Ostra Cybersecurity Earns Finalist Spot for 2024 ACG BOLD Awards

We’re honored to announce that Ostra Cybersecurity has been named a finalist for the prestigious ACG (Association for Corporate Growth) BOLD Awards in the category “Small & Growing.”

These awards celebrate ambitious goals, game-changing innovations, and visionary leaders who make significant strides for their companies and stakeholders. They recognize exceptional corporate leadership and strategic success that leads to impressive growth and sustainability.

Finalists were placed into six categories: Small & Growing, Middle Market, Large & Established, BOLDest Transaction of the Year, BOLDest Leader of the Year, and BOLD Inspiration Community Partnership.

The BOLD Awards Gala will be held on February 27, 2024, at the Metropolitan Club in Minneapolis. During this event, each of the individual category winners will be acknowledged. A live, real-time vote will determine the ultimate victor—the Boldest of the BOLD.

What Sets Ostra Cybersecurity Apart?

Ostra’s path to becoming a BOLD Award finalist is marked by dedication and an unwavering commitment to serving small and medium-sized businesses in the cybersecurity landscape.

Before founding Ostra, Michael Kennedy spent over twenty years developing advanced cyber defense mechanisms for one of the world’s leading healthcare providers. Recognizing that smaller enterprises lacked similar protection measures and witnessing firsthand the devastating effects of a ransomware attack on a friend’s Minnesota-based company spurred Kennedy to take action. Inspired by his industry expertise and passion to make a difference, Ostra was born.

Our mission addresses an alarming observation: although nearly half of all cyberattacks target small businesses, only 14% have adequate defenses. Ostra aims to rectify this imbalance. Through partnerships with Managed Service Providers (MSPs), consultants, and IT specialists, we provide unparalleled security tailored to meet the unique needs of SMBs. We offer genuine enterprise-grade cybersecurity support at an affordable price.

Ostra’s Impactful Year of Protection in 2023

This past year has been remarkable for Ostra, as we achieved significant milestones that underscore our unwavering commitment to safeguarding our customers’ digital assets:

  • Processing over 30 billion events, analyzing 1.3 million alerts, and effectively mitigating 20,000 security incidents.
  • Providing around-the-clock vigilance against cyber threats through our dedicated team.
  • Experiencing a threefold growth in protecting SMB clients, with approximately half being based in Minnesota.
  • Innovating our portfolio by introducing Ostra Encompass (TM) and Ostra Extend (TM), expanding our managed cybersecurity solutions to meet evolving needs.

Kennedy’s words best capture Ostra’s progress and ethos: “I am so grateful for our people—Ostra’s talented employees have a reputation for going ‘all-in’ to make enterprise-level cybersecurity accessible and affordable for small and medium-sized businesses. We all believe that regardless of size, all businesses deserve the same level of protection that the world’s largest companies invest millions of dollars in each year.”

Standing Strong Together in Cybersecurity

As Your Trusted Cybersecurity Team, we at Ostra strive to make best-in-class cybersecurity accessible to businesses of all sizes. Our Security-as-a-Service combines top-tier tools, technology, and talent to ensure that detection, hunting and complete remediation of cyber threats are part of our core offering.

Rooted in the belief that every business deserves elite data protection, Ostra is here to bring Fortune 100-level security to everyone. Learn more about our mission and offerings by visiting ostra.net.

Celebrating ACG’s Legacy of Fostering Growth

In acknowledging our professional colleagues, we would also like to commend ACG (Association for Corporate Growth). ACG is a global professional association focused on driving middle-market growth. With over 14,000 members worldwide, it is the leading organization for professionals involved in corporate growth, development, mergers and acquisitions.

Since 1954, ACG has played a vital role in fostering a global professional community. The Minnesota chapter has served as a beacon for local business vitality since 1966. With nearly 300 members contributing to Minnesota’s dynamic economy, ACG continues to advocate for middle-market success.

Read Ostra’s full press release announcement.


Laura Hayes

Ostra Cybersecurity Grows Its Partner Success Team

Laura Hayes Hired to Expand the Impact and Reach of Ostra Channel Partner Program.

Laura Hayes

Ostra Cybersecurity, a leading provider of world-class cybersecurity solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, recently welcomed Laura Hayes as Senior Partner Success Manager.

With this latest Channel Team hire, Ostra continues to strengthen its Channel Partner Network during a season of exponential growth.

