• Tom Miller (c), CEO of ClearForce, stands with the judges who declared his firm’s technology the winner in the second AFCEA Small Business Innovation Shark Tank Competition. Flanking Tom are (l-r) Glenn Hernandez, CISO, OpEdge Solutions LLC; Manoj Bhatia, president, Network Runners Inc.; Maria Horton, CEO of EmeSec; and Bill Jones, senior vice president of DSA’s Integrated Solutions Group. Photo credit: Elizabeth Moon
     Tom Miller (c), CEO of ClearForce, stands with the judges who declared his firm’s technology the winner in the second AFCEA Small Business Innovation Shark Tank Competition. Flanking Tom are (l-r) Glenn Hernandez, CISO, OpEdge Solutions LLC; Manoj Bhatia, president, Network Runners Inc.; Maria Horton, CEO of EmeSec; and Bill Jones, senior vice president of DSA’s Integrated Solutions Group. Photo credit: Elizabeth Moon

Insider Threat Technology Swims in Shark Tank

June 12, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Technology from the second of three finalists provides warning before criminality.


A small business with a prestigious board of directors is the second firm selected in an AFCEA Small Business Innovation Shark Tank competition June 7 to uncover innovative emerging technologies. The company, ClearForce of Vienna, Virginia, won against three other firms with its proprietary technology for seeking out employees who might be motivated to commit insider crimes deliberately as well as accidentally.

Tom Miller, ClearForce CEO, described how the technology provides continual evaluation of an individual’s external behavior. It searches for patterns that indicate an employee is under financial or emotional stress, and thus might fit the profile of an insider prone to workplace actions that could be criminal or inadvertently damaging.

Miller pointed out that $1 trillion was lost to workplace crime last year, and half of that was because of insiders. The company’s technology, also called ClearForce, provides continual evaluation of external behavior. It streams relevant content about risk in real time, he said, adding that alerts are delivered around the clock.

“[It is] not just searching for negative information,” he emphasized. “Instead, it delivers information on misconduct and high risk behavior outside of the organization—financial stress, for example.” Once an alert is received, customers can access a cloud-based adjudication platform and take preemptive actions to solve a problem before it escalates. The system ensures employee privacy by providing data only to the customer—it never leaves the system, Miller stated.

ClearForce has received some venture capital funding. Its board of directors includes former National Security Advisor and Commander of the U.S. European Command Gen. James L. Jones, USMC (Ret.); former CIA and NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden, USAF (Ret.), and former Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-CA).

ClearForce nosed out three other Virginia firms in what the panel of judges described as a close competition. The other firms were CLOUD7WORKS, Reston, Hitachi Vantara Federal, Reston, and Arahail Technology, Burke.

Four judges from government or with government backgrounds heard five-minute presentations from officials of all four firms, followed by a five-minute question-and-answer exchange with each representative. This shark tank was the second of three semifinal competitions building up to a championship final in July.

The shark tank is open to firms specializing in a range of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, digital transformation or cybersecurity. One more finalist will be selected from a shark tank on July 11. The final competition among the three chosen firms will take place at the AFCEA Small Business Innovation Summit in the Sheraton Premier in Vienna, Virginia, on July 26.

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Congratulations to Bluewater International portfolio company, ClearForce and CEO Tom Miller, for another outstanding presentation, engaging the AFCEA technology team with their innovative solution to the growing critical insider threat problem. The combination of proven leadership, great technology, strong market validation, and a passionate corporate culture is sure to quickly propel CleaForce to mass enterprise adoption.

Thank you AFCEA, Katie, Barbara & Dave for the opportunity. It was a great venue to showcase your company product capability and would recommend small businesses to apply for such. Look forward to seeing more similar events in coming future. Thank you.

You are so welcome, Madhu. Your passion for what you're doing and trying to do shines through. Bringing a solution to reverse engineer the information from legacy systems to bring to the cloud fills a real need.

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