J2 eyes expansion as it deals with COVID-19-driven market turbulence
Cybersecurity firm J2 is revisiting plans to expand after the outbreak of COVID-19 forced the company to temporarily halt its growth strategy.
The plan is to expand into Africa then further afield into Australia, the UK and Europe.
J2 will do this regionally and start with the SADC region, then East Africa, then West. The approach is to work closely with partners on the ground and support this growth with support of the skills in South Africa.
CEO John McLoughlin says over the past three years the company has remained focused on its service level to customers as demand for solutions continues to increase, along with the need for cyber resilience.
“Our drive is to be strategic partners to our customers and not simply another supplier who sends an invoice each month. We focus on showing real return and value for our customers. We adapt to help with current requirements and make sure they are improving their cyber resilience maturity over time. This approach has been very successful because we know that you cannot keep defending the same way and expect different results. Cyber security and the way you prepare to detect, prevent and recover from incidents is an ongoing process and there is no silver bullet where you drop in bit of tech and everything just goes away.”
As part of its global expansion strategy, the company has appointed a new partner manager and a new national sales manager, Roy Alves.
The intention says McLoughlin is to develop and sustain a cyber security skill set within the company to enable businesses across Africa to identify and address their cyber capacity needs.
"Roy brings a great deal experience in scaling and building a business and we have very similar beliefs in how to focus our energies to ensure our customer’s success. Having Roy join us to continue to mature our sales delivery capacity has been one target area of expansion. With his experience he will ensure that the South African business continues to grow and he is also brought a fresh set of eyes to communicate our managed security stack to our customers,” says McLoughlin.
Having recently worked for Mimecast, Alves has a wealth of experience in the IT security space, according to J2. He spent more than 12 years educating and building a channel in South Africa and the rest of Africa to support this shift moving from an analogue CCTV to a digital IP surveillance world.
Alves says he found J2's commitment to protecting their customer environments against cyberattacks extremely refreshing. "What attracted me most was that they certainly walk the talk. I found comfort in their approach and commitment to supporting the customers."
He adds: "No doubt in this current digital era we find ourselves with an increase in cyberattacks that are even more sophisticated than before. Post COVID threat landscape has shown that less than 50% of companies in South Africa have a cyber-resilience strategy in place with over 80% of companies reporting that they had been breached due to their lack of cyber preparedness.”
Alves aims build a sophisticated cybersecurity skillset throughout Africa. "My vision is to further establish J2 as the partner of choice in the cybersecurity space in Africa. I believe there is a huge opportunity in the African market to build these skills locally."
"As more businesses adopt remote working strategies, it is key to educate employees and build awareness around cybersecurity. Embedding a culture of security is the key to protecting people and businesses from the cybersecurity risks," he says.
Fully secure entity
McLoughlin says the transition from a user-centric approach and fully securing an entity is essential for organisations today.
“If you do not know what is going on at the “coal-face” where your people interact with systems, accounts interact with systems, server access, movement of data and identifying anomalies, then you will always be chasing your tail. Another reason for our success has been the ability to automate and reduce costs for our customers by combining cyber security into a managed service. We have a skilled, diverse (and growing) team that brings specialisation into different areas of risk in a changing and evolving world of work.”
“We do not deploy tech for the sake of tech and our approach means that we help push our customers beyond just ticking a box,” McLoughlin adds.