Staying ahead of the curve – How a Vancouver cybersecurity company is moving software security forward

As the world becomes more digital, there is a growing need for cybersecurity experts that specialize in application security to better protect organizations from emerging threats found today. It was this gap in the market that prompted Farshad Abasi to found Forward Security in 2018, a Vancouver-based cybersecurity company that focuses on application and cloud security for small to medium sized enterprises and startups.

At the time, there were already a number of cyber security companies in Canada, but many of them were typically generalists that focused on traditional cybersecurity domains such as network and infrastructure security, as well as compliance and risk.

As the cybersecurity landscape evolved, so did the needs of organizations. Companies increasingly created new digital cloud-based applications and migrated existing ones, requiring experts to secure and configure these new codified infrastructures. These significant changes in reliance on code over the last 5-10 years are not always well understood by many cyber security providers. This is where Forward Security stands out from the crowd thanks to the extensive experience and deep understanding of software and anything code-related.

“One of our strengths as a company is that everyone who works here has been a software developer for many years and worked in the trenches. With this fundamental understanding that only comes from being an experienced developer, we understand how systems are built, how they work, and how to identify and solve the problems because we understand the whole process,” says Abasi.

The team itself is another strength that Abasi credits for the company’s success. “I hoped to create an environment where I’m working with other passionate individuals who want to pursue this as much as I did. I’m grateful for the team that we built over the years because everyone is committed to the cause.”

To pivot with these recent changes and stay ahead of the ever-evolving security landscape, Forward Security invests into research and development to improve application security processes and tools, stay ahead of changes, and keep looking forward as their name suggests. This allows them to not only give their clients the best service possible, but also be a thought leader in the industry and give back to the community.

Prior to starting Forward Security, Abasi spent many years as a software developer for global organizations such Motorola and Intel, and was the Principal Security Architect at HSBC, handling application and cloud security for one of the world’s largest banks with the highest level of security requirements. He credits HSBC for being ahead of many organizations at the time, having an application security program and a dedicated software security team within the software development organization, but observed that in general, this was not normally the case outside the bank. Many organizations that build software lack the understanding and support required to build secure applications. He saw this as an opportunity and created Forward Security to address that gap, providing application security expertise to companies developing applications.

Forward Security Founder, Chief Security Officer, Farshad Abasi

“Software attacks are becoming increasingly common, being credited with almost half of all cyber-related breaches in recent years and that number is growing. While it used to be uncommon for organizations to pay attention to application security, it is now crucial to do so which is creating a high demand for our services.”

Joining VentureLabs was always on the roadmap for Abasi, having seen the success of a peer’s company after going through the accelerator program. “From day zero on this entrepreneurship journey, I wanted to build a company that scales well and then to one day reach the goal of being accepted into the accelerator program at VentureLabs,” shares Abasi. “We are in our fourth year at the moment, and we know that the first five years are some of the more difficult years for startups. That’s why we wanted to join VentureLabs to get the mentorship and support we knew would be helpful to our growth.”

On the horizon, Abasi says that they’ll continue to expand their offerings in Application and Cloud Security, and launch their Eureka DevSecOps platform this year. The platform allows clients to centrally manage and view the results of all security tools used in their development process in a central location, in addition to having all data hosted in their environment to guarantee maximum privacy. It’s clear that Forward Security has seen huge growth so far and they have no plans of slowing down. Follow their progress via their website here.

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