Where did you get the idea for your start-up?
Marais Coetzee. – “Cybersplice was born in 2013 when assessing cybersecurity at a healthcare institution. We came across a CT scanner connected to the hospital network. Some searching on the internet yielded the manual for this device, which provided the administrator password as well as the instruction to never change this password (in order to facilitate remote support) – a hacker’s dream. When looking around, it was quite evident that there wasn’t an adequate response on the market to secure cyber-physical systems, and that traditional IT protections could not be applied to these devices as they are built with different design principles in mind.
At every turn I saw more and more physical devices with potential critical impacts being connected to IT networks. This convergence makes business sense, but exposes the physical systems to cyber threats they were never designed to withstand. Cybersplice was inevitable.
Do you have any advice to give to those who are still hesitant to get started?
“Be persistent and believe in your vision. We were quite early in the game with Cybersplice and some other big players have since entered into the market, often well funded with significant investment in marketing. Having that belief in your solution pushes you forward day by day as the business grows.
Also knowing when to seek outside assistance. Making a start-up an international success requires many different skills and specialist knowledge. This is not something that an individual can do by themselves.
We often hear that it is essential to make mistakes. What do you think about this?
“Indeed, when you are laying down the trail, mistakes are inevitable. It is important though to be able to recognise mistakes and shortcomings and not to take these personally. Over the last couple of years, we radically redesigned core components within Cybersplice to ensure we can deliver on the resilience required for cyber-physical environments. The idea remains the same, the execution is adjusted as your experience expands.”