Secure collaboration specialist Egress received a well-deserved boost back in 2011 when it won Security Innovation of the Year at the Computing/BCS UK IT Industry Awards. It’s a sign of the firm’s continuing progress that it went from winning an award for its technology, to being recognised for its overall performance by being crowned the Cloud Provider of the Year at this year’s ceremony.
Egress has expanded rapidly to cope with growing demand from customers, with headcount planned to reach 60 in 2014, from 20 at the beginning of 2013.
This rapid expansion creates challenges, as CEO Tony Pepper explains.
“We’ve got to recruit people without slowing down, which is exciting. We need an environment that attracts graduates, they have to want to work here.
“But you can’t build a business solely on graduates, you need senior people in key areas. But we massively believe in home-grown talent... in people with an aptitude and ambition.”
Pepper describes his recruitment policy as “surrounding ourselves with new talent from academia, but not fresh out”, so new recruits are young, but have had some experience of work, rather than having just left university.
One area where many firms find recruitment tough is in security skills. Pepper agrees that finding the right level of technical skills is tough, but cites his development methodology as one way to navigate the tricky waters.
“It’s hard to find good cryptography talent that can hit the ground running straight away, but there are areas where we don’t really need to build on what we have – some of our existing people output quite a bit.
“Our experience is that if you have the right agile development methodology, with a fairly small development team which works closely together, you can get everything you need. We are adding to the team though, with some key additions, and some at graduate level. Twenty to 30 per cent will be in software development, with the rest of our recruitment going into sales, marketing, customer services and quality assurance.”
Best of the best
Egress’ recent success in the UK IT Industry Awards has been particularly pleasing to Pepper, given the strength of the firms he was up against.
“We were up against some of the biggest names, some great firms. Like Huddle, they’re venture capitalist-backed and have a lot of money behind them. But we’ve had to self-heat our success, with viral marketing being a big part of that.”
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