INTERVIEW NEW CORPORATE MEMBER TREND MICRO
Recently, Flevum was able to welcome Trend Micro, the world market leader in the field of cyber security, as a new member of the Executive Board network. The company has existed for 35 years, which is quite unique in this industry. After all, cybersecurity is a relatively new matter. We spoke to Sales Director Jacky Polak, who has been there for five years now and has a long career in IT, although he once started his working life as a sous chef. Jacky introduces Trend Micro and takes us through the background and culture of the company and the connection to the Flevum network.
Stability and innovation
“The company was founded by two sisters and the husband of one of them. One of those sisters, Eva Chen, is still the CEO. It is therefore a very stable company that sails a stable course. Of course, this is extremely important for a cybersecurity company. In addition, Trend Micro is also very innovative. We are constantly looking: what is changing in the environment, in the threat landscape and how technology is being used? We are ahead of the market in this.
Trend Micro has long since taken the first steps in cloud security as the first cybersecurity player and in 2023 protecting the cloud has become a core value for our company. And with success, because analyst firms such as IDC, Forrester and Gartner consistently position Trend Micro as a leader in the field of Cloud Security.
Since the world was suddenly forced to accelerate digitization a little less than three years ago, many companies have made the transition to the cloud. A consequence of the pandemic was that innovations were brought forward. For us, this was confirmation that what we had been doing for several years was the right thing to do.
In addition, we are currently working very hard to secure IoT environments, such as factories. So the security of devices that are essential in production processes. That could be a factory arm, an MRI machine or a packaging machine. Those devices are connected to the internet and to your own network and therefore form a gateway and therefore a new security risk.”
Think global, act local
When asked about specific challenges in the Netherlands compared to the challenges the company faces worldwide, Jacky indicates that despite regional nuances, cyber security challenges are actually the same everywhere. ”90% of attacks on Dutch companies take place from abroad. A hospital in South America has roughly the same challenges as a hospital here. But in the Netherlands, there are certain types of customers that you do not encounter elsewhere or much less. Consider, for example, water boards and water boards. At Trend Micro in the Netherlands, we look at which segments need specific attention and form teams that have knowledge of those specific market segments.”
Trend Micro is therefore still led by one of the founders and the family feeling is therefore strongly anchored in the underlying culture. ”We call ourselves Trenders and we really care for each other and for the customers. If there is a serious cyber attack going on, we will first put out the fire. Don’t poke around in the contracts. For example, Maersk had to endure a major attack a few years ago. We started helping there with a large team, without knowing whether there would be a commercial follow-up. We will help first.”
You can also see that mentality in how we work together. When asked about the culture, Jacky indicates that Trend Micro is above all an innovative and authentic company, where the customer is central, but where there is also a lot of attention for the employee. Trend Micro is a “flat organization” and the way up is short. You can see this, for example, in how innovation is taking place. Input from the field is a very important part of this. Input is also requested from the entire organization in the event of cultural changes. Where do we want to be in 10 years and what are our most important core values? The whole organization can think about that.
Development, success in the role and reward
Naturally, that culture plays a role in attracting talent. You have to look for a long time for someone who walks around in a sleek three-piece grey with a tie at the office in Amsterdam. “We are diverse, by IT standards that are. We are not an Amsterdam company, even though our office is here. Employees come from all over.”
In addition to attracting employees, retaining staff is also a challenge in these times. This applies all the more to IT and security companies and is therefore no different for Trend Micro.
“Staff retention is about a number of things; you have to enjoy working somewhere. Feeling that you can develop, that you can handle the job, that you are successful in it and that you are rewarded for it. So development and reward. But also the certainty that you master your current position. One of the reasons people leave their employers is because they feel they can’t do their job well, they can’t do it. And we’re really on top of that. We have a program that focuses not so much on knowledge but on skills. In the case of sales, for example, we practice customer conversations, where the idea is not that someone does it right the first time, but that you get better every time.”
Flevum and business transformation
Finally; What was Trend Micro’s consideration for joining the Executive Board network? Jacky: ”We are very happy with the collaboration with Flevum. Because what really matters is business transformation. Where are you as a company? Like the Netherlands? And where do you have to go to survive? Business transformation also involves external stress in the form of a pandemic or geopolitical tension, the energy transition, and so on. What can we, as a Dutch business community, unite and think about together? Where do we want to go? We would be happy to discuss that.”
“And yes finally, we also have some missionary work to do. Until recently, cybersecurity was often an IT matter but is now a boardroom topic. Not having it properly arranged has a direct impact on business continuity. But also on the personal responsibility of Executive Board members. Some companies have realized the importance of that strategic decision, but there are still companies where it lies with the IT department and the board blindly assumes that everything is well organized. They think ‘Well, nothing has happened yet.’ There are measures and legislation in the field of safety. For example, how do you ensure that people do not gain access to your site? But not much has been laid down nationally for the business community in terms of what you have to meet in order to be secure rather than safe. Policy and direction. We would love to organize an event about that!”