Falanx Group Ltd (LON:FLX) Chief Executive Officer Stuart Bladen caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the launch of MidGARD, the reasons for building their own platform, what microSOC’s are and the importance of channel partners
Q1: Stuart, another announcement from Falanx this morning and a bit of excitement, what’s it all about?
A1: So, when you do peoples cyber health for a living, like Falanx Group do, you get to see all of the latest threats, problems and hacks, you have to keep up with the bad guys so we learn a lot in real time and that puts us in a great place to develop our own software so we bought together a development team last year and we’ve just launched our new platform with our first major client. The platform is called MidGARD, that’s planet earth in Old Norse, but MidGARD also aims to guard the large middle ground in British business to provide good, quality standardised security services to high volumes of our clients.
Q2: There are other platforms out there, why didn’t you just buy in somebody else’s software?
A2: Good question. Several reasons, number 1, most platforms out there are relatively old, we’ve built ours on the latest open technology, things like Apatche Hadoop and Kibana. We did this to accelerate development and we wanted to include machine learning and to use big data to drive better analysis of security events so for our needs, we think it’s better.
Number 2, existing platforms are actually quite complex, they’re sold with many unnecessary features, they’re usually deployed in a single client and they take quite a long time to install. MidGARD, our option, is focussed on service and not unnecessary features, it’s designed from the ground up to put into multiple clients and to be deployed quickly. That’s really important because we’re going for rapid growth and volume market and we just needed to be faster.
Number 3, it’s our own IPR and that means that we get to control our client’s service, not someone else, we can adopt to new threats quicker and of course it saves a bundle in licence fees. So, it’s cheaper for us and it’s also cheaper for customers, they don’t spend lots of capital or lots of money on installation costs, they just buy a subscription from us based on what they use.
Q3: Now, you also talked about microSOC’s, what are they?
A3: We serve a lot of big companies right now but we believe that most small and medium size firms are going to have to buy cyber for the first time this year. Again, a few reasons for that:
Number 1, the government, the chancellor, has announced a major cyber initiative in the UK and if you now want to do business with Her Majesty’s Government you need a ‘Cyber Essentials’ certificate.
Number 2, next year brings a new law on data protection called GDPR, all companies must report and manage all of their cyber incidents, if you don’t you can be fined up to 5% of turnover and that means SME’s can longer put cyber into the ‘too hard’ pending tray.
Number 3, because of those fines, a lot of SME’s will want cyber insurance but to get cyber insurance you are going to need a cyber MOT and that’s what microSOC’s does. It’s like a set-top box for your TV or telematics in your car so SME’s just plug it into their network and it will do the basics for them locally, low cost on security. If it finds a problem, it will raise an alarm and report directly back to us and at that point we can arrive quickly to help, 24/7. This is a big step for SME’s towards their Cyber Essentials certificate, to complying with GDPR, that’s the General Data Protection Requirement, and help them to avoid fines and to get cyber insurance.
Q4: Finally, Stuart, your announcement also talked about channel partners, why is that important for Falanx Group?
A4: Because it allows us to build volume quickly, to reach many more companies and SME’s. Our partners are usually our clients already anyway, they have already put their cyber money with us so it’s only natural that they’ll want to pass that along to their own clients and get paid for doing so. It’s another reason why we need to go faster and make MidGARD cheaper and easier to deploy.