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Kieren Niĉolas Lovell: “We like to sell technology, whereas, in reality, no one cares!”

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Kieren joined #SWGMafia when he became a mentor for our first CyberNorth program in spring 2019, and we are excited that he will be joining CyberNorth 2 not only as a mentor but as Entrepreneur in Residence. While mine disposing is the thing that lead Kieren to Estonia, the “get up and go” attitude within the startup community made him stay and share his knowledge of all things cybersecurity not only with startups but students as well. We caught Kieren for “5 Wise Minutes” to hear from him why cybersecurity is so important and why it’s not something we can just leave to the IT guys anymore. 

Cybersecurity is a business problem now

Cybersecurity is disintegrating. From the IT security guys’ problem, it has become a business problem. The field has seen a big shift in attitude. As Kieren puts it: “What Mark Zuckerberg originally said of “privacy is not a thing” that has completely changed. People expect you to look after their data. Kind of if you loan a car out, you may loan the car out to a friend, but you do expect it to be returned in the same state as you gave it out.” And that’s the reason, Kieren thinks, why there’s a lot of space for cybersecurity startups. 

The mindset of “let’s protect around the perimeter” does not exist anymore. How can firewall help you if your data is in Amazon Web Services, but your employees are working from home? So it’s important to look at a much more bigger picture, and that’s a place where startups can grow. “Seeing teams producing better ways to identity and access management, better ways to protect your data, and also developing into other areas like information warfare and security, shows that the silo is gone. It shows the maturity of the cybersecurity field,” Kieren says. He’s convinced that startups like the ones he mentored in the first CyberNorth batch shows where the cybersecurity industry needs to be: “They’re small, they’re new and they’re nimble enough to adapt to what is actually happening. And while I’m helping them, they are helping me to understand what the next challenges will be.”

Sell the solution, not the technology

One piece of advice that Kieren has in his mind for anyone, not only cybersecurity startups – sell the solution, not the technology. “We like to sell technology, whereas, in reality, no one cares! What they want to know –  here is the problem, here is the solution and this is the technology that enables that to work. Sometimes people get obsessed with a one-track because they are thinking of a particular technology and they think the technology will sell it.”

Kieren has noticed that companies obsess over technology, even though we see on a daily basis that technology changes quickly. Therefore it’s really important to anyone coming up with an idea to already foresee that they will need to be flexible in regards to technology. “If you stick with one way of doing it, you will fail, but if the solution is good and the technology is sound (and flexible), they will mutually support each other.”

For more wise thoughts and deep dive into the cybersecurity world tune in to the video with Kieren.