Tech Talk With Karl Swannie

Small Business Canada

As the Chief Executive Officer of Echosec Systems Inc., Karl Swannie oversees all aspects of the operation including product direction, corporate development, and partner relations. The Victoria, B.C.-based company is the developer of Echosec, an award-winning SaaS-based global real-time information discovery and intelligence platform built on proprietary and sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities.

What was the inspiration behind the founding of Echosec Systems Ltd.?

On our evenings and weekends, we built a data discovery tool (search engine) that was unlike anything on the market. Honestly, it was a passion project. We were excited to look at data around the world. Areas like North Korea have an amazing assortment of information streaming out daily.

However, after we started using the tool we noticed so much intelligence coming from different locations and organizations that we became concerned. We saw the data leaking, as a significant threat to their companies, staff and clients. We approached several of the companies, who purchased the product; and that was when the business started.

Now we are a mission-critical component for security and intelligence organizations around the world.


Can you tell us about some of the resources and services that the company provides to help SME owners succeed and grow their business?

We provide two Software as a Service platform for data discovery. These two platforms actively review over a billion digital assets daily and alert on data that is valuable to the clients. We search on the clear and dark web. Our goal is to let our clients know if there is a threat to your business in the space that no one looks at.

For instance, are your staff breaking their nondisclosure agreement and posting online? Have you been hacked? Is your customer data on the dark web?

Our premise is: “If you have a fence, you need a digital fence’.

What are some of the strategies you use to keep Echosec Systems Ltd. innovative and competitive compared to other similar businesses in its industry?

We are always looking for the very best talent from around the world. We select only people with incredible skills, but most importantly, incredible passion.

The passion makes us the leaders in our space. Simply because our space is constantly evolving. For instance; information that was being sold on the clear web last year has now moved to the dark web. The Threat Intelligence space is constantly evolving, which makes it very exciting, but it does take amazing resources and desire to keep up.

Echosec has quite the success story of being one of the world’s leading providers of geographically mapped social media data. What do you believe has contributed to its success?

Since we launched our platform, our growth has been amazing.

We have always looked at data differently. Mapping it just seemed obvious, as it is the easiest way for security professionals to visualize what is going on and make plans to react.

The client’s ability to see the data is the most valuable part of our interface and has always been key to our success. Our clients are usually responsible for a vast amount of assets that are spread across a massive geographic area. We work with teams that need to know what is happening right now, anywhere in the world.

You recently launched Beacon, a dark web search engine that assemblies and filters the complex world of the dark web without putting a user’s computer infrastructure at risk. What brought on this program?

Beacon was a natural extension of the Echosec Platform. Much of the nefarious communication and sale of illegal goods are on the move from the social sphere to the dark web. Our clients need to know an easy way to quickly review what is happening on the dark web.

Currently there is no search engine on the dark web, so we created our own. It is invaluable to our clients. It doesn’t put their infrastructure at risk, and actively prioritizes threats to their organizations.

Do you believe that technology and innovation go hand in hand? Why?

Innovation is driven by dreams. Technology is simply a pallet which is drawn from. They have to be held separately for paradigm shifts to occur, rather than just iterating on the same ideas.

Technology changes all the time without notice, but when innovation happens, it can be technological, social or economic, and it changes the world.

Can you tell us of any upcoming projects you have planned for Echosec Systems Ltd.? What does the future of the company look like?

We have an idea that will change the way we look at the world.

But, we have to enjoy the path as much as the destination. In the near future, I see a massive social shift as our clients use our tools to see and experience the world in new ways.

What is your piece of advice for Canadian entrepreneurs who have just started?

Start in a very small room, with very good friends, and do not leave there until you start to understand your customers. Understanding your customers is the foundation of every business

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