If you are serious about building a company, you need a team behind you.

Hard-working founders who came up with the vision for a business may be tempted to keep control of all the key decisions – but doing so may hamper growth.

“You need a massive level of grit and belief to start a business; you also need a team,” Performanta founder and CEO Guy Golan tells TechBlast.

“You cannot run a company as an individual, unless you see it as more of a lifestyle than a business. From day one, I’ve viewed Performanta as a business.”

Once you have built a team, he advises: “Be continuously critical with yourself and empower your team to do the same. Create an honest culture where your team feel like they can talk openly. 

“Too often, business settings cause individuals to soften their words and hide what they really mean. Fostering an environment where the team feels safe to openly discuss issues has been transformational for our firm.

“Continue to understand the market, what direction it’s going in and your place within it.”

Performanta’s journey

Performanta started its journey in South Africa as a tech-led solution to cybersecurity before moving into the UK market in 2010. 

“We quickly realised that tech alone was not enough,” explains Golan. “There was a big pain point in the market: a lack of consultation. Tech was not being utilised properly and we set out to plug that gap.”

He says the pain point they identified only grew: “Companies started to imitate us, which only validated our proposition, and the market soon filled with healthy competition. Then we discovered it’s also not enough to simply provide consultation.

“Hackers changed tack. They skilled up on a huge scale, and were viewing the cyber landscape through a very different set of eyes. Now, every tool can be bypassed and, for most organisations, cyberattacks are an inevitability. 

“We adapted our offering to provide managed services to our clients, simply because we knew that was what was needed in order to properly secure their environments. We moved away from notions of ‘security’ and instead focused on fostering ‘cyber safety’ across our client base.”

By fully understanding clients’ needs and changing its entire business model to meet them, Golan says Performanta is making their environment safer.

If you believe in an idea, have the guts to take action

Snake oil

He says a great deal of “snake oil” exists in the cybersecurity industry.

A lot of tech and consulting available in the market doesn’t actually fix the problem,” he says. “The way we do that is by providing unique, transparent – and most importantly – accurate data that is clearly understood by the board, not just the CISO.

“Data is of course a big sell in cybersecurity as it provides visibility. But unfortunately, a lot of this data is not accurate, and therefore gives businesses a false sense of security that is only fully realised when the company is hit. 

“CISOs often deal with data that’s two to three weeks, maybe even months, old. How can they make decisions today based on this information?

Secondly, most data is only understood by the technical team. Our service presents the data in a way that makes sense to the right stakeholders to enable to them to make the right decisions. 

“Responses from the board in relation to cybersecurity are often either paranoid or apathetic; they don’t understand the security situation because they don’t understand the data. They sign cheques without knowing the delivery.

“This has caused a gap between CISOs and the board, with the CISOs lacking the ability to translate meaningful information. We provide a cybersecurity translation service with real-time data.”

Top tips

 So what are his top three tips for firms from a cybersecurity perspective?

“Number one: strive for visibility as much as possible. 

“Number two: grow a culture of daily planning. 

“Number three: make your governance, risk and compliance operational, not consulting. GRC tells you all computers need to be patched and passwords need to be a minimum of 14 characters, but it doesn’t go into detail. Only when you focus on the operational level will you start to create a strong defence.”

Lessons learned from startup to scaleup