Morgo Stories : Andy Prow of RedShield Security

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We can shield the system that you never intend to fix.
— Andy Prow, CEO of RedShield Security

Andy Prow, founder of cyber security firm RedShield, told Morgo delegates that he and his co-founder, wife Diane, will have travelled 150 thousand air miles by the end of this year. This punishing schedule is necessary if the couple are to achieve their ultimate goal: Create a $1B company and protect the safety and online privacy of 1B people.

RedShield’s solution of providing a digital security shield is timely. The world is entering a cybersecurity crisis with more human interactivity now happening at the digital layer than in person. Cybercrime costs $500B globally and is expected to reach $2T by 2020; both individuals and companies are impacted.

There is a great deal of variability in terms of how companies are responding to threats. Complex weaknesses can take months to fix and require extensive staff training, and as a result some risks are simply left unaddressed. It’s estimated that almost half of all companies around the world will ALWAYS be vulnerable … and so too the data we as individuals share with the organisations we interact with online.

RedShield focuses on the 30% of breaches involving attacks on web applications, which exploit existing vulnerabilities rather than being particularly clever. Their exquisitely simple solution? Provide a protective tech layer rather than fixing the problem itself.

What this means in practice is that speed has become a key value proposition: because no application code needs to be rewritten, the time taken to shield each issue takes from just a few minutes to a few hours. Additionally, clients do not need any expert knowledge or have to engage in staff retraining for the solution to work.

As Andy recalls, the company initially focused on finding and reporting problems, but he soon realised this was of limited value to clients as there are often multiple weaknesses and they can each take a long time to fix. RedShield took a new direction in 2012 when they started to work on making security problems go away. Part of this pivot was about shielding all the boring, tedious backend aspects of enterprise level systems that are too difficult and peripheral, and that may require significant staff training. This has resonated with clients: “We can shield the system that you never intend to fix,” explains Andy.

The Prows have learned more about their customers through extending into multiple international markets. Establishing a process for selling the concept has taken time, and they now work with potential clients inside their own company: “they need to realise they have a problem; they have to care about it; they have to understand the options; and they need to know they need to be shielded, ideally with our product,” says Andy.

The 2012 pivot from detection to prevention has allowed the company to reach another level. Currently, 50 staff work from a number of locations in New Zealand, Australia, the US and the UK, but Wellington remains RedShield’s HQ. An international Technical Advisory Board has been established with several “global heavy-weights” appointed to constantly challenge the company’s tech offerings and future strategy.

A slew of accolades shows their success is soundly based on good tech and smart businesses practices. RedShield won Most Innovative Hi-Tech Service at last year’s Hi-Tech Awards, and was also named a finalist for the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

In late 2016, the company successfully completed a Series A funding round for NZ$6.2 million to support their global expansion. Continuing on from the impressive growth achieved to date – 450% over the past three years, RedShield is striving forward. A Series B is on the cards as Europe and other potential markets come to the fore. “When we started we were having lots of meetings but few conversions, but now with our sales process we are getting 80% conversion,” explains Andy. This is certainly an enviable achievement and makes RedShield a high-growth New Zealand tech company to watch.

Andy on sales: “I’d rather a quick No than a forever Maybe.”