Information security in the corporate world is big business. And it’s business that aptly named Sense of Security is well placed to cater for.
“I took my first job in a company that was a specialist firm in managing firewalls for corporations,” recalls co-founder Murray Goldschmidt. “Firewalls then were still a black art. From that point on, I’ve never moved away from the sector.”
After emigrating from South Africa in 2000, Goldschmidt discovered an opportunity in the market while working at his first job in Australia. The gap, he says, required a company focused only in information security and risk management consulting.
His then-colleague Jason Edelstein became his business partner after the duo decided to create Sense of Security in 2002 to fill that gap. “We took a hobby and a passion and turned it into a business,” says Goldschmidt.
Like most start-ups, there were a number of challenges in building brand awareness. First and foremost, providing value to customers was a key driver. “We recognised long ago that we’re not only an information security business, but a relationship business – and when operating in a field as niche as ours is, this places even more emphasis of the importance of a healthy relationship,” says Goldschmidt.
As the business’ chief operating officer, Goldschmidt manages several long-term accounts, daily operational activities and assists the sales team to attract more business. Sense of Security is Sydney-based, with another office in Melbourne and soon-to-be-established offices in WA and Canberra.
“Our growth has been pretty stellar and we’re doing everything in our capacity to make sure we can continue to deliver high growth, but at the same time, keep focused so that we can have a profitable business at all times.
We run a tight business – we have no debt.”
One of the main issues Goldschmidt has experienced with a rapidly growing business is finding the right people. He highlights that while his staff are highly technical, they also need to be sales representatives for the business.
“It’s difficult to find people who share the same dedication and motivation as we do, and who are also highly talented as well. We’re looking for quite an important mix in the people that we hire.”
Goldschmidt believes there are strategies to get hiring right. “You have to identify what your core values are, and ensure throughout the interview process that you can determine if those people are going to live up to your expectations and be able to deliver to your core values. If you can make that assessment throughout your interview process, and ours is quite lengthy, then you’ve got a higher chance of finding the right candidate.”
With 12 current employees, Goldschmidt is committed to engendering a culture of passion and enthusiasm among the team.
“We love the space we’re in, we love the technology, we love the fast paced nature of the business that we’re in, and that gives us the excitement and the motivation to come into work. Personally, I get a lot of satisfaction in having established a business that is profitable; I get satisfaction in giving other people the opportunities to enjoy the ride with us and see those people develop their careers in our business.”
Since the business started, Goldschmidt has engaged a business mentor, which he maintains has been beneficial.
“It’s good to have a sounding board for some advice, especially from people who don’t necessarily have a vested interest in your business and they can provide you impartial advice.”
Sense of Security’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed. The business has won several awards, including back-to-back Deloitte Technology Fast50 listing in 2008, 2009 and 2010, a BRW Fast 100 listing in 2009 and 2010 and the Australian Business Award for Community Contribution in 2011.
Great businesses, ultimately, come down to great leaders. As a business leader, Goldschmidt describes himself as “tenacious”.
“I’ve identified that’s very important to having a successful business. Business doesn’t just land on your doorstep, you’ve got to go out there and fight for it!”