It might have gone unnoticed in local business circles, when global consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton announced recently it had made a strategic investment in a new and rapidly growing cybersecurity firm called Tracepoint.
But the deal is noteworthy in this area because Tracepoint has deep ties to Baton Rouge. Though the firm is not based here—its home office is in Virginia—it was co-founded and launched just two years ago by Baton Rouge-based Plexos Group, a program delivery, crisis management and IT solutions company owned by David Odom, Kirk Fisher and Paul Rainwater.
“This is such a wonderful and amazing opportunity for Tracepoint,” says Fisher, Plexos Group COO. “We’re very excited about the scale and breadth and depth that Booz Allen brings to the table.”
That a local firm could launch a cybersecurity startup that, in less than two years, would attract a significant equity investment from a global contractor like Booz Allen says as much about Plexos Group as it does about Tracepoint.
“It speaks to our ability to identify companies, incubate those companies within the four corners of the Plexos infrastructure, build those companies and build enterprise a rather significant way,” Fisher says
It also speaks to the growing need for cybersecurity services in a world that finds itself increasingly under attack.
“Cybersecurity is a business-enabling function that directly affects an organization’s potential to deliver to the bottom line,” says Jerry Bessette, a Booz Allen senior vice president and leader of the firm’s commercial strategic readiness and incident response team. “Tracepoint has a proven track record of helping clients respond to attacks with resiliency and we’re proud to invest and enhance these incident response capabilities. A growing array of domestic and international cyber threats means that having tested plans in place to mitigate threats will only become more of a business imperative.”
Odom, Fisher and Rainwater co-founded Tracepoint with three cybersecurity experts—Chris Salsberry, Brett Anderson and Rob Driscoll—in 2019, after recognizing the growing demand for such services.
While Plexos provides IT remediation services, among other things, it doesn’t specialize in incident response—coming in immediately after a cyberattack, determining where a breach occurred, negotiating with the actors and paying their ransom.
That’s what Salisbury, Anderson and Driscoll specialize in, and they have experience and connections around the country, which has enabled them to grow the company the Plexos Group helped them launch.
With the new investment from Booz Allen, Tracepoint will be able to reach a whole new level of growth, Salsberry says in a prepared statement.
“Their support helps elevate and grow our incident response capabilities,” he says. “As we’ve seen across client engagements, organizations must relentlessly prepare for a cyber incident to reduce their risk.”
The size of the Booz Allen investment in Tracepoint was not disclosed and Tracepoint does not disclose its revenues or the names of its clients.
Meanwhile, Plexos Group is also growing fast. In addition to IT remediation services, the firm has a robust presence in the disaster recovery space thanks to its proprietary software tool Plexosoft, a customizable disaster program management system that has been used in multiple jurisdictions to help administer recovery programs following natural disasters.
Plexos Group has also landed several contracts related to COVID-19 relief, including managing call centers for unemployment claims related to the pandemic and helping to build out the temporary hospital in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
“Our projects are not always all wonderful, glorious examples of technology,” Fisher says. “Sometimes they just fill a need, but everything we do helps people recover from some form of a disaster.”