Digital Shadows on its expansion plans

July 31, 2019
Alastair Paterson (left), Co Founder & CEO and James Chappell (right), Co Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, Digital Shadows

Q: Tell us more about yourself and your role in Digital Shadows

I cofounded Digital Shadows in 2011 with my friend and cofounder Alastair Paterson.   We both saw an opportunity in the huge digital transformation that was starting to effect how companies had to think about security in 2010.  We saw the ramp up in social media, rich media, mobility and the use of online software-as-a-service, federated storage, dynamic provisioning and cloud by default. We quickly realised that the perimeter had a diminishing role in the security of organisations.  With this maintaining a healthy and pro-active digital footprint became a priority.  We recognised that, online information was an important consideration for the security of organisations in terms of data loss, attack surface and the role of online identity.  With that we started using the term ‘digital shadow’ to refer to the part of the footprint that was relevant to the risks of a business.

In 2011 we decided that this was interesting enough to quit our jobs and set up a company to address this problem.

Today my role is Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer and I work with Alastair to run our business in the UK and Europe. I’m privileged to work with a fantastic leadership team, but I also have a specific role to look at how we continue to innovate our platform and service as the market for digital risk protection matures.

Q: Congrats on the recent funding US $10 mil led by NAB.  Can you tell us more about that and how is it going to help you expand the business in Asia Pacific?

We were in the fortunate position that one of our existing customers, National Australia Bank (NAB) decided to approach us (via its Ventures arm) with a view to seeking an investment in Digital Shadows. The proposal was immediately attractive given their strength in the core Asia Pacific and ASEAN markets and it felt more like a partnership for us to further tap into this huge market. It was an offer that was too good to turn down.

The investment is all about growth and scale. We’re going to exponentially scale the delivery of our SearchLight service – from hundreds to thousands of customers. But with the investment in an Asia Pac team we’ll be able to provide 24×7 global coverage of security threats for the first time making us more attractive to that region but also to global customers who want 24×7 coverage.

Q: Do you think Digital Shadows operate in a saturated space in the realm of digital risks protection? If so, what would make Digital Shadows stand out from competition? 

Far from the market being saturated it’s just getting started, this is what makes it so exciting to be in right now. We are winning more and more business and companies are increasingly assigning budget lines to digital risk protection. Our addressable market is any organisation that has information assets and customers they want to protect so the market is huge which is why we are so excited to be where we are today. In terms of what gives us an edge, we believe it’s the innovation in our platform plus the fact that all the alerts we provide our customers with have been qualified with humans in our multi language analyst teams. Therefore, our customers never receive ‘false positives’ or information without context. Furthermore, we have just announced the biggest update to our service since we started the company and through it, we believe we are empowering security professionals to clearly identify risk and be able to act quickly. Strategically this will help them better articulate longer-term issues to C-level audiences.

Q: Expanding into Asia and using Singapore as a base, has it been an effective strategy for Digital Shadows? What are the challenges Digital Shadows faced? 

Absolutely, we announced our Singapore office in March last year and have since announced key hires in Japan and Australia. We looked at a lot of different locations and Singapore stood out as the perfect place for our hub to grow our regional business. Demand in the region has been high and we are already well into double digits with clients including some of the region’s largest financials, retailers, airlines and natural resources companies as customers. At the same time, we benefited from being part of the ICE71 Scale programme as opportunities for potential customers and partners increases too. 

The ecosystem that ICE71 is building is definitely conducive to a scale-up like us expanding in Singapore and the region with its landing pad support.

Cyber threat across ASEAN and Asia more generally is specific to the region especially when you consider the platforms used, how payments work differently, and the language support required to make an effective delivery in region. It’s been critically important to make sure we have a place we can focus on making our product relevant to the unique challenges faced by companies across the region.

Q: Describe your wish list for Digital Shadows 

It is very simple; we are focused on growing the business and scaling our SearchLight platform. We feel the market for digital risk protection is expanding exponentially in terms of awareness. We are winning more and more business and companies are increasingly assigning budget lines to digital risk protection and threat intelligence. Our addressable market is any organisation that has information assets and customers they want to protect so the market is huge which is why we are so excited to be where we are today.