Written by Seamus Kelleher.
Day in and day out, droves of data are transmitted, stored and forgotten on our devices— from the restaurant menu you viewed to the credit card information you paid with. While we routinely access data to execute everyday operations, a large majority goes unused or overlooked. This buried and unstructured data, referred to as dark data, is especially susceptible to hacking because it’s out of sight, out of mind. Heureka Software in Cleveland, Ohio, has developed technology to shine light on dark data and identify potential risks before it’s too late.
“People don’t want their sensitive information accessible to others, so they’ll take steps to protect it,” said Ronald Copfer, Founder and Chairman of Heureka Software. “But how do you protect what you’re not even aware exists? We developed the solution to discover dark data and deal with it appropriately.”
Heureka Software works like this: It can be installed as a software application on a single server or thousands of computers in a network. You can search that individual computer or all computers from a central command console, using parameters like key terms and date ranges to find the data you’re looking for. Once these files are uncovered, users have the option of moving them to new folders, deleting them entirely or quarantining them. In a sense, it operates like a standard antivirus program, but for dark data.
Initially developed as a means for legal professionals to find documents buried on individual hard drives, Copfer and his team quickly realized the potential of this technology extended far beyond that initial, narrow application.
“We started showing the product to organizations in 2014 and we showed them how it worked. One by one, the customers would tell us, ‘Oh, forget finding evidence. We can use this to find malware, credit card numbers and documents with social security numbers,’” said Copfer. “They recognized the potential before we did.”
People were shocked at how much delicate data they had floating around. They wanted a way to keep their information secure, and Copfer knew his technology could be tweaked to do exactly that. That’s when the company pivoted to a broader application and changed its name to ‘Heureka,’ the ancient Greek word for ‘I found it.’
Heureka Software has grown with the support of two northeast regional partners of the Ohio Third Frontier, Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE) and JumpStart in Cleveland. GLIDE awarded the information governance company a grant that allowed Copfer and his team to validate their technology and business concept. JumpStart provided a $250,000 grant to make additional hires and continue software development.
Copfer says that moving forward in 2017, Heureka is positioned to sell its software to large corporations and government agencies. Major institutions accumulate considerable amounts of sensitive dark data and, as such, are particularly interested in averting risk and keeping it protected. He looks forward to tapping into institutions in Heureka Software’s own backyard.
“Our future focuses on getting our product in front of customers, and we don’t have to go very far to get those. Ohio’s home to many major companies and organizations, and our software addresses a need nobody’s immune to,” said Copfer. “100% of organizations who’ve tried our software have become paying customers, so we know it works. We’re confident our technology will continue to grow and be adopted by the big players right here in Ohio and beyond.”