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Sparta secures a successful future

Finland-based Sparta is transforming into an information security and cybersecurity company, with a twist of information management.Sparta Consulting

After initially focusing solely on information management, this Finnish company now gets to the source for cyber security.

Thanks in part to the 2006 hit film 300, these days the word Sparta conjures up images of scantily clad warriors, armed with sculpted abs and a shouty disposition. Needless to say, Finnish company Sparta is seeking to create an altogether different impression. Unconcerned with butting heads with Persian foes or being trampled by oversized elephants, there is a significantly more modern enemy to tackle circa 2016:

“Our fight is with the major ICT and consultancy corporates; a battle of ethics, of proving that ultimate customer satisfaction is good business,” explains Jani Antikainen, the company’s founder and chairman of the board. “Unlike the Spartans, we’ll prevail in the end, and not just provide a heroic battle for the history pages.”

First starting out in 2012 as information management consultants, Sparta soon cottoned on to the fact that the upkeep of data quality is quite a powerful thing when combined with cyber security.

Indeed, with the global cyber security market tipped to reach 101 billion US dollars by 2018, a slight shift in focus has seen Sparta entering a land of opportunities.

“We still have our consultation business on the information management side,” Antikainen states. “But more and more we are transforming into an information security and cybersecurity company, with a twist of information management.”

Different protection

The company’s background gives it a unique leg up in the cyber security domain. Sparta first ensures that the data being protected has a relevant business function and meaning that reflects reality. This is needed to counter information sabotage, the next push of ill will for the cyber security envelope.

“We build trust in information,” Antikainen says. “It makes sense to ensure it isn’t tampered with before it is transmitted somewhere.”

Furthermore, whilst many cyber security companies harness firewalls to protect against outside threats such as hackers and malware, Sparta is also alert to the dangers lurking within.

“It could be like in the case of United States Office of Personnel Management, where there actually was an insider already in the company who copied 22 million personal records,” Antikainen explains. “Much confidential and security classified data was copied and taken away.”

A peaceful horizon

Whilst considerable interest in Sparta has come from the finance and energy sector, Antikainen also points to military threats and terrorists harnessing IT attacks as other information sabotage concerns countered by Sparta.

“Top US intelligence officers are underlining time after time that the threats to information trustworthiness are the cyber risks they are most worried about,” Antikainen says. “Our mission is to ensure that public and private institutions, as well as nation states, can trust the information that they operate with.”

Having raised some 750 000 euros in funding, Sparta is backed by an advisory board that includes Ari Takanen, the founder of cyber security company Codenomicon, which was sold to Synopsys in the US last year.

Sparta currently has three ongoing pilots and is launching its first product in Finland in early autumn. The international market is also beckoning as the year draws to a close.

“We need a better world and world peace,” Antikainen confirms. “We are working on that, doing our best. We have something very innovative; there’s definitely huge potential here.”

The global cyber security market has tipped to reach 101 billion US dollars by 2018. Image: Istock.com/lvcandy
By: James O’Sullivan