As luck would have it, the merged Youngstown area bank didn’t have room for the temporary consultant hired to help smooth the transition. So he was shuffled to the nearest empty desk, which happened to be in the IT Security department. There he overheard the bank’s Chief Information Security Officer talking to another employee. His eavesdropping changed the direction of the computer security industry. Paul Hugenberg’s life took a dramatic turn because Rick Iler couldn’t avoid overhearing his conversations. Charged with protecting data on the bank’s computers, Hugenberg was frustrated with traditional “castle and moat” software. Few companies actually know what data is on their computers, so it’s a bit like building a garage to protect a fleet of cars, without knowing how many cars are in the fleet.Furthermore, if you walk into your garage and your car is missing, you know it’s been stolen. But, when hackers break into your computer system, they can copy anything they want without removing it. You may know they were there, but have no idea what they stole, who’s affected, or the value of data taken.Paul Hugenberg had ideas about inventorying, valuing and proactively protecting data. Rick Iler was intrigued. He invited Paul to lunch and asked him if he’d ever thought about starting a business around his idea. Soon Rick was leading Paul through the labyrinth of start-up financing.Together they made the rounds of area business incubators looking for start-up funds for a new company they named, InfoGPS Networks. They finally found Braintree Business Development Center, who prepared InfoGPS to present at a Sundown Rundown Pitch Night This pitch attracted aStark County start-up investment fund led by former Timken executive, Jon Elsasser. With the backing of Braintree and the Impact Angel Fund, Hugenberg created a computer program capable of finding, valuing and protecting all the data on any company’s computer systems.It may seem odd to think companies don’t know what’s stored on their computers, but modern computer communications mean trouble for firms whose security isn’t keeping pace. Data piles up like forgotten old boxes in the attic, taking up space and providing little value in return. InfoGPS actually reduced the amount of sensitive data one company was storing by 72% in a single month.Hugenberg’s experiences as a bank Chief Information Officer, and Information Security Officer, led InfoGPS directly to a giant hole in the market.Today, Paul Hugenberg finds his company at the intersection of three important trends. First, data growth is exploding exponentially. Second, businesses are starting to understand how much value their data represents. Third, hackers are increasingly sophisticated in finding ways over the moats and into the castles set up by traditional data security solutions. As a result, InfoGPS is the rare tech start-up to quickly become profitable and is on the verge of dynamic growth.Paul Hugenberg, now sits in his Boardman, Ohio office devising new ways to compete with giants of the computer security industry. He has built a remarkably decentralized business with employees scattered from Tuscarawas County, Ohio, to Chicago. Certainly luck put Rick Iler and Paul Hugenberg together. But, they are proving that businesses no longer have to trust their valuable data to luck or castle walls.

Source: Braintree's InfoGPS nominated for M. Conley Entrepreneur of the Year Award URL: