispell-based cyber security firm Adversis is helping local businesses build a more secure future.

By Beacon Staff
Graphic courtesy of Adversis.

For Kalispell-based cyber security firm Adversis, nothing is more important than keeping Main Street safe.

The trio that makes up Adversis — brothers Noah and Jordan Potti and their business partner Chad Nelson — earned their stripes in the online security and enterprise asset management worlds. As “white hat” hackers, the Potti brothers spent the beginnings of their careers ethically hacking into Fortune 500 companies and large government agencies to test their systems for vulnerabilities, and helped those companies build road maps towards a more secure future. Nelson managed business and manufacturing operations, giving him insight into the critical information that can be compromised when a business is hacked.

Now, as residents of the Flathead Valley, they’re moving their expertise from Wall Street to Main Street, and are focusing on keeping Northwest Montana’s businesses safe.

“There’s not really anybody there to stand up for the little guy,” Nelson said about the lack of cyber security options for small businesses. “These businesses are almost more important than the large corporations because they keep the community going. But access to good cyber security that makes sense on a day-to-day basis and isn’t going to bog down somebody’s small business, there hasn’t really been anybody to fill that market. That’s what this undertaking is all about.”

With small businesses in mind, the state of Montana has allocated approximately $2 million to directly assist businesses with cyber security monitoring through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Cybersecurity Program. Through the program, Montana businesses with up to 50 employees can receive up to $8,000 in grant funding for cyber security measures, if they work with an accredited Montana-based cyber security company to develop them.

 “This money is just sitting there unspent, and it’s something that many of these businesses here in the valley could totally take advantage of,” Nelson said.

Nelson and the Potti brothers have educated themselves on the grant program, and are eager to work with local companies to understand if they qualify, and to figure out how they can use the grant money to secure their sensitive information.

Brothers Noah Potti and Jordan Potti, co-founders of Adversis, a Kalispell-based cybersecurity firm serving the Flathead, pictured on Feb. 16, 2023. File photo

“It gives them the opportunity to get introduced into working in a secure environment without having to pay for that themselves,” Nelson said, talking about the opportunity for small businesses to harness the available grant money. “They already paid that in taxes, but it’s at least the opportunity to decide how to spend a little bit of that money you sent into the government each year.”

When working with a local business, Adversis moves through a series of steps that help them evaluate the company, and then create a custom security plan. Called their “Small Business Cyber Security Framework,” the plan includes meetings with the Adversis experts, security assessments, trainings with employees, and the creation of a tailored plan that includes everything from tightening onboarding protocols to monitoring the dark web for data breaches.

Often, however, local businesses don’t know that they’re at risk, leaving them vulnerable to potentially destructive breaches. Even a local coffee shop can be the victim of hackers searching for data.

“If at any point, there’s customers making payment to you, that’s sensitive data,” Jordan explained. “You have responsibility to secure that. That’s your customers’ money.”

Beyond just credit card information, employees’ social security numbers, healthcare data and bank information are also vulnerable to hackers — information that even the smallest of businesses needs to collect and keep on file.

“You have all this different data that’s just sitting there for anyone to look at,” Jordan said. “That could be very, very sensitive to your employees, depending on what it is.”

While Fortune 500 companies can often weather the storm of cyber security threats, for local businesses, a significant breach can mean being forced to close up shop altogether, making investing in cyber security even more critical.

“Large corporations can absorb some of that damage if they have cyber security leak and they lose customer information,” Nelson said. “A small company in the valley often just gets shut down. People lose jobs, businesses go under, somebody’s dream would die. There’s a real, legitimate risk of that happening.”

Though diving into the world of cyber security may seem daunting, the Adversis team can help streamline the process, and with the ARPA Cybersecuirty Program, many local businesses won’t have to foot the bill.

“A lot of our customers say, ‘Wow, I thought when you guys came in we were going to have more difficult processes and way more friction, but you’ve actually unlocked a lot of efficiency in our business,’” Jordan Potti said. “Once we do those things and have all those processes and procedures, your business is way more resilient.”

Businesses can apply for grant money at www.covidreliefmt.org/submit. Applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis until all funds have been obligated. To get in touch with the Adversis team, visit their website.

The above content is sponsored by Adversis. To learn more about sponsored content, email [email protected].