Anne Genge is CDM 2020 Global Cyber Defense Award Winner – ‘Most Innovative Woman in Cybersecurity.’ She is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/C) with a specialization in small business and healthcare. In 2017, she co-founded Alexio Corporation, now a national and global award-winning cybersecurity firm. Alexio is Canada’s award-winning automated data protection suite for small businesses. Security automation has never been more relevant as millions of people have moved to working from home without the same safeguards of corporate network security. Alexio provides an automated multi-layer approach to computer endpoint security virtually eliminating manual processes, labour, and the problems associated with variation of human talent. Anne and her team are champions in the use of automation and machine-learning to solve data security and cyber-risk for small to medium-sized businesses nationwide. She shares how Alexio is navigating the COVID-19 pandemic; what are the company’s successes, financial resources, and which areas of the business are getting the bulk of her energy.
“With cybercrime heading into the tens of billions of records stolen and potentially trillions of dollars in damages, we are proud to recognize Anne Genge as an award-winning innovator that offers a new approach to defeat these criminals.”
Pierlugi Paganini, Editor-in-Chief, Cyber Defense Magazine.
What area of your business is getting your most energy and focus?
Having spent my entire career serving the healthcare industry, I understood we were likely in for a long haul when COVID hit. Like most people, I was unnerved by the uncertainty, but I knew that standing still would not be an option. My instinct was ‘I need to be helpful and I need to stay relevant’. We quickly put our energy into pushing out tools and supportive content to our clients and prospects which ