Protecting companies across the world from potential cyber attacks
--BY NEWBIZ TEAM
Nirmal Dahal had a strong interest in offensive cyber security from an early stage. But he didn’t start his professional career till 2016, when he started working as a web application penetration tester at a cyber security company based in Nepal. Along with his colleagues at the company, he eventually co-founded a tech company named CryptoGen Nepal.
Dahal realised there was more that could be done in the field of cyber security. He began working with a group of people he knew well from the pen tester community, and together they started #SayCure (say cure/secure), which eventually evolved into CryptoGen Nepal. Reflecting on the journey, Dahal, a co-founder of CryptoGen Nepal, says that the passion of each founding member to contribute to the cyber security space in Nepal and make it more secure was the driving force behind the company's evolution.
CryptoGen Nepal, was founded in 2019 by Nirmal Dahal, Santosh Bhandari and Aaditya Khati, with a focus on cyber security. The start-up has since grown to provide services to a wide range of clients, including Class ‘A’ and ‘B’ banks, finance companies, hospitals, PSOs, and government offices. The company currently employs 32 people, including interns. Since its inception, CryptoGen Nepal has focused on a service and revenue-based business model to ensure its sustainability, according to Dahal.
Dahal and the CryptoGen Nepal team have a background in offensive security. Since the company's establishment, they have expanded their focus to include SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) and have evolved to providing SOC (Security Operations Center) services, which includes 24x7 detection and response resources to meet the needs of various organisations. “We have also partnered with leading solution providers for vulnerability management, dark web monitoring, and brand protection. Likewise, our experience in implementing and maintaining various enterprise-grade SIEM platforms has helped the company become a vendor-agnostic service provider,” said Dahal.
In addition to these services, Dahal and his team at CryptoGen Nepal also developed their own SOC platform called SayCure, and they are continually working to improve it. “We also offer incident response, server assessment and hardening consultation, cyber security consulting/vCISO, phishing campaign, dark web monitoring, and brand protection,” Dahal said, emphasising that CryptoGen Nepal differentiates itself from other service providers by having a team of experts in various domains of cyber security. “We strive to work with their clients as partners and aim to be the preferred cyber security partner for all organisations.”
The quality of CryptoGen Nepal's services has led to the company being listed in the MSSP Alert Top 250, which is a list of the best 250 managed security service providers (MSSPs) in the world. The list is compiled and published by MSSP Alert, a leading news and analysis site for the industry. The selection criteria for the list include the size of the company, its rate of growth, its customer base, and its level of innovation, according to Dahal.
Likewise, CryptoGen Nepal is an accredited ISO 27001:2013 compliant company. It received the ICT Startup Award-2020, which was the first time in the history of the ICT Awards that a company working on information security was awarded the title. Additionally, the company is listed by the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) as one of the companies that conduct IS audits and cloud audits for Internet Service Providers and Telecoms for the Fiscal Year 2022/23.
As with any startup company, CryptoGen Nepal faced challenges in its early days. Information technology is still a relatively new field in Nepal and many organisations are still learning about the importance and value of cyber security. Dahal and his team focused on raising awareness about cyber security and continue to do so. They faced some difficulties, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, but they were able to overcome them. “Our core team members all have backgrounds in offensive security or Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT),” according to Dahal.
To expand their services, Dahal and his team hired an experienced auditor to start conducting IS Audits which was a mandatory requirement, particularly for the banking sector. “We then started to focus on defensive security and partnered with leading cyber security solution providers to add value to our services,” added Dahal.
CryptoGen Nepal is composed of team members who provide professional-grade cyber security solutions such as IS audit, VAPT, End-Point Threat Analysis, Forensics & Malware Analysis, Incident Response, Server Assessment and Hardening. Since their establishment in Nepal, they have been delivering these services to clients both in Nepal and abroad. Their primary clients come from industries such as banking, health, government, ISP and PSO/PSP but they are also focusing on expanding their services to other industries, according to Dahal.
As the Internet has grown, CryptoGen Nepal has focused on minimising the risks that come with it and is now providing cyber security services to both national and international organisations. Three years after its founding, the startup is now providing its services to organisations even outside of Nepal, including in countries such as Australia, the UAE, Singapore, and the United States, according to Dahal.
The tech ecosystem is also expanding as the Internet becomes widely available in Nepal. There are many service and solution-based startups in the tech field in Nepal that are growing. Meanwhile, Dahal and his team at CryptoGen Nepal are focusing on expanding awareness about the importance of investing in cyber security. Dahal explains that while larger organisations have become more aware of the need for cyber security investment in recent years, they are also working to spread awareness among SMEs.
The team at CryptoGen Nepal is working hard to provide industry-grade cybersecurity services. Dahal wants people to see CryptoGen Nepal as a partner and expand its services to provide value to its customers.