Ostra’s Channel Partner program is designed to help its network of consultants, IT and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) enhance value for small to medium-sized business clients through a multi-layered, fully managed cybersecurity solution.

With a focus on being the Trusted Cybersecurity Team for its clients and partners, Ostra’s market niche is ensuring that top-notch data security solutions are accessible for small and medium-sized businesses.

In this role, Laura is collaborating with Channel Partners on security awareness, lead generation, and co-branding initiatives to help them protect more clients and grow services revenue. She is focused on helping partners build their cybersecurity practices using Ostra’s proprietary, fully managed solutions.

Specifically, she educates partners and clients about the benefits of taking a holistic approach to cybersecurity and coaches them on how to achieve a more consistent revenue stream while managing risk and providing protection for their clients’ valuable information assets.

Many organizations today are navigating massive changes in their virtual workforces, IT infrastructure and data security regulations. Ostra’s managed cybersecurity—combined with the service expertise of its channel partners—delivers a comprehensive solution that addresses a unique set of specialized IT challenges facing business owners.

Before joining Ostra, Laura spent over eight years in channel management, most recently as a Strategic Partnerships Development Manager at Alert Logic, a Fortra security operations subsidiary. Laura also spent three years as a Global Accounts Manager for a global IT consulting firm and five years as a Senior Sales Executive at a software company offering middleware enhancement systems. Her earlier experience also includes sales and sales management roles in the pharmaceutical and corporate travel industries.

“Laura has built a highly successful channel sales career in technology and SaaS for global leaders,” said Wade Hoffman, EVP of Channel & Strategy at Ostra. “Her expertise made her the perfect candidate to educate and motivate Ostra Channel Partners to solve cybersecurity gaps for their clients.”

Laura earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix in Arizona. This background has served her well in understanding what motivates others and how to approach different personality types positively. She enjoys listening to partners, identifying their strengths and challenges, and helping them explore how Ostra could be an asset to their overall business strategy.

“My goal is to help build Ostra’s reputation for having the best partner program in the industry,” Laura said. “I want to enable our partners to experience higher client retention as well as increased trust factor and overall client satisfaction by accessing best-in-class cybersecurity.”

Connect with Laura on LinkedIn.

Let’s Talk Cybersecurity: Hacks & Hops Recap with Ostra

Did you miss the Hacks & Hops Virtual Security Conference on October 14? We weren’t able to connect in person this year, but this year’s event did not disappoint even though we got together virtually.

Hosted by FRSecure, one of Ostra’s Channel Partners, Hacks and Hops is a free, full-day virtual conference that brings information security professionals together to learn, network and enjoy beer (over Zoom, anyway!) Ostra was a proud sponsor of this year’s event.

Getting Real: The Problem with Technology Providers and MSSPs

It was a jam-packed day of best practice sharing from experts across the industry. Several speakers presented on topics ranging from mental health, cyber insurance, MSSPs, and more. We hosted a thought-provoking conversation with Ostra’s Founder, Michael Kennedy.

In his engaging and authentic style, Michael shared a 40-minute presentation entitled The Problem with Technology Providers and MSSPs. It explored cybersecurity best practices, challenges being ignored (by clients and providers), and opportunities for all to keep learning and do better.

Watch a free, on-demand replay of Mike’s full session here.

In the first portion of his presentation, Michael shared how an MSSP/Tech Provider’s best practices of honesty, advocacy and transparency are key to recognizing and rewarding clients’ current cybersecurity efforts.

In the cybersecurity world, there’s a lot of good being done, but we still have more to do. In his session, Michael shared his top three best practices that are key for any MSSP or tech provider to recognize and reward clients’ on cybersecurity efforts.

1. Best Practice #1: Honesty

It’s important to recognize what clients are doing right. Michael reminded participants, “If it’s a competitor tool and it’s a pretty good one, give them credit for getting something implemented—we all know it’s difficult to buy, implement, and manage tools.”

Another way service providers can be honest is to build trust—not fear. This can be hard, especially if you find out a customer is doing something that is really putting their organization at immediate risk. But Michael encouraged tech providers to first care about their customer’s business, what they do, and why they are successful before starting to critique their attack surface.


“A foundation of trust helps clients honestly share their concerns and fears. This lets us, as their partners, truly help them detect, prevent and remediate threats.”

