HANDD has announced that it is expanding rapidly to meet enterprises need for better insights in data security. We caught up with Danny Maher, CTO and Chris Farrelly , Sales Director of HANDD to discuss this.
HANDD’s heritage is around expertise in managed file transfer (MFT) and data security. They offer advisory services to companies looking to ensure their data is secure. Maher summarized by saying: “We secure the journey of their data.”
Who needs data security
HANDD have developed their business primarily in the financial services market. They have several of the UK banks as customers including the Bank of England, Barclays and Lloyds according to Farrelly. However their customer footprint is already far wider than this across several industries. While they look to provide advisory and consultancy services they are not single engagement More than 150 customers have ongoing management contracts around their security offerings.
With GDPR coming into force by May 2018 this is an opportune time for HANDD to grow its business. They will shortly be operating from a new office in central Reading, within easy reach of London. With Crossrail due to complete in 2019 it will take just an hour to reach the city. HANDD is looking to expand its sales force to cover other vertical industries such as Oil and Gas, Pharma and others.
International expansion is limited at the moment, with Malaysia being their only office abroad. According to Mayer, while they assist vendor partners with implementations across the globe, they are not looking to expand further abroad initially. The Malaysia office came about due to the demand from banks to have a presence in or near Singapore.
Is growth a problem?
HANDD are looking to employ an additional 25 data security engineers over the next 12-18 months as part of the doubling of their workforce. We asked Maher where he saw them coming from. There is a huge shortage of security engineers at the moment, and he was reluctant or unable to reveal how that issue will be solved. HANDD are looking to work with universities as a source of new talent. That is not their only option but recruiting and retaining security staff is not easy for any company at the moment. Maher is confident though and believes the culture as HANDD will help attract, develop and retain that talent. How successful they are is easier to look at in a years time. What they are doing is accelerating training for their own staff, aiding at least three staff through CISSP to join the other six qualified staff. This is a double edged sword though, as trained staff become more valuable and could merely increase salary demands at HANDD. The issue for HANDD is whether they can deploy sufficient personnel fast enough to meet the growing requirements. If they start relying on contractors this could hamper their revenues and slow they growth.
Solving the problem
HANDD applies a three step security strategy to customer environments: protect, detect, respond. It does not provide any software itself but acts like a systems integrator. Initially, recommending the right solution for a task and then offering implementation services as part of a subsequent stage.
What is clear, is that companies are badly in need of data classification and protection. The initial discovery project can last from 3-12 months depending upon the size and complexity of the customer. HANDD’s experience is that many companies are not aware of where their data is, what it consists of and where it is going. Until companies have a handle on that, protecting it is almost impossible.
What HANDD are offering is a service that many companies will need to consider ahead of GDPR. As HANDD CEO and Co-Founder Ian Davin commented: “The market is growing incredibly fast and customers are having to cope with changing compliance and regulation demands, like PCI-DSS and GDPR, as well as juggle the need to keep up with a growing number of security incidents with a shortage of security skills in-house.”
It will be interesting to watch how HANDD grows over the next year. If they can increase the size of the consulting team effectively in line with the need of customers they could see rapid growth. How they continue that growth, will be a challenge, especially with recruiting new staff. It will be interesting to see how they achieve this.