Falanx Group Ltd (LON:FLX) Cyber Defence Executive Director Jay Abbott caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss how things are progressing at their new office in Birmingham, the prototyping of new technology, his thoughts on the government’s £20 million investment in cyber security education for kids, why Falanx is different and potential new contract wins
Q1: Now, when we last spoke you were just setting up in Birmingham, how are things progressing there?
A1: It’s going really well actually, the offices are a really nice place to be which helps us attract talent and we are recruiting heavily and bolstering the team’s skills and capabilities every single day so every day is a good day.
Q2: The announcement out today said that new technology is being rapidly prototyped as a consequence of the intelligence generated by your assessment, monitor and response teams, can you expand on that a little bit for me?
A2: So, it’s always been core strategy since I arrived here back in May to build out our own technology stack and to leverage the skills, expertise and observations that the actual company has in its daily operations. We’ve got highly skilled individuals, all of whom working with clients to help them mitigate and detect the latest advanced threats, that knowledge and understanding clearly rolls back and applies into our own technology stack.
Q3: And you said that this is little or no cost?
A3: Absolutely, again back to that statement, the people who work in the organisation, the types of skills that we actually need for clients are highly technical skills. Pretty much everyone in the company can code, most of us have development backgrounds in some way, shape or form so developing technology is largely an exercise in making our lives easier so always a good thing to do.
Q4: Now, the government is to invest £20 million into educating kids in the ways of cyber security with the hope that’s nearly 6,000 of them will end up trained up into cyber specialties by 2021, do you have any thoughts on that?
A4: Yes, of course. It’s probably worth pointing out that for the last 6 years I’ve been Chair of the Competitions Board for the UK Cyber Security Challenge so a not-for-profit backed by government to help find the next generation of talent and get them working on the right side of the fence in cyber. For many years now, we’ve been trying to address this problem and trying to get this next generation through and part of that strategy, which clearly now being fully implemented by the government, is getting down into both secondary and down into primary schools. If you can cache the people at that age where they’ve got that real interest and desire in technology systems and start embedding that skill set then that starts plugging the skills gap and that starts bringing all that talent through so that we have that succession planning in the industry and actually we become a tech power house, not just as a UK plc in general but as an entire country in terms of a beacon for the world.
Q5: We know it’s a competitive market but what do you think it is that makes Falanx Group Limited a company to work or to partner with?
A5: I say it often and I say it to my clients as well but we are a partnership organisation, we work with our clients in partnership, there are many people out there, as you said it’s a competitive landscape, who are able to provide service, there are many people out there with skills and capability. I guess the thing that makes us different is just going on a journey with our clients, helping them to solve the problem collaboratively rather than just coming in, doing a piece of work and then disappearing, we like to go on journeys with our clients, we like to stay there for the long run. Personally, I’ve got clients that I’ve been working with now for over 15 years and they’re the kind of relationships that I think endure, that actually take a company really beyond expectation.
Q6: Finally then, on the topic of contracts, are you in many discussions that could lead to potential wins? Is there a pipeline of people to speak with?
A6: Of course, I’m always limited in what I can say in this regard but the reality is the company is doing very well, we have lots of clients, we have new clients coming on board every day and we have many many different irons in many many different pies. So, yes, we’re very happy with where we are.