2. Best Practice #2: Advocacy

When clients get a list of things to do that they don’t know how to execute, a good technology partner will be their advocate and help relieve the burden.

According to Michael, “Reports mean nothing if we are not there to walk customers through it or help them.” He emphasized the need to educate customers so they understand the tools and resources they are using, and how they work—versus just selling them a product or a blinking light.

In his experience, it’s about being the trusted partner who can detect, prevent and remediate. “We see quite a few businesses who are tired of not knowing how to manage the tools that were sold to them.”

3. Best Practice #3: Transparency

Michael believes in sharing the pros and cons of competitors, and said MSSPs should not be afraid to work with multiple channel partners or give outside referrals if that’s the best solution for customers.

He challenged the audience, “What is our core purpose? To [help businesses] prevent or recover quickly from cyberattacks, we might not be the right solution—and that’s ok.” This philosophy is in keeping with Ostra’s commitment to making cybersecurity more cost-effective for small and medium-sized businesses.

Being open and transparent with so-called competitors can also bring surprising results. Michael shared some of Ostra’s learning experiences in this area.

“A perfect example of this is, we were being constantly compared to a couple of other companies in town.” But rather than building marketing to compete with them, Ostra took another approach. “We called them up, sat down with the leadership and technical teams, and discovered we are not even close to being competitors—and now we have strategic partnerships and can help each other out.”

Free, On-Demand Replays Available

To access a free replay of Michel Kennedy’s presentation, click here. Or see any of the other informative sessions at the 2021 Hacks & Hops Conference here.

Contact Ostra today for a free cybersecurity assessment for your business or your clients.

About Ostra Cybersecurity

As a next-generation managed security service provider (MSSP), Ostra Cybersecurity combines best-in-class tools, proprietary technology and exceptional talent to deliver Fortune 100-caliber protection for businesses of all sizes. The result is a multi-layered, 360-degree solution that allows you to set it and forget it. By making cybersecurity technology simple and accessible to business of all sizes, Ostra is helping create a world with greater data privacy and protection for all of us. For more information, visit www.ostra.net.

Ostra is a proud Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion

Ostra announces commitment to safeguarding business data during Cybersecurity Awareness Month

As a 2021 Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion, Ostra is proud to help shed more light on security vulnerabilities and do its part to secure our interconnected world.

Throughout the month of October, Ostra Cybersecurity is joining a growing global effort to promote the awareness of online safety and privacy during Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This year’s initiative highlights the growing importance of cybersecurity and encouraging individuals and organizations to take necessary measures to stay safe and secure in an increasingly connected world.

Ostra Cybersecurity has focused on proactively protecting businesses from data breaches ever since the ransomware attack that sparked its formation. Named after the Spanish word for oyster—whose shell protects the pearl inside—Ostra delivers a comprehensive, managed cybersecurity solution that protects a business’ most valuable asset: their data. Ostra is dedicated to improving information security practices across the industry and making Fortune 100-caliber cybersecurity accessible to businesses of ALL sizes.

With a passion for educating others about cyber threats, Ostra considers it a high priority to help spread the word as a 2021 Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion.

“Too many times, we see the devastating impact of data breaches on real people—employees, business owners, customers, donors and more,” explains Michael Kennedy, Founder of Ostra Cybersecurity. “So that’s why Ostra is ‘all in’ when it comes to highlighting the importance of data security during Cybersecurity Awareness Month.”

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021Now in its 18th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to build momentum and impact with the ultimate goal of providing everyone with the information they need to stay safer and more secure online.

The Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champions Program is a collaborative effort among businesses, government agencies, colleges and universities, associations, nonprofit organizations and individuals committed to the Cybersecurity Awareness Month theme of ‘Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.’

As a 2021 Champion, Ostra supports this far-reaching online safety awareness and education initiative which is co-led by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Spreading Awareness

All month long, Ostra will be sharing educational content and cybersecurity tips on our blog and social media channels. Follow Ostra on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on Cybersecurity Awareness Month initiatives, as well as everyday data security topics that impact businesses of all sizes.

Ostra will also be promoting cybersecurity awareness this October by participating in Hacks & Hops—a FREE virtual security conference hosted by FRSecure on October 14, 2021. Ostra is proud to be a sponsor and presenter for this year’s event.

