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Our guest for this episode is Emil Sayegh. He’s the CEO of Ntirety who’s based in Austin, Texas, and a UT grad with four kids, two of whom were in college, One of them is at his alma mater, and the other is enjoying watching a spectacular football season at TCU.
He’s a well-established executive in product and cloud roles, having spent time at Rackspace, Dell, and Codero. Eventually, he was tapped by private equity to lead Hostway, who, if you remember, was a leader in shared hosting. Eventually, Hostway merged with Hosting.com, a company with a similar history in shared hosting.
Which is why I was surprised to hear about the trajectory of the business today.
Ntirety is entirely a different company than you might expect. From my point of view, Emil’s a professional change agent. He led cloud at Rackspace. He’s taking companies public. He’s been tapped for business turnarounds (and exits) and is currently pulling together two similar companies and turning them into something wholly different, centering around managed services and cybersecurity.
In talking about that, he leveraged the old Wayne Gretzky moniker of “skating to where the puck is going”. Really an essential discussion to think about as a technology leader. We can’t know what’s next, but we do have to consider it. Market conditions and end risks will change, but being prepared and even taking some chances on what might be next is an absolute requirement for technology leaders. Emil oversaw the merger of Hostway and hosting.com in 2018 with a vision of focusing on managed services, particularly cybersecurity and backup and recovery. Frankly, they were rewarded for that vision when the pandemic struck.
We also had an important discussion about security, compliance, and governance, and the expectations of businesses. Making a great discussion short for this intro, no business is expected to be perfect, but you are expected to follow documented best practices. You are expected to have a plan, and most importantly, you are expected to be able to recover, which Emil pointed out is too often not part of the security provider playbook.
Plus, we talked about the importance of security training, both internally and with a stance toward the supply chain. Supply chain is sort of that uncontrolled partner inside of your four walls.
He mentioned that 40 to 60% of mid-market companies that get hacked do not recover inside of a year. There’s a clear ROI to cybersecurity investments, but it’s often confused, or in some cases ignored, in favor of actual insurance or cyber insurance.
I challenged Emil to answer the question (or objection) of “why don’t I just increase my cyber insurance?”. This may be something that you may be hearing from your executive team or even consider yourself as a technology leader. Emil writes extensively about cybersecurity, specifically about this topic, in Forbes Magazine.
Even if you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode, please jump to the 26-minute mark of the interview portion. Emil shares some very real lessons to be learned about cyber insurance and how that differs from actually having a real IT governance and compliance policy internally.