NTT Security was formed on 1 August when Japanese telco NTT united its security assets - primarily NTT Com Security and US outfit Solutionary - under one roof.
We caught up with its director of security strategy, Garry Sidaway (pictured), to find out more about the restructure and what he sees as the greatest threats facing customers.
How would you assess the last financial year for NTT Security?
Given the market consolidation we've seen, and the emergence of the platform, I think we've done pretty well all around. Where we've identified emerging technologies - the likes of Elastica, SkyHigh and iSight - some have been acquired by the bigger players, and obviously the biggest one was Blue Coat and Symantec. All those transitions create a bit of disruption and uncertainty in the market but the numbers have been solid.
Everyone is talking about ransomware, but what is the biggest threat you see your customers facing?
While ransomware gets a lot of headlines - I think it's the 20th variant of code that has been developed - we are focusing on advanced analytics. It's about how we start proactively protecting our clients, and that requires advanced analytics and security intelligence. We have started collaborating across our operating companies, but also the wider technology communities, sharing data and then turning that into security intelligence for our clients.
Trend Micro recently claimed that only one of the new breed of AI-based start-ups such as Cylance, SentinelOne and Crowdstrike will make it. What do you think?
We have to start thinking about the problems in a different way. We have created a cybersecurity innovation programme just because we want to embrace those emerging areas, because it gives you that fresh approach. Advanced analytics and machine learning are getting a lot of press at the moment and from our perspective, they're giving us a big advantage when we look at our managed security services business. We create over 65 per cent of our own signatures before the vendors come out with them, and that's based on machine learning and advanced analytics. That area will continue to drive a new approach and it ensures that the Trend Micros and Symantecs also start investing in that area, and that can't be detrimental to the overall market.
Before NTT Security was formed on 1 August, it was announced that all its sales staff would be transferred to NTT's three operating companies - Dimension Data, NTT Communications and NTT Data - which will act as the front end of the new brand. What is the rationale for this?
The strategy is to maximise where the right client engagement is with our operating companies and embed security into that, which is why we've made that significant change.
Our clients are looking for that complete services wrap. If you look at NTT Data, they are the largest deployer of SAP, Oracle and Salesforce. If you look at global cloud initiatives and global infrastructure, that's NTT Com and Dimension Data, and our approach is to embed security into that.
We heard that consultations with UK staff started last week. Where are you in that process? Have sales staff already been moved?
We've seen some movements already. We've seen some movements go through in Germany, and in the US we have seen some movements, and that will continue going through. The guidelines are to get this done as quickly and smoothly as possible, but there is no fixed timeline.
We are focused on what is best for the individual and what is best for the client. Clearly, we are trying to do this as quickly as possible, but it is paramount to make sure the individuals are embedding in the right operating companies, and that consultation is ongoing.
How many staff will this affect?
The objective is to transition the salesforce into the operating companies and this will affect all the sales operations - around 350 people.
With NTT Security no longer doing the selling, what status will it have within the group?
We are still driving services. Our go-to-market is the services and the solutions we supply to the operating companies. We will still have a brand in the marketplace. We still have to drive profitable consulting and managed services off the back of embedding security into the operating companies' go-to-market models. Sales staff will be embedded into the security functions of those operating companies. But they will still be targeted and remunerated against security sales.
We're seeing the emergence of some big pan-European security services firms, such as NCC and SecureLink, which seem to mirror what NTT Security does. What do you make of that trend?
We identified quite some time ago, as Integralis, that the transition into services was paramount for us. Our clients are asking for a services and solutions wraparound; that's why we've invested heavily in those consulting and managed services. We expect the competition to come in because that's what clients want, and certainly with NCC and SecureLink you are seeing that. From our perspective, it is now a global footprint not a pan-European one [that is required]. That is why we've made those changes: to maximise our potential within those markets that are now global.
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