Government departments tend to be seen as “top shelf” IT customers. They tend to use larger providers, use more traditional delivery mechanisms and have a conservative approach towards newer ways of working. So, when Synack, a crowdsourced cybersecurity vendor, told me it secured a contract with the IRS, I was intrigued.
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First, a little bit about what Synack does: The company is following something of an ongoing trend in the security space in that it wrangles a bunch of “ethical hackers” to essentially try and break a client’s IT systems. The idea being that those hackers can ply their trade, but instead of intruding onto organizations’ IT systems out of malice, they can do so as a service (and, it must be added, for a payment). Founded in 2013 by former NSA security experts Jay Kaplan, CEO, and Dr. Mark Kuhr, CTO, Synack feels very similar to HackerOne, a company now headed by Marten Mickos of MySQL fame.