Last November hackers broke into the Microsoft corporate network and were able to steal some secret source code. The break-in at a company that is supposed to be a software fortress made front page news.
Robert Seiden knows how easy it is to crack the code and break into corporate computer networks, then vanish with the stolen goods. He spent 11 years as a senior prosecutor in the Manhattan, New York District Attorney’s office. Homicide and white collar crime were his areas of expertise. He worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to snag these software crooks.
But thieves with malicious intent are not the only ones gunning to get into a computer network. “A disgruntled employee can use hacker tools to get into any network,” says Seiden. The attack can come from many fronts.
As a criminal justice attorney, Seiden was interested in a book written by Stephen Donziger entitled “The Real War on Crime.” He phoned the author and after much discussion, the two decided to form a company to develop products and services to help law enforcement officials cope with computer crime. Then they recruited the former police commissioner of New York City and top people at the FBI to join the board of their new company, Crimedia Inc.
The Rocbox Remote is the Manhattan-based company’s primary product. It’s an Internet security device with a patent pending. The three foot tall computer is encased in a 12 gauge steel box. Seiden says the software combines old world alarm systems with modern computer technology.
This Dog Will Bite
The Rocbox prevents unauthorized intruders from entering a secure network and doing malicious damage or infecting the system with a virus that creates a denial of service attack. In addition, it will capture the IP address of the perpetrator and forward it to the FBI.
The Rocbox addresses corporate needs. Crimedia is also developing a consumer based product.
The company is so busy designing and producing its products it discovered invoicing, billing and payroll were becoming “a burden.” The founders considered hiring a chief financial officer (CFO). They struck down that idea because “we didn’t want to pay a big salary” for performance of those tasks. Also, a CFO typically requires an equity position when joining a start up. The partners didn’t want to give up shares in their company to get the accounting done, reports the attorney.
In addition, Seiden expects the job will grow exponentially. When the company begins a full scale market launch, he hopes to sell 200,000 units in the next few months. “We have too much on our plates already,” to handle the accounting, he continues.
So Crimedia decided to investigate outsourcing its accounting. “Outsourcing was the solution we were working for,” says Seiden. The company selected Rosen Seymour Shapps Martin (RSSM), a Manhattan CPA firm that specializes in outsourcing solutions.
Crimedia actually looked at two accounting firms before making a decision. The other firm had a smaller outsourcing program. RSSM had a more structured system that gave the buyer greater confidence. In addition, RSSM had a quicker deployment schedule. “We were in a hurry to get started,” reports Seiden.
Seiden says outsourcing “makes my job easier.” He says he would have been “bogged down” if he had to worry about invoices and balances. The criminal prosecutor says RSSM’s security measures are simple and old fashioned. Every two weeks Crimedia puts together a package and uses a messenger service to take it across town to the accounting firm. Then RSSM sends a messenger with its own packet. “There are no security glitches as far as I can see,” says Seiden.
Outsourcing One Process Leads to Outsourcing Another
It was important that the firm have access to its cash flow numbers at any moment. Seiden can go online and see his positions on a secure and dedicated server. “We got things customized to my liking,” he notes.
So far, there have been no disputes between buyer and supplier. At the outset, he says there were “some bumps in the road,” but he found his vendor “very responsive.”
Crimedia’s first foray into outsourcing has been so successful it is considering outsourcing its marketing, too.
Lessons from the Outsourcing Primer:
- Launching a new product is daunting and requires focus. Outsourcing non-core processes frees the company to concentrate on manufacturing and marketing.
- Outsourcing accounting prevents a company from having to hire an expensive CFO and give up lucrative stock options in a growing company.
- Buyers are looking for vendors who can deploy their solutions quickly.
- After outsourcing one process, buyers are more willing to consider outsourcing others.