Hacks & Hops brings information security professionals together to learn, network and enjoy beer. This year’s full-day, virtual conference will include 12 speakers and 8 topics—ranging from mental health, cyber insurance, MSSPs, and more. Attendees can also earn up to 5 hours of self-study CPE credits by participating.

Michael Kennedy, Founder of Ostra Cybersecurity will share “The Problem With Tech Providers and MSSPs” as the final presentation of the Hacks & Hops event. This educational session will cover:

  • Best practices to recognize and reward clients’ current cybersecurity efforts
  • Obvious challenges being ignored (by clients and providers), and what to do about it
  • Opportunities for ALL to step up, keep learning and doing better, plus some words of advice to the cybersecurity industry

Learn more and register for this free cybersecurity event at hacksandhops.com

For more information about Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021 and how to participate in a wide variety of activities, visit staysafeonline.org/cybersecurity-awareness-month. You can also follow and use the official hashtag #BeCyberSmart on social media throughout the month.

2021: Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart

More than ever before, technology plays a part in almost everything we do. Connected devices have been woven into society as an integral part of how people communicate and access services essential to their well-being.

Despite these great advances in technology and the conveniences this provides, our lives and businesses can quickly be disrupted by cyber criminals and adversaries who use technology to do harm. Cybersecurity Awareness Month aims to shed light on these security vulnerabilities, while offering actionable guidance surrounding behaviors anyone can take to protect themselves and their organizations.

This year, the Cybersecurity Awareness Month’s main weekly focus areas will revolve around:

  • Understanding and implementing basic cyber hygiene, including the importance of strong passphrases, using multi-factor authentication, performing software updates and backing up data.
  • Recognizing and reporting phishing attempts whether it’s through email, text messages, or chat boxes.
  • Empowering individuals to not only practice safe online behavior, but consider joining the mission of securing our online world by considering a career in cybersecurity.
  • Making cybersecurity a priority in business by making products and processes “secure by design” and considering cybersecurity when purchasing new internet-connected devices.

Simplifying Cybersecurity for Diverse Clients

Ostra’s mission is to simplify cybersecurity for small and medium-sized businesses. This is accomplished by tailoring multi-layered cybersecurity—powered by technology that the world’s largest companies rely on—to fit smaller businesses.

In addition to working directly with clients, Ostra fulfills its mission by partnering with trusted advisors who serve businesses across diverse industries. Through its Channel Partner Program, Ostra empowers Managed Service Providers (MSPs), consultants, incident response firms, assessment firms and others who need to deliver best-in-class security solutions for their small- and medium-sized business clients as part of a broader IT services strategy.

Check out Ostra’s blog to learn more about their relationship with Channel Partners such as CyberFin and FRSecure.

About Ostra

As a next-generation MSSP, Ostra Cybersecurity combines best-in-class tools, proprietary technology and exceptional talent to deliver Fortune 100-level protection for businesses of all sizes. The result is a multi-layered, 360° solution that allows you to set it and forget it. For more information, visit www.ostra.net.

About Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is designed to engage and educate public- and private-sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity to increase the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. Since the Presidential proclamation establishing Cybersecurity Awareness Month in 2004, the initiative has been formally recognized by Congress, federal, state and local governments and leaders from industry and academia. This united effort is necessary to maintain a cyberspace that is safer and more resilient and remains a source of tremendous opportunity and growth for years to come. For more information, visit the National Cyber Security Alliance website.

About National Cyber Security Alliance

NCSA is a nonprofit alliance on a mission to create a more secure connected world. We enable powerful, public-private partnerships in our mission to educate and inspire individuals to protect themselves, their families and their organizations for the collective good. Click here for more information on the National Cyber Security Alliance.


Ostra’s Data Protection Commitment as a 2021 Data Privacy Day Champion

January 28, 2021 is Data Privacy Day—an annual initiative to generate awareness about the importance of privacy. Ostra is proud to join this global effort as a 2021 Data Privacy Champion.

As our personal and business lives become more interconnected throughout our online communities, it’s crucial to understand the impact of our decisions and actions online. Ostra is a Data Privacy Day Champion because we were founded on the belief that all businesses and individuals have a fundamental right to data privacy and security.

Ostra-Data-Privacy-Day-Champion-2021“Our company was founded with the goal of protecting business data. How you handle sensitive data is critical to how you care for clients,” said Ostra Founder Michael Kennedy. “Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to data privacy. We’re grateful for the opportunity to be a Data Privacy Champion because it allows us to help spread that awareness even further.”

This year’s initiative emphasizes cultivating trust among consumers by adopting data privacy frameworks and promoting transparency around data collection practices. In 2021, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is encouraging individuals to “Own Your Privacy” by learning more about how to protect the valuable data that is online, and encouraging businesses to “Respect Privacy,” which advocates for holding organizations responsible for keeping individuals’ personal information safe from unauthorized access and ensuring fair, relevant and legitimate data collection and processing.

According to a Pew Research Center study, 79% of U.S. adults report being concerned about the way their data is being used by companies. As technology evolves and the pandemic continues to influence how consumers interact with businesses online, data collection practices are becoming increasingly unavoidable, making it imperative that companies act responsibly.

As an industry leader in cybersecurity solutions, Ostra’s proprietary technology was built around protecting data. Keeping data private is not just a cornerstone to Ostra’s business, but a fundamental promise to the clients we serve. We do not store or collect any client data, and we leverage our best-in-class security technology to enable our clients to follow the same best practice.

Taking Action to Protect Data

In cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance, we invite our clients and partners to join us in Data Privacy Day by helping us spread awareness about how to protect the valuable data that is online. Here are tips to help guide our community to better data privacy practices.

For Businesses:

  • If you collect it, protect it. Data breaches can not only lead to great financial loss, but a loss in reputation and customer trust. Follow reasonable security measures to keep individuals’ personal information safe from inappropriate and unauthorized access. Make sure the personal data you collect is processed in a fair manner and only collected for relevant and legitimate purposes.
  • Consider adopting a privacy framework. Build privacy into your business by researching and adopting a privacy framework to help you manage risk and create a culture of privacy in your organization.
  • Conduct an assessment of your data collection practices. Understand which privacy laws and regulations apply to your business. Educate your employees of their and your organization’s obligations to protecting personal information.
  • Transparency builds trust. Be open and honest about how you collect, use and share consumers’ personal information. Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used and design settings to protect their information by default. Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization and the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.
  • Maintain oversight of partners and vendors. If someone provides services on your behalf, you are also responsible for how they collect and use your consumers’ personal information.

For Individuals:

  • Personal info is like money: Value it. Protect it. Personal information, such as your purchase history, IP address, or location, has tremendous value to businesses – just like money. Make informed decisions about whether or not to share your data with certain businesses by considering the amount of personal information they are asking for, and weighing it against the benefits you may receive in return.
  • Keep tabs on your apps. Many apps ask for access to personal information, such as your geographic location, contacts list and photo album, before you can use their services. Be thoughtful about who gets that information, and wary of apps that require access to information that is not required or relevant for the services they are offering. Delete unused apps on your internet-connect devices and keep others secure by performing updates.
  • Manage your privacy settings. Check the privacy and security settings on web services and apps and set them to your comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application or browser you use will have different features to limit how and with whom you share information. Get started with NCSA’s Manage Your Privacy Settings page.

About Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the Jan. 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. NCSA, the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness, leads the effort in North America each year. For more information about Data Privacy Day 2021 and how to get involved, visit https://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/.

About the National Cyber Security Alliance

NCSA is the Nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness. NCSA works with a broad array of stakeholders in government, industry and civil society. NCSA’s primary partners are the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and NCSA’s Board of Directors, which includes representatives from ADP; AIG; American Express; Bank of America; Cofense; Comcast Corporation; Eli Lilly and Company; ESET North America; Facebook; Intel Corporation; Lenovo; LogMeIn; Marriott International; Mastercard; MediaPro; Microsoft Corporation; Mimecast; KnowBe4; NortonLifeLock; Proofpoint; Raytheon; Trend Micro, Inc.; Uber: U.S. Bank; Visa and Wells Fargo. NCSA’s core efforts include Cybersecurity Awareness Month (October); Data Privacy Day (Jan. 28); STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, the global online safety awareness and education campaign co-founded by NCSA and the Anti-Phishing Working Group with federal government leadership from the Department of Homeland Security; and CyberSecure My Business™, which offers webinars, web resources and workshops to help businesses be resistant to and resilient from cyberattacks. For more information on NCSA, please visit https://staysafeonline.org.

Have questions about protecting your clients and data privacy? Connect with our team, or request a free security risk assessment to identify both known and unknown threats to your data.