This is a transcript of the Sky News interview by Peter Switzer with Theo Hnarakis, Chairman of Dropsuite, discussing the growing issue of cyber threats and how small to medium sized businesses can protect and restore their valuable data if they are ever victimized.
Sky News: 30,000 websites get hacked every single day and 20% of emails are hacked every year. So what is IT company Dropsuite doing to cater to the market demand for cyber security? And how is it reflected in company results? Well, they haven’t really come out to date but we’ll still see how the company is going. Dropsuite Chairman, Theo Hnarakis joins me [we’ve been practicing that]. How are you, mate?
Theo: [laughing] Good thanks, Peter.
Sky News: I did okay. I could have done a lot better. Now listen, mate. Good to see you. Dropsuite listed in December 2016.
Sky News: What does the company do?
Theo: We provide online backup, particularly for small to medium sized enterprises. We’re in a time period where basically small businesses and medium businesses are going online in droves. They are discovering the opportunities, but they don’t really understand the threats that exist out there. What we do is provide a continuous backup service that they don’t have to think about — it gets backed up in the cloud on the AWS platform (Amazon Web Services) — and it’s encrypted at a military-grade level so technically the small to medium sized businesses can sleep at night knowing that they haven’t had to do anything. Everything is happening in the background for them.
Sky News: So, obviously you can’t protect against people making stupid mistakes like clicking some link and allowing some malware from a hacker to get inside their system — or can you?
Theo: Well, no. But what we do know is that there used to be two certainties — death and taxes. Now there are three — cyber threats. And they are omnipresent. We will all be touched by a cyber attack somewhere in in our lifetime being involved in the Internet. We know that. Also, we make mistakes. Downloading new applications. Uploading information perhaps we shouldn’t have been uploading — whatever it might be. So when that mistake or hack occurs, what the customer knows absolutely is that their data — which is sitting in the cloud – is protected. It hasn’t been attacked and they can recover it. The really unique thing about Dropsuite is it’s one click to provision and one click to recover.
Sky News: Normal people out there would say, “What does one click to provision mean?”
Theo: Through their hosting provider [and we’ll talk about what’s unique about the company in a minute] but on their management platform where they basically administer their replications/applications whatever, they can click and it will restore whatever data — for whatever period [of time] they are looking for without having to think about it — without manual intervention — without having to call their service provider and wait on the phone for 3-4 hours and then get them to go away and manually do it. They [SMBs] can restore any of their data, literally, with a click of a button. Which is critical.
Sky News: Okay, that’s provision. You said there is something else that they do — click for provision and click for…
Theo: Click for provision and click for recovery. So if they are hacked and they’ve lost data — and data on a website, customer data, is critical as we know — to lose that data and not recover it quickly…last week I was watching your show and the Chief Executive of Dominoes was on. Very good interview. He described Dominoes as a technology company. Clearly, they are a large company now and they can afford enterprise grade support and everything else — but the reality is they started as a small and medium business — they never would get to where they are if they were hacked and their website went down for 2-3 days.
Sky News: Yep, yep.
Theo: I’m looking for a pizza and if I can’t get it from Dominoes, I’m going to go to the nearest competitor. So the reality is, is that’s critical — that they’re up all the time and second, is their customer data, or their database resides on the website. If they lose that data, can you imagine the impact that would have on their business?
Sky News: I can, yeah.
Theo: To recover that is very important.
Sky News: So how many SMB customers do you have — and let’s compare it to the 2 million of so out there.
Theo: There is phenomenal growth going on at Dropsuite at the moment. We only listed, as we said, two months ago. We raised about $5million and we released the prospectus in August. At the time we had about 100,000 paying SMBs customers. This is the typical SaaS model. Basically, we get paid through our partners a monthly fee for every one of those SMB customers. No bad debts. Regular paid, on the month. And now we just announced 140,000 customers. So in a period of six months, we’ve grown by almost 37 — almost 40%. And that rate of growth is exponential. So we expect that to continue at a faster rate.
Sky News: Have you done the marketing research to find out how many small business and what percentage of small businesses are not even thinking about this?
Theo: The statistic we have is about 60% of all businesses don’t think about backing up regularly. And even those that do, don’t do it diligently. They might go around Christmas holidays or they might be distracted by something one night and that’s when they potentially lose their data.
Sky News: Is your process automatic?
Theo: Correct. It’s automatic. It’s continuous. And they don’t have to think about — they don’t actually have to activate anything — it’s happening on a continuous basis.
Sky News: If you run a small business, you’re thinking, okay, it sounds good but does it mean extra work for me? Do I have to read some kind of instructions or something or can it be just dropped into my system?
Theo: Absolutely no work at all. One of the unique things about what we do is that we’re partnering with some of the global leaders in this space. Companies like GoDaddy. Companies like GMO. Companies like Crazy Domains. Now Crazy Domains is the leader in websites being hosted in Australia. GoDaddy — North America leader. GMO — the leader in Japan. All these companies did months of due diligence on the best possible solution. Our solution is best of breed against our competitors. So what happens is through those providers — let me give you some numbers: GoDaddy has 14 million customers in North America. GMO — 8 million in Japan. And Crazy Domains in the hundreds of thousands. We have several other reseller partners around the world too.
Sky News: So that’s one part. It’s an easy thing to get into your system. What’s it gonna cost?
Theo: It costs, through our partners, less than the cost of a cup of coffee a month.
Sky News: That’s a good reference point. Are we talking a large or a small coffee?
Theo: We’re talking about a very small coffee. Not a McDonalds coffee, but a small coffee.
Sky News: That’s so easy and nice.
Theo: That’s right.
Sky News: That’s a pretty easy sell, isn’t it — if you can get out to the market and tell them that.
Theo: Peter, when you think in the last 12 months that the federal government released a security paper just recently and they indicated in that security paper that a million Australians in the past 12 months have been impacted by cyber threats. A million Australians. It is there. It’s real. And SMBs who rely on their technologies on their websites to survive, and engage their customers, need to be aware of the recovery methods — and the mitigation methods — when they are impacted because they will be.
Sky News: Absolutely right. Alright mate. Thanks for joining us.
Theo: Thank you, Peter.