Elevator Pitch: MailGuard

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Craig McDonald, CEO and founder of MailGuard .

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

MailGuard is a cloud­-based email and web security solution, partnered with smart Hybrid AI threat detection engines, that means we can predict, learn and anticipate new threats as they’re emerging. So we’re often the first to stop new threats, typically between 2-48hrs ahead of the market with immediate protection of our customers.

MailGuard is one of the world’s foremost cloud email and web security services, providing complete protection against security threats such as malware, spyware, viruses, spam and socially engineered attacks for businesses in 27 countries around the world.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

The market need has always been there, and we’ve been profitable since day one. The idea for MailGuard began when my own business was affected by cyber criminals in 2001. Now, with the widespread use of the internet for everything from business to personal use, cyber crime networks have grown significantly since then. Their campaigns are more targeted and the effects more devastating, so a part of our growth has been out of necessity to keep pace with what is an incredibly fast-paced and ever evolving space.

We have achieved success by focussing on what our customers need, and by continuing to reinvest our profits back into the business, especially into R&D. We’ve experienced growth year on year since we started.

What's the biggest challenge facing your business?

While people and businesses are becoming more knowledgeable about the dangerous emails and websites that are out there, education is key for us. We work closely with our customers to ensure they stay informed and are aware of breaking threats as they happen.

Cyber crime is not an IT issue - it’s an economic issue and it affects businesses on a daily basis, costing billions of dollars in remediation costs, reputational damage, and legal fees.

Every day we see new email and cyber attacks pop up designed to fool people into handing over their details. Often these attacks are iterative, with cyber crime groups optimising their campaigns to maximise the returns, like an Australia Post scam back in March where there were 160 versions of the same attack in just 3 hours. We’re on the front line against these attacks every day, but we work hard to ensure we’re always protecting our customers.

The biggest challenge is educating people about the reality of these threats and what the implications might be. We’ve seen businesses lose millions of dollars, and in the worst cases large corporations that have gone out of business, and it all started with a simple fraudulent email. There’s also a personal price with many victims suffering depression and the potential for impacts on careers after an attack.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

Most businesses think antivirus software alone will protect them from an attack, but that’s simply not the case. Antivirus can stop known threats, but cyber criminals move at rapid pace, relying on the element of surprise. It can take hours or even days for antivirus vendors to identify and deploy updates to customers. A pure-play cloud email and web solution, MailGuard is different to traditional antivirus.

With Hybrid AI threat detection engines, MailGuard predicts and anticipates new threats, and as a cloud-based security layer, our team is able to apply immediate protection to users across the globe. We’re the first to stop fast breaking attacks, preventing threats 2-48 hours ahead of the rest of the market.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

There are two for me that are a must haves. Professionally I couldn’t live without LinkedIn, and personally, as a father of young children I love Tinybeans for photo sharing with family & friends.

What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

Be passionate about what you do and be customer focused.

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