Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Issue No. 2 October 2020.
Thoughts from our CEO
Welcome to another issue of 5i Capital’s cyber blog. As we head into the final quarter of a surreal 2020 we reflect on a year dominated by virus: as if a once in a lifetime health pandemic was not enough to challenge people, governments and health infrastructure, bad actors - both individuals and state actors alike - have seen fit to exploit the sudden dramatic shift to life lived digitally and virtually.
Acronym of the year has to be "WFH"
and this reality instigated by businesses large and small across the globe to slow the spread of the coronavirus has exposed and exacerbated weaknesses in cyber security systems and frameworks that were never designed with almost an entire workforce of distracted employees working remotely in mind.
As with Covid-19, it is the behaviour of human beings which determines how serious the impact of data breaches, phishing scams and other application-based attacks will be. Malicious activity has ramped up to levels not experienced before. It was recently reported that one of Australia's big four banks has seen an eye-popping
3 million cyber threats per day in the second quarter
- an increase of 67 million threats over the quarter! One bank in one country. Now imagine the magnitude of the problem on a national, regional and global level.
If there is benefit to chaos, it is revealed in how humans rise to the challenge in such circumstances and innovate, reimagine and reinvent.
We have seen that in 2020 across the region as companies big and small have pivoted in order to succeed and to survive. Some previously unimagined pivots in the age of coronavirus include high end restaurants offering takeaway, airlines offering flights to nowhere, retailers shifting their entire inventory online, telehealth consultations as the primary medical appointment.
We too have made a (smaller) pivot although we remain true to our core investment thesis. We now have a formal presence in Australia in 5i Capital Pty Ltd. With borders closed, all four principals will operate from Australia, whilst maintaining our ties, networks and investment in Singapore and the region.
We see this as an opportunity to focus on Australia at a time when state and federal governments in Australia have quite dramatically lifted both their planned funding and intent towards the cyber security sector.
This, coupled with some talented high potential start-ups we see coming out of accelerator programs such as CyRise in Melbourne, gives us confidence to increase our commitment to the Australian market.
Read on for our assessment of Australia's cyber power and meet our proof of concept investment, Singapore-Dutch start-up DTACT.
Stay safe on and off-line and please stay well!
Trends & News
The National Cyber Power Index 2020 is a fascinating assessment of the cyber power (intention x capability) of 30 countries including Australia. Undertaken by the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs, for the first time in 2020, the index takes an "all-of-country" approach and provides a holistic and in-depth assessment of a country's potential cyber power and its ability to wield that power.
Based on this framework, while Australia’s intent rank was eight, its capability rank was 16, signifying a substantial capability gap and dragging its overall score down to ten. Australia was subsequently placed in the high intent, low capability category;
a group of countries with ambitions to pursue national objectives using cyber strategies without the technical abilities to do so.
How does this line up with the Australian Government's newly minted Cybersecurity Strategy 2020? What does this mean for cyber security start-ups especially in this age of Covid-19? You can read our analysis by Associate, Alex Chudleigh, right here:
In early 2020 we made a
proof of concept investment in DTACT, a Singapore-Dutch next-gen data analytics solutions provider
with some really interesting cyber security use cases. It's not just the cool technology we like. We also love the "do well, do good" ethos of the DTACT team and their commitment to unlocking the potential of the neurodiverse.
Three things that make the DTACT story so compelling:
Better data intelligence. DTACT solves data problems and operates at the important intersection of big data, AI, national security cyber security and neurodiversity. It aggregates, cleans and enriches large volumes of inbound data.
Faster and simpler data analytics. The market need for smart big data processing strategies is currently hindered by the single solution dream, the buy versus build dilemma and the solution jungle. DTACT's agnostic solutions focus on providing an ideal ecosystem where existing tools can be easily integrated with existing infrastructure and data can be consolidated to perform the data analysis that gives rich insights where needed and when they matter most. DTACT removes complexity and brings simplicity so that clients can focus on the important tasks - acting on insights and risk mitigation.
Do well, do good. Since 2017, DTACT has worked with neurodiverse colleagues on the autism spectrum. The neurodiverse community has largely been ignored and many have struggled with meaningful employment even while possessing special talents that are particularly valuable to sectors including cyber security. With a global talent shortage in cyber security, software testing and data analytics, DTACT seeks to inspire others to focus on skills needed for big data challenges by employing amazing people from both the neurotypical and the the neurodiverse talent pools.
We are working closely and strategically with DTACT (including with a board seat) as it positions itself to win and secure clients across the policing, financial services and government sectors in Europe and APAC. DTACT is also seen as a leader in the employment of neurodiverse talent generating interest from governments in Singapore and the EU.
A start-up right in our sweet spot - stand-out technology, super talented founders, shared values, social impact embedded in its DNA, enormous growth potential across Europe, APAC and the US.