Information Technology has grown in prominence over the last decade. No longer seen as a cost centre, it's now widely accepted that people can use IT to improve their creativity, productivity and knowledge.
The UK IT Industry Awards are the largest and most well-known event in the technology industry calendar. Owned and operated by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and Computing, the awards enjoy a level of professionalism and industry knowledge not seen at other shows.
This year's winners will be announced at a live awards ceremony on Wednesday 8th November in London.
One of the finalists is Egress, who is in the running for the Security Innovation of the Year.
We talked to Tony Pepper, Co-founder and CEO of Egress, to find out what makes his company different from other technology companies and what are they working on this year.
Tony oversees all aspects of the business growth and innovation. He is passionate about finding smarter ways to solve existing problems and delivering positive outcomes for customers. Prior to Egress, Tony held executive management positions at Reflex Magnetics, Pointsec Mobile Technologies, and Check Point Software Technologies.
Computing: What makes you different from other companies?
Tony Pepper: We take a new approach to email security. 74% of data breaches involve the human element (according to Verizon's 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report), making people organisations' biggest security risk - and they are most vulnerable on email.
Email provides cybercriminals with a direct line to every employee within an organisation - and these inbound attacks are getting increasingly more sophisticated. In fact, our recent Phishing Threat Trends report showed that up to 55% of attacks get through the signature-based and reputation-based detection capabilities used by Microsoft 365 and secure email gateways.
At the same time, people's behaviour drives outbound security incidents. We all make mistakes - such as adding incorrect recipients or attaching the wrong files to an email. At the same time, people can break the rules and exfiltrate data - often in the name of trying to get their jobs done! For example, sending documents to a personal email address to print at home.
Against this backdrop, Egress has innovated to help organisations to automate threat detection and response and augment security training to improve employee awareness.
Unlike traditional perimeter solutions, we use intelligent technology to detect the broad spectrum of email security threats, including advanced phishing attacks. Further setting us apart from other solutions, we take a holistic approach, with detection capability for both advanced phishing attacks and outbound incidents. Our adaptive security architecture underlines all this, automating threat detection and response, and providing organisations with a hyper-accurate view of human risk.
Finally, our products deliver real-time teachable moments to augment security training and improve employee awareness. On the inbound, our dynamic banners are applied to neutralised phishing emails that clearly and concisely explain the threat. For outbound threat detection, we use context-aware prompts that let the sender know they've made a mistake before an email has been sent and an incident occurs. This controlled exposure using real-life examples educates users in a timely manner with information that's relevant to them, helping security training to truly stick.
What one company achievement in the last 12 months are you most proud of?
We became the first, and currently only, company to offer an adaptive security architecture for cloud email. Egress aggregates threat intelligence from multiple internal and external data sources to create unified human risk scores tailored to every user. By augmenting behavioural identity and endpoint data with email threat intelligence, we provide cyber teams with clear visibility of where risk lies, enabling them to shine a spotlight on areas of risk they'd not previously considered and giving them the opportunity to mitigate potential compromise with a matured set of eyes. Egress also uses these risk scores to automate threat detection and response. When a score increases against changes in the threat landscape, we dynamically adjust our controls to deliver real-time policy management for each individual employee.
What are you working on this year?
Our R&D is focused on enabling organisations to manage human risk - which is something the cybersecurity industry as a whole needs to work together to achieve. We believe we're better together, so we'll continue to build out our partner ecosystem to augment our human risk scores. Additionally, we remain focused on adding new capability to our threat detection solutions, delivering protection against an even larger number of security use cases.
Why are events like the UK IT Industry Awards important to the IT Industry?
The UK IT Industry Awards is always a step above so many other awards programmes. The rigorous submission form to even be shortlisted, followed by the independent judging day, helps ensure only best-of-breed solutions are being selected. So many other programmes are pay-to-play, with "accolades" guaranteed by signing on the dotted line. However, the UK IT Industry Awards are designed to recognise and celebrate true innovation that's making a measurable difference.
And the UK has a lot to celebrate! We're at the forefront of technological innovation and it's awesome to have a forum to share our successes, network with peers, and remember the bigger picture we're all a part of.