IT Security and Solutions in 2021

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Stefan Auerbach, CEO at Utimaco talks about the evolution of cybersecurity and compliance solutions and how they’ve been the root of trust in IT and IT security in this quick chat:

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Stefan, we’d love to hear more about you and more about Utimaco…

Utimaco is a global platform provider of trusted Cybersecurity and Compliance solutions and services; the company has grown significantly over the past few years, both organically and through strategic M&A activities (most recently we acquired MYHSM, the leading provider of Payment HSMs as a Service), and I am proud to be part of this team and its success story since I joined first as Chairman of the Advisory Board in 2018 and then as CEO in 2019. Due to corona, I have not been able to travel to our subsidiaries in the US, in Asia or even to the UK and meet our colleagues in person for a year now, and I sincerely hope that as vaccination progresses travel restrictions can be lifted, allowing our teams to come together to give our innovation and team spirit an extra boost! I for one cannot wait to get on a plane again…

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Tell us more about your latest product, u.trust Anchor?

u.trust Anchor is one of two major strategic developments we are launching this year, supporting the digital transformation and increasing use of cloud services while ensuing security requirements of our customers. Securing (i.e. encrypting data in the cloud) has its challenges, and requires cloud service providers and organizations across all industries to maintain large estates of Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) that create highly secure cryptographic keys. With u.trust Anchor, we provide clients a way to reduce complexity and increase flexibility by allowing them to run and manage up to 32 different instances on one single hardware platform, without compromising security or performance. As you can imagine, having one hardware appliance instead of 32 also frees up rack space, reduces power consumption etc. So u.trust Anchor also gives them a competitive edge by reducing total cost of ownership. We believe that HSMs as a service is the future for our markets, and the overwhelming positive responses to our launch of u.trust Anchor has confirmed this is what the market has been looking for.

Seeing the accelerated pace of digitization and the need for better IT infrastructure to support safer services for finance and other regulated industries, what are some ways in which you feel products need to evolve in future to safeguard business and consumer safety and interests? 

What we see and how we are evolving as a company is a transition to solutions rather than products. Few organizations have the resources anymore – both in terms of budgets and internal expertise due to skill shortages, especially in IT security – to develop and build their IT infrastructure based on their own selection of disparate products. Utimaco is working to offer proven best of breed solutions through either in house solutions or strategic partnerships where we have partnered with other leading security vendors to create proven solutions. Security should never be an afterthought as consumer trust is hard to rebuilt once it is lost, but to organizations that need to implement it, it can feel like a cumbersome and expensive obligation that is not even rewarded in terms of a higher price or customer satisfaction – if it is done correctly, security is invisible. To support our customers and ultimately to create trust in the digital society, we need to provide security solutions that meet business and regulatory requirements and give organizations the freedom and flexibility to focus on their core competencies.

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In what ways have you observed the changes due to the global pandemic affect agility and innovation in IT security across industries?

IT security has been in high demand since the beginning of the pandemic, as you can see from the high market evaluation of companies in the sector. Working remotely and offering products and services online has now become the norm. Even industries such as Banking and Finance, that never dreamt about this situation pre-pandemic, have begun to utilize online even more and IT security has been a critical enabler in making this possible. You could say that the focus was on agility in the past year – ramping up digital solutions in record time, adapting to different circumstances and levels of digitization in different industries, enabling new digital business models for primarily brick and mortar retailers etc.  – and now is the time for innovation, building on the existing solutions. I think I said it before: IT security needs to create solutions that meet business requirements and give organizations the freedom and flexibility to focus on their core business, grow and adapt to meet the evolving business needs.

A few thoughts that you’d like to share on the top security priorities that companies (especially regulated industries or firms like fintechs / banks) need to focus on more strongly through 2021 and beyond?

IT security has been in high demand since the beginning of the pandemic, as you can see from the high market evaluation of companies in the sector. Working remotely and offering products and services online has now become the norm. Even industries such as Banking and Finance, that never dreamt about this situation pre-pandemic, have begun to utilize online even more and IT security has been a critical enabler in making this possible. You could say that the focus was on agility in the past year – ramping up digital solutions in record time, adapting to different circumstances and levels of digitization in different industries, enabling new digital business models for primarily brick and mortar retailers etc.  – and now is the time for innovation, building on the existing solutions. I think I said it before: IT security needs to create solutions that meet business requirements and give organizations the freedom and flexibility to focus on their core business, grow and adapt to meet the evolving business needs.

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