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Clearwater Entrepreneur Starts IT Security Firm, Jobs

Stu Sjouwerman is no stranger to IT or entrepreneurship. Co-founder of Sunbelt Software in Clearwater, Sjouwerman sold the successful enterprise in 2010 and set out on a new venture. With 32 years of experience in IT, he knew how sophisticated hackers had become so he decided to start KnowBe4, an on-demand Internet Security Awareness Training (ISAT) provider.

"During my last 10 years at Sunbelt, I noticed how software security alone just wasn't cutting it," Sjouwerman says. "These hackers are going after the end-user using phishing scams. Employees click on a link and it installs malware on that workstation giving these guys access to that workstation."

Sjouwerman says that if hackers get control of an accountant's workstation at any given company, they could drain the company's entire account. This scenario is discussed in greater detail in Sjouwerman's book Cyberheist.

To ensure that companies do not fall victim to these phishing scams, Sjouwerman's new company, KnowBe4, helps businesses train and test its employees. "We first supply the company with a free report, which shows how many employees fell for one of our pseudo phishing scams," Sjouwerman says. "Then we train the employees on how to avoid these scams in the future."

Sjouwerman started KnowBe4 in August of 2010, and the company has already grown to nine employees. "In the next year, we will probably add five positions in sales and support," Sjouwerman says.

KnowBe4 is located in downtown Clearwater and Sjouwerman says he really enjoys that location. "I am a member of the Clearwater Downtown Partnership so it was important for me to maintain offices in the area," Sjouwerman says. "Also, the cost for office space in downtown is relatively low, so it is a perfect location in many respects."

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4

Read more articles by Kimberly Patterson.

Kimberly Patterson is a news editor for 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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