A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week: Essential Security Software.

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What:
Essential Security Software

Who:
Ray Zambroski, president and chief executive.

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What it does:
The Bellevue company develops software that allows users to send e-mail that can be viewed only by the intended recipient. The e-mail and accompanying attachments can’t be printed or forwarded; can’t be copied; and can be deleted at a specified time.

How it works:
The sender uses Essential Security’s software to send the e-mail securely. Recipients then must download an application that allows them to view the e-mail and attachments. The download for the recipient is free.

Backward:
The recipient can also reply securely by using the application.

History:
Founded in 2003, the company had the goal of creating an easy-to-use, affordable security system for e-mail.

Evolution:
Thousands of people are using the company’s first product today. It is slightly more complicated because it requires a key, similar to a password, to be exchanged between users. In the next few months, the new version will advance to a simple download. It is priced at $34.95 per user for a one-year subscription.

Target customer:
Zambroski said Essential Security is going after small businesses that can’t afford expensive enterprise systems. Nine million businesses worldwide have between five and 24 computers, and 30.9 million have between one and four computers, Zambroski said.

Example:
Zambroski said one of his first customers for the new version is a consultant who was losing contracts. After sending in his proposal by e-mail, the recipient would forward it to the competition. By seeing the proposal, the consultant’s competitor could easily match or beat the estimate. Under the Essential Security system, the recipient could not pass it along.

Limitations:
The software doesn’t stop people from copying the material by hand or reading it aloud. “We are a big, old fat speed bump,” Zambroski said. “There’s nothing perfect, but we do allow them to very affordably set up and maintain a best security practice.”

Stats:
The company has 12 employees and several contractors and part-timers. It has raised $1 million from friends and family and angel investors.

— Tricia Duryee