Gideon Wilkins, the senior partner manager for the Middle East region at Fortra, speaks about his company’s recent rebranding, commitment to the region, and skills gap in the cybersecurity industry
What was the idea behind the rebranding of HelpSystems to Fortra?
We have been in business for over 40 years, specialising in developing scheduling and automation solutions. However, over the last five or six years, we have been working on a definitive plan to transform ourselves into a cybersecurity powerhouse.
We felt that HelpSystems was a name that had served us really well when we were helping people with IBM i systems. However, today as we are more synonymous with cybersecurity, we felt the time was right to rebrand the company to Fortra.
The new brand really expresses what we aspire to become, a global leader in data and cybersecurity.
If you look closely, the “A” in our Fortra logo is actually a triangle, and that’s the Greek delta symbol, which represents security and strength. That’s what we are doing, creating a stronger, simpler future for cybersecurity, and helping customers improve their security maturity.
How have you communicated your rebranding to your channel partners and customers?
Once the rebrand was officially announced, we worked with partners and customers on a series of webinars to explain the reasoning behind the new branding and how it impacts them moving forward.
We have close relationships with our partners and we’re working through the changes together, providing resources and helping them update collateral, and so on.
What is your commitment to the region?
We have put in place a two-tier channel model. We have four value-added distributors (VADs), all with different areas of expertise. We work very closely with them, through onboarding and further education. These VADs can support their downstream value-added resellers. We have also made sure that we have a unified structured approach for taking our solutions to an extremely eager market.
In terms of the demand from the regional market, how has that been?
The region is playing catch up with the governance and compliance regulations that are now in place all over the world. Over the last couple of years, we’ve been working on our ability to scale in the region and now that data regulations are in place, we are seeing strong demand for everything from data classification, secure file transfer, and data loss prevention, to digital rights management solutions.
We’ve been on a pretty expansive M&A journey over the last four to five years. We’ve built on our best-of-breed market solutions, which we’re developing onto a single platform. This approach will enable customers to share policies, alerts and reporting capabilities, and make cybersecurity more manageable for them.
You mentioned there’s a skills gap in the cybersecurity industry. What needs to be done in order to bridge that gap?
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think the industry will ever bridge the gap. It needs 3 million trained and experienced people. Even if you went out today and put 3 million people through university, it’ll be another 5-7 years before they reach their full potential and gain the operational experience required.
We can help customers with these skills shortages by making our solutions more efficient, integrating capabilities and functionality into a single platform, and offering our solutions as managed services. As we’ve acquired best-in-class cybersecurity organisations, we’ve also built up a 350-person strong team who are dedicated to supporting our customers whether that be fully managed or advisory.
How according to you has the threat landscape evolved over the past couple of years?
Over the course of my career, the threat landscape has evolved immensely. I have been doing this for 30 years! In the past, companies used to have a data center or an office with a perimeter firewall around it and they made sure that threats from the outside could not get in.
We’ve come a long way in the last few years as the pandemic introduced new remote working styles and the increased adoption of the cloud. The reality today is that you should no longer secure the network or a device. Instead, the right thing to do is secure the data, no matter where it is or what device it is accessed on.
Today, we’re a company with over 3, 000 employees with over 30,000 customers worldwide. Hence, we are well-equipped to help our customers secure their data, comply with regulations, and manage cybersecurity threats.