Ethnos IT Security Solutions Limited is celebrating 10 years as an IT Security solution provider. Can we know how it all started?
As a company we were designed to provide security solutions to organisations, businesses and others. As technology keeps improving we came to knowledge that security is the backbone of technology. We can’t talk about technology advancement without thinking of how to secure your business assets and human to human engagements. We, at Ethnos IT Solutions have grown with the growth of technology, Today, technology is looking at artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, metaverse, digital transformation, Holography and many others. We have grown with these new technologies and also improved in our capacity and skillset to support our customers as they consume these technologies. We have grown our market base, personnel, in terms of global technical engagements we have grown also. That is the journey. Someone said if I survive 5 years it means we would be in business for long and thank God we have survived these 5 years and we are ten today. Ten years has been a good experience for us. We have our ups and downs but we keep evolving.
Are you focused in B2B relationship or B2C relationship as it pertains to cyber security business?
Currently, we have a wealth of experience and we have changed our thinking and vision as a company. What we do now is to solve real problems for organisation and we are not limited in our thinking. We are not limited in any area of cyber security. Companies and organisations are on a journey as it pertains to business and we come in to solve problems for organisations in terms of security. We are no longer at this stage delivering products but solving problems. Some customers we evaluate them, some we train them and improve their cyber hygiene culture, some we deploy technologies to control their touchpoints, some we help on their regulatory compliance and certification journeys. We do firewall, application security, database security or perimeter security. So, we look at businesses and implement threat management and we have platforms that we can plugin your environment and help you control and detect threats from internet exposure to data base etc. We detect and remediate these threats. We also conduct threat hunting and keep checking what criminals will check for, we detect it before the criminals. We specialise in solving problems for customers regardless of what you are doing.
Do you do Penetration and vulnerability testing for companies?
Yes, we always do that for customers, before we implement anything, we first assess your threat and risk level… we do what we call threat assessment. This is the first level we take. Currently, we are conducting vulnerability and assessment testing for most of the stockbrokers as required by the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
What do you think about security breaches in Nigerian banking system?
There is the roadmap from Central Bank for banks on the levels of protections that should be in place. They have gone to define some framework that the banks must have, they are also looking at mobile environment such as mobile applications. If the CBN defines a roadmap, then banks must follow them because they are developed from expert experience and advise. So, banks must follow these guidelines. I’m not aware the Nigerian government has enacted a law that compels every organization to make their breaches public. This is what a responsible government must do. Banks are making huge efforts and investment to protect their data and that of their customers. I do sympathize with them because as they borrow new frameworks and technologies, they sometimes run into difficulties and no organization is breach proof and I know that the banks and CBN aren’t sleeping.
What about independent merchants and those deploying mobile apps?
As of the merchants, I don’t know how much regulatory frameworks are into this area. People are spinning out all kinds of mobile app, depending on what they are offering and these apps collate critical information from people and we do not know how they store and process it. We do not know the level of investment and I do not know how they do their source code analysis etc? We know how much source code analysis cost. The criticality of source code environment determines how strong the app is and criminals are now looking in that direction to launch attacks… there is the need to regulate them because if the apps are vulnerable, the users are in trouble.
Now, what do you think about public sector and what do you think that the government can do?
In business you have to know that there is what is called “focus”. Our focus as a business is to offer solutions to private businesses, it is easier and faster to deal with the organized private sector. Government isn’t an easy client to deal with, we do not want to be distracted while chasing or engaging with government. We know the political side of it and we are apolitical as a firm. If the government wants to engage us, we are open to consultancy but as per chasing government contracts, we are strictly focused on private sector. Although, we are engaging with NITDA as a DPCO (Data Protection Regulator Organization) that has been certified by NITDA. We want the lawmakers to make law on security of critical public infrastructure. There are couple of experts who are speaking to government here. We believe that it will come out positive.
You changed your corporate logo, why the change?
When we started as a company, we wanted to create an identity but as we have come of age, we tweaked our logo a bit to reflect whom we are as of today. The concept of the circle you find in our logo shows a network of our customers. If you look at it clearly it is not broken, we meant here that our customers are safeguarded and we are supplying the livewire they need to grow. We wanted that to reflect in our logo as a problem-solving organization.
What have you learnt this past 10 years as a CEO of an IT firm?
As a Chief Executive Officer of this organization and the leader of this team, I have learnt a lot of things. As a person, I have learnt to create a platform for people to thrive. We recently created an academy where people are recruited and made to know the rudiments of cybersecurity. We created a platform that will have skills available to the young ones and we trained them at no charges. We are building a platform of security experts. We are also a strong and bonded team; we encourage people to try. Opportunities abound in the market and we encourage people to take advantage of them. I also learnt that you just have to put in your best strategically and see where life take you. I enjoy what I do, it is no longer like a work to me but a lifestyle.
How did you gain market acceptance during your early years as an indigenous firm?
Well, it is mindset which has become cultural where Nigerians believe that foreign firms are better but we met some Nigeria who were of different opinion and they gave us a chance and here we are today. The industry has grown today, we were early birds that came to the industry when it was young or green. The security industry has grown so wide and today a lot of people have joined and the industry has grown. What sets us apart is that we do not only provide products but we provide services. We go to companies with questions like; what have you tried and failed? What are your plans for security? what fears do you nurse and your plan? We help organization answer these and even equip the people with skillset. We help organization to optimize their products. These are few of the things that sets us apart. We appreciate those that gave us a chance during the early days. A good number of Nigerian companies died off due to the acceptability of their products where many business owners think that foreign firms are better. Some companies are built from scratch to survive and we are built to stay in business and provide an environment for many others to thrive and grow.
What do we expect from you in future?
Currently, we are running a platform that allows us to conduct detection and response. It is a managed service that is focused on threat hunting. We want to grow that platform and see many organizations cost effectively enjoy security protection. We want to expand our capacity and give people opportunity to express themselves and contribute to protecting national assets. Cyberspace is getting more dangerous today with software everywhere, we have houses, watches, phones and a whole lot that is powered by software and because software is everywhere, it means that risk is everywhere. We want to stay relevant and ensure that these software are protected because they carry critical information from health, flight, defense, education to financial to others.
Today, technology is looking at artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, metaverse, digital transformation, Holography and many others. We have grown with these new technologies and also improved in our capacity and skillset to support our customers as they consume these technologies. We have grown our market base, personnel, in terms of global technical engagements we have grown also. That is the journey. Someone said if I survive 5 years it means we would be in business for long and thank God we have survived these 5 years and we are ten today. Ten years has been a good experience for us. We have our ups and downs but we keep evolving.