Randal Pinto and Rahul Powar are by no means new to business. But while they have gained notability for recognition app Shazam, their latest endeavour involves trying to democratise the cyber security industry.
The duo, behind machine-learning startup Red Sift, argue that cyber security is the major data challenge of our time. Yet as an industry, vendors continue to derive huge profits through scare tactics rather than practical solutions.
With the company largely relying on technology, we spoke with Powar, the CEO, about the tools making Red Sift tick.
What piece of technology would you recommend other companies use?
Every firm should start building a technology stack from a security perspective. We always recommend using a second-factor authentication (2FA) solution such as Google or Sophos Authenticator to secure your login to all digital services.
Use of 2FA can stop data leaks and account compromises. We have seen that companies that have basic, standards-based cyber security measures in place, such as 2FA and DMARC, experience fewer attacks. Put bluntly, if your software vendors do not support these existing standards, choose new vendors.
What gadget/ device has helped you the most in business?
Without a doubt, the cloud. Admittedly not so much a “gadget” but definitely a concept and an architecture that has fundamentally changed not only how we build and sell solutions, but how we work as a business.
From selling cyber security as a SaaS product to collaborating as a team across documents and projects, the cloud offers a cheaper, more efficient and less resource-intensive means of accessing technologies. In turn, these applications support business processes and high trajectory growth, a clear advantage for SMEs with tight budgets and limited resource.
If you could purchase any piece of technology, what would it be?
Every time we walk into a meeting room we waste time trying to get our computers to connect with the presentation screen in the room. I would love to buy one of the new wireless screen broadcast gadgets on the market so we can simply plug and go.
In what business area do you rely on technology the most?
As a technology business, it’s pretty hard to say we’re more reliant in one area than another. We have our development and ops teams building and managing our core technology that we create ourselves.
For our sales and marketing teams, we rely on off-the-shelf software, such as Salesforce, because it comes with a whole ecosystem we can learn from and lean on. In particular, we use it to support pipeline management and reporting.
How has a digital approach helped you to carve out a bigger market and acquire new customers?
As a business, we focus on cyber security services for the wide range of businesses that are out there. Digital marketing via Adwords and content marketing via blogs drive new customers to our services and form a large part of our growth strategy.
How is technology helping you overcome hurdles, and what are the challenges of implementation?
We choose to use a number of complex elements of technology from multiple vendors as we like to select best-in-class products.
However, to get the most out of these solutions we then need them to talk to one another, sharing data and triggering workflows. To this end we’ve found services such as Zapier invaluable – it allows us to automate and integrate the various services into one seamless workflow.
Do you employ any kind of flexible working? How does technology fit into this?
As a small business a lot of value is derived from having everyone in the same room – ad hoc scrums, conversations across desks and whiteboarding problems. That being said, we know there are occasions when people need to work from home, this is when collaboration tools such as Slack really help to bridge the distance.
What kind of technology tools do you think staff cannot work without?
Modern multichannel collaboration tools such as Google Docs, GitHub and Slack are the lifeblood of our organisation. With all our documents and communications in one place, we can work anywhere and always have access to our data and each other.
How has technology helped you better compete with rivals?
With OnDMARC, our email security product, we focused on building a platform, not an army of people, to analyse millions of data points to deliver actionable insight straight to users.
This “computers not consultants” approach has helped us bring cyber security products to the many, not just a few.
Where do you want to take your business in the future?
We are building a cloud service to help SMEs and multinational businesses where ever they might be in the world.
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