We talked to Andrew Buldyzhov, CIO at H-X Technologies about information security and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Andrew Buldyzhov: Good, thanks for asking. Now I spend more time with my family, and less time is wasted travelling. But, of course, we all have had to improve our communication and living-together skills.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined H-X Technologies.
Andrew Buldyzhov: I’ve come to the company from industrial automation. This is a different world, compared to IT and cybersecurity, with somewhat different goals and objectives, approaches and technology. But these two worlds, IT and industrial automation are now coming together quite rapidly. So it has been interesting to apply my experience from industrial automation to cybersecurity, and it now helps develop a separate line of business for H-X Technologies. We put high hopes in this new area, and we are developing it as one of the leaders in Eastern Europe.
How does H-X Technologies innovate?
Andrew Buldyzhov: We follow global trends in the field of information security and respond to the most recent problems with the most modern methods and solutions. In particular, we apply the latest industry security standards such as TISAX, and we are also a leader in Eastern Europe in implementing this standard. We use advanced SOC approaches in order to respond to modern attacks like APT and supply chain attacks. Solarigate (Solarwinds) is a prime example of such an attack, which has affected many private companies and several US government bodies.
We respond appropriately to these attacks, and our monitoring tools make our customers feel more secure. In addition, we develop a number of our own solutions related to vulnerability analysis.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Andrew Buldyzhov: Many projects have been frozen or were postponed, but on the other hand, the configuration in the market changed due to the fact that some of our competitors could not stand the crisis and ceased their activities, and so we got their market share. Now the market is being redistributed, and we see positive dynamics in marketing, slightly less positive in sales, and we hope that 2021 will bring us greater financial results.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Andrew Buldyzhov: Yes, we did have to dismiss people, reduce resources, reallocate and reformat responsibilities. We are going to restructure the company and, perhaps, pay more attention to the established lines of business instead of starting new lines.
The lessons learned are:
a) We have realized the importance of employees’ competencies, including hard skills and soft skills and constant growth. Now we strive to increase the value of each employee and their contribution to the end result in the company’s income and profits. Our competency management system directly tracks this contribution.
b) We have begun to pay more attention to the independence of employees, which would allow them to be responsible for specific areas of work and deliver.
c) We’ve learnt that we should respond quickly to market changes and look for new market directions that are most relevant and on demand at the moment.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Andrew Buldyzhov: Remarketing, cross-selling and up-selling have always been quite important in our operations, so we try to track our customers’ full life cycle and appear at the right time in the right place. But nowadays, communications have become even more important, so we have been paying even more attention to customer feedback, which we use to improve ourselves, our services and, consequently, our reputation.
We use a standard set of tools for customer relations: a CRM system, mailing system, advertising remarketing tools, and we are also planning to optimize our CRM.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Andrew Buldyzhov: No, we have received none. We live independently of the state. We participate in government projects and tenders based on fair competition with other companies.
Your final thoughts?
Andrew Buldyzhov: Cybersecurity is becoming very important in the quarantine era. Remote work increases the amount of traffic and time spent on the internet. These are the reasons for the extensive growth in demand for security. However, there are also intensive reasons, such as the increased physical security threats to work-related information, social engineering, lack of traffic filtering in home environments, and blurring of corporate security perimeters.
We see that the market will continue to grow and develop, and we will grow in this market. Our company will occupy leading positions, and we will be more flexible in responding to market changes and capture new segments, both in horizontal and vertical markets.