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Countering cyber attacks is big business
BEING at the right place at the right time has put cyber security solutions and services firm Accel Singapore on the path towards success. As organisations around the world are looking for ways to defend themselves against cyber security breaches, Accel Singapore is meeting these needs by designing and implementing cyber security programs that protect the Information Technology (IT) environment and information assets of organisations.
Set up in May 2012 by chief executive officer Tammie Tham, the company has since established itself as a leading provider of advanced cyber security solutions. "We are lucky to be in the hottest segment of the IT industry," said Ms Tham, who had previously worked in multinational IT firms for more than 10 years.
"Even board members of large companies are questioning their senior executives if they are investing enough to protect and defend (their companies) against cyber attacks," she said.
Ms Tham added that companies are also concerned about security breaches which can damage their reputation and lead to business downtime.
"Partnering world-class security technology vendors, we offer solutions and services that can address your security concerns," she said.
Accel Singapore's three main services focus on information protection, advanced security management and compliance and advanced threat mitigation and response. Its information protection solutions include data loss prevention, privileged access management, encryption and public key infrastructure.
The company also offers advanced security management and compliance services such as security information and events management, logs management, deep packet inspection, security governance and compliance and cloud security.
The firm's advanced threat mitigation and response services include malware detection and management, endpoint security, network security, forensics and incident response.
Ms Tham said: "In addition to building security systems, we are capable of operating and maintaining them round the clock either on premise or offsite."
The company's comprehensive suite of cyber security programs have won the support of a growing base of large public and private sector companies in Singapore, allowing it to achieve exponential growth in profits.
Its revenue more than doubled and net profit more than tripled in its financial year ended March 2014. In the 2015 financial year, Accel Singapore's revenue increased by about a third and net profits tripled. To support its growth, the company has been on a hiring drive, which looks set to continue for the next few years. It has almost tripled its staff strength to 45 now, from 16 employees three years ago.
Besides achieving a strong bottom line, Ms Tham said the company has attained other milestones such as winning good contracts over the years and maintaining an annual staff attrition rate of less than 3 per cent.
Accel Singapore has also won accolades such as coming in fourth in the "50 Fastest Growing Companies" ranking in 2014 and winning the Profit Growth Excellence award in the Small Medium Company ICT category, under the S1000 awards given out by DP Information Group.
Confident that its solid track record will be attractive to foreign companies, the company has now set its sights on expansion in India and Japan - the home base of its two main stakeholders. Its majority investor is Accel Frontline Ltd which is a public listed technology company headquartered in India. Meanwhile, Accel Frontline is owned by CAC Corporation Ltd, a public listed IT services company headquartered in Japan.
"Currently these stakeholders are not doing any security business in their part of the world. We are keen to leverage their presence and relationships to expand our security footprint in those countries," said Ms Tham.
However, Accel Singapore faces challenges such as hiring from a limited pool of cyber security professionals and escalating manpower costs here. Ms Tham said the government has recognised that Singapore lacks skilled cyber security professionals and has put in place measures to grow the pool of these workers.
"But it will take time before we see any results. So far, we are coping with this problem through a series of new initiatives in talent retention and resource management," she added.
Accel Singapore offers salaries which are benchmarked to market rates. Supervisors are also encouraged to keep their staff members challenged and happy with their job scopes and working environment.
"We promote a culture of open communication and strive to build a support system for our employees. Our human resource policies are pro-family and we aim to offer our colleagues work-life harmony," said Ms Tham. In fact, the company has made staff retention a key priority for the next few years.
"I'm proud of my team of cyber security talents. Many of them are passionate about cyber security and are very committed to their employment with us. If not for their relentless dedication to their work, we would not be where we are today," said Ms Tham.
The company is also investing in technology to boost productivity and cope with rising costs.
"We constantly encourage our staff to think out of the box and to suggest innovative means to achieve goals and objectives. Our staff performance appraisal system also supports this core value," added Ms Tham.
When asked what advice she would give to budding entrepreneurs, she said they should dream big and stay committed to their passions and aspirations.
"Mark Twain once said, 20 years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did," she shared.