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With a masters in legal studies from Carleton University, and over 15 years of experience in domestic and international market development, Sem Ponnambalam, President and Co-Founder of XAHIVE, decided to join forces with her husband, David Mohajer to start their own business, XAHIVE three years ago.

XAHIVE is a cybersecurity company that provides a secure communication tool for transmission of data and messages as well as cybersecurity governance consulting and training to help organizations protect themselves, their clients and stakeholders.

The idea for starting XAHIVE came from both Sem and David’s experience with personal cybersecurity breaches through their student loan program and a local hospital. After their own experience with breaches which left them vulnerable and apprehensive, they decided to find a solution which would enable secure communication of information between professionals to help prevent this issue from happening to other people.

In this day-in-age, people and workplaces are using technology more and more, but they aren’t thinking through the security issues that could result from it. Because of this, we’ve seen an up rise in many public and painful cybersecurity breaches which can permanently damage the image of your company. The need for cybersecurity experts and professionals is growing, and this is the opportunity that Sem and David saw.

But it’s not simple to just develop a complex company like XAHIVE overnight. Discovering the business model for XAHIVE was one of the hardest lessons for these two entrepreneurs. “Just because you have a great idea, doesn’t mean that people want or need it enough to pay you for it,” Sem said. “You need to test the waters and find out what people will actually pay for and then work towards refining that instead of whatever you thought you would sell.” Because of XAHIVE’s willingness to adapt to customers’ needs, while ensuring they maintained a secure system which respected the regulatory requirements; they led themselves to finding a business model that works.

So how can XAHIVE help other small businesses and start-ups? The pair explained that start-ups and small businesses are one of the key audiences for XAHIVE because they are one of the primary targets of cyber criminals. The reason for this is simple, small and medium-sized businesses think that cybersecurity is too expensive to implement, despite the fact that by not implementing a solution and protecting themselves, they are putting a third of their revenue at risk. Sem explained that something as simple as using XAHIVE to send messages instead of fax or email could mitigate this risk by a lot.

A whopping 92% of small business owners recognized the increasing threat of hackers, malware and other security challenges, however only 42% reported that they would actually spend the same or less on cybersecurity in the following year. Both shocking numbers considering 23% of small businesses were attacked in 2015 alone. From these numbers, it’s evident that there is a need for companies both big and small to become more aware of the potential cyber risks out there, and with the industry recognition XAHIVE has received so far in the last three years, it’s clear that this business and demand will continue to grow.

To learn more about XAHIVE, visit their website here.

Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada