Read this article and more on Kevin Dawson’s LinkedIn Blog.
2020 has been a challenging year for many of us. We’ve endured lockdowns, learned terms like “flatten the curve” and “social distancing”, and adapted to seeing friends, family, and co-workers in little boxes on our screens. With the rollout of vaccines this past December, I believe we all have better things to look forward to in 2021. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past twelve months.
First off, given the unprecedented events of the past several months, I must say I am proud of the resilience of the ISA team. We met the challenges of COVID-19 swiftly and securely. All our staff transitioned to fully virtual, remote operations seamlessly when we activated our business continuity plan back on March 17. Every team member stepped up to help our clients protect their distributed workforces, from expedited licensing to secure remote access to security awareness training. And as the pandemic has worn on, we have stayed at our clients’ sides to handle the heightened cyber-attacks they have faced, as criminals sought to take advantage of the disruption caused by the crisis. Through the lens of our Cybersecurity Intelligence & Operations Centre (CIOC), we saw over three trillion security-related events in 2020 – nearly a 35% increase over 2019. Of that staggering number, some 120,000 unique security and event tickets were opened and investigated by our dedicated professionals. But the best number we saw this past year was zero – as in zero of ISA’s CIOC clients suffered a breach in 2020.
Not only did we avoid any layoffs or staffing disruptions in our offices around the world, but we also actually made significant expansions to our team, adding 17 new employees across nearly every department in the company, from our CIOC to professional services, account management and operations. And we supported all our staff during these challenging times by providing physical and mental health coaching and resources, while continuing our leadership journey following Brené Brown‘s Dare to Lead principles.
I am humbled to say that these efforts are being recognized by our clients and throughout the cybersecurity industry. In 2020, we were proud to be rated #1 for “Highly responsive staff”, among vendors evaluated by respondents to an IDC survey, and #2 overall ranking among security services in Canada. This is a great honour as we head into our twenty-ninth year of operation in 2021.
The silver lining to the COVID-19 crisis is that many companies have learned that they can pivot quickly, and innovate resourcefully, breaking down perceived barriers from the past. As many of our clients transitioned to an increasingly digital world, we responded with a wealth of online resources to support them. 2020 saw the launch of our weekly Cyber News digest, our monthly Cyber Cast Newsletter and our Humans of Cyber series. We revitalized our cyber threat blog with dozens of new insights and articles. We are developing a client alert system to bring attention to cyber threats. And in addition to hosting and presenting at a number of virtual conferences and webinars, we have launched a new series of informational videos and case studies to raise awareness about cyber threats. (If you’re interested, we’d love to get you involved in participating! Please contact us as we continue these programs into 2021 and beyond.)
We overcame the challenges of physical distancing to stay active in the community as well. In May, we supported LIVE MED AID, the live-streamed event in support of Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières in the global fight against COVID-19. This summer, in partnership with Varonis and McAfee, we raised money through a series of social distanced “mini-invitational” charity golf days with key clients in the Greater Toronto Area in support of CMHA Ontario to help with their important work in our local community. At Thanksgiving, in partnership with Tenable, we donated over 100 lunches and masks to The Hospital for Sick Children, North York General Hospital, and the Greater Niagara General Hospital, further recognizing the tireless efforts of our frontline workers.
In 2021, we expect to face even more cyber threats, as criminals continue to get more sophisticated and well-organized. As we saw this past year, cyber threats continue to increase in frequency, severity, and complexity. We will be at your side as your “new normal” becomes clearer, as your distributed workforce evolves, and as your digital transformation continues. We are strengthening our partner network to make sure you have access to the best technologies that suit your business needs and we have invested into and significantly expanded our Infinity Partner Program. We are expanding the staffing and skills of our CIOC. And we will continue to invest in AI, security orchestration and automation, digital forensics, and other maturing cybersecurity technologies, to provide you with the best cybersecurity services and solutions today – and tomorrow.
Your communication from ISA will also have a new look in 2021. In late January, we will officially launch our new corporate logo, colours and branding. Look for more announcements and the “big reveal” coming soon, followed by more improvements to our website in content and ease of use.
While our look will be different, our commitment to excellence will never change. We will keep supporting women in cybersecurity, keep championing cyber education, and keep working hard every day to provide cybersecurity services and people you can trust.
Kevin Dawson, President & CEO at ISA Cybersecurity Inc