Established by Michelle Drolet, Towerwall helps its clients by providing them with continuous monitoring and protection against current and evolving cyber threats. As the industry’s leading data security preparedness partner, Towerwall’s end-to-end solutions help to bridge the gap between plan and action to ensure its clients’ security.
Michelle also co-founded the annual Information Security Summit in partnership with Mass Bay Community College, with the purpose of creating an open forum for knowledge sharing between cyber professionals, vendors, and students. Additionally, the summit also serves as a vehicle to raise funds to provide academic scholarships in the field of cybersecurity for MassBay students in their Cyber Program. Till date, more than $55,000 has been raised for scholarships. Michelle also serves on the college’s advisory board to help shape its cybersecurity curriculums.
Recently we got a chance to sit down with Michelle to learn more about Towerwall and how the cyber security company is safeguarding its clients from modern-day cyber threats.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Please tell us about your professional journey.
Michelle: In college, I studied criminal justice, so from an early age, I’ve been interested in stopping the bad guys. In 1993 I was hired to run the US operations for an IT consulting business that was making inroads into cybersecurity. The company was acquired by a public entity, but I grew disenchanted with its direction and found a way to buy the company back. Since 1999 we’ve been offering customized cybersecurity preparedness and end-to-end solutions that bridge the gap between plan and action to ensure resiliency for organizations of all sizes.
Please throw some light on Towerwall and its services.
Michelle: Regardless of company size, almost every modern organization struggles with cybersecurity. Our clients trust Towerwall to provide them with continuous monitoring and protection against current and evolving threats. We learned early on that there is no single piece of technology or system that will keep any organization completely secure. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. That’s why Towerwall developed an operational security approach that distinguishes our services in the market. A methodology that is not only consistent, repeatable, and measurable but also flexible enough to adapt to the changing threat landscape. We call this customizable approach the “7 Dimensions of Cybersecurity,” which all organizations, regardless of industry or security maturity, should adopt to establish a multi-dimensional, multi-layered, proactive security defense.
Services include establishing a program and developing policies, conducting security audits and risk assessments, threat detection and response, guidance on abiding by compliance and regulations, penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, vendor questionnaires, employee awareness training, and many other security services. Our customer engagements last for several years, and these include Foundation Medicine, Middlesex Savings Bank, Dean College, Milford Regional Medical Center, Perkin Elmer, and local SMBs.
What are the primary challenges of the industry?
Michelle: The primary challenge facing our cybersecurity industry has really been about the glaring shortage of professionals who are well-versed in security, risk management, and compliance. To meet this high demand for skilled talent, Towerwall launched an innovative service called virtual CISO — a personal service to take on the responsibilities and duties associated with the Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO), the virtual Data Protection Officer (vDPO), and the virtual Chief Privacy Officer (vCPO). These roles are brought in-house for client engagements on a fractional or interim basis. These fractional services roles also act as a huge competitive differentiator and advantage.
How is Towerwall disrupting the entire industry for the better?
Michelle: Cybersecurity is multi-dimensional. Organizations need a partner who can deliver a coordinated end-to-end solution response. We like to guide our clients through all the phases of cybersecurity. That’s why we developed a unique security approach (the “7 Dimensions of Cybersecurity”) that is not only consistent, repeatable, and measurable but flexible enough to adapt to the changing threat landscape. As a market leader, our content marketing focuses on sharing the latest in active threats, vulnerabilities, and tactical steps our clients can take. Each month we hold webinars and in-person events to keep our clients and prospects informed and engaged.
Please explain the effect of the pandemic on Towerwall. How did you overcome it?
Michelle: Because we are a security tech company, most of our staff were already working remotely, having been set up with secure VPN connections long ago, ensuring business continuity in the face of the pandemic. We were fortunate to have hired people who are truly self-motivated. Also fortunate to have had 70% of our staff working remotely before Covid hit. We didn’t miss a beat. Today we support a hybrid work week with limited staff who do come into the office. This is what we believe creates a proactive, positive corporate culture that make our team deliver to the fullest.
What are your priorities for 2023?
Michelle: Towerwall plans to continue to grow and expand both our customer base and consultants globally. Our business model is all about partnerships. Recently we forged new vendor partnerships with Pentera and CyberSaint (adding them to our stable of 50-plus cyber-tech partners) to help our customers manage their cybersecurity programs as well as assist our consultants when conducting risk assessments. Other partners include Alert Logic, Varonis, LogRhythm, KnowBe4, Tenable, Sophos, and many other recognized brands.
Give us a piece of advice that you would share with entrepreneurs just starting out.
Michelle: For young entrepreneurs just starting out, it’s important to state your values clearly and upfront. We believe in finding the right balance between work and family. Our values are about having focus, determination, and compassion. We all face challenges in our personal and business life, but the ability to persevere is the difference between success and failure. Particularly in business, nothing is more important than solving your customer’s needs. We often compete and win against larger players because our team has a ‘run through the wall’ attitude. Make teamwork a priority.