Aviva Zacks of Safety Detective had a wonderful time interviewing Reinard Mortlock, CEO of Livex. She found out how his company is helping keep South Africa safe from hackers.
Safety Detective: What got you interested in cybersecurity?
Reinard Mortlock: We initially started as a software company, and at a certain stage, we started seeing and reading about more and more software systems getting hacked because of small mistakes done by developers or the guys that set up a network or the servers. So, from a company’s perspective to give assurance to our client, we decided that we need to add a security element to our offering.
In South Africa, there is a massive need for cybersecurity. We started offering cybersecurity services either as a standalone or as a complementary service.
SD: Can you tell me about some of Livex’s services?
RM: Our core service is software development. We build solutions for businesses, either startups or corporates, and we know there’s a need for either an internal system or a software product that they would like to develop like mobile applications or web applications.
We’ve launched a complete security-focused managed services division where we run the entire network for a company in terms of the hardware, the software systems on the endpoints, and the firewall management. We’ve changed it to be more security-focused. Instead of just adding the standard network infrastructure, we do a complete network audit and implement solutions first.
SD: What types of companies use your services?
RM: The companies that use our services range from startups that haven’t launched yet to companies that have been running for 20 years.
SD: How does your company stay ahead of the competition?
RM: We do quite a lot of market research. We ask our clients what they would like to see. We try to stay very involved with the latest trends, like modern machine learning and standards trends.
We think of innovative ways that we can enhance a software solution for our clients and how can we improve our existing solutions. We do a lot of brainstorming and team building. We always write ideas on a board and then brainstorm it once a week and try to use that as a mechanism to spearhead or at least improve our services so we stay on top of our game.
SD: What do you feel is the worst cyberthreat out there today?
RM: I think a lot of people underestimate the skills of the cybercriminals out there and the lengths they would go to get your data. So, the worst cyberthreat is lack of education. When we do cybersecurity services, we also try to educate all the staff involved in the company to explain to them—what social engineering is and what a phishing email is. Why should they have an antivirus? Why is it a bad idea to go on to any torrent sites and download pirated software? We do cybersecurity and cyber education.
SD: How do you think that COVID-19 pandemic has changed cybersecurity?
RM: It has opened up a lot of doors because a lot of staff are outside the secure company framework now and they might be more exposed to vulnerable networks that might not have the same level of security at home. So, I think it’s quite an important aspect where a company should change the way they see network management to ensure that they either set up a secure VPN where everyone who is working remotely can connect to you and that it’s managed.
COVID has driven a lot of companies to think outside of the box of going to the office and then going home. I think a lot of companies have started to think digital which comes with its own challenges where they need to implement additional measures to protect their staff, their company data, and their infrastructure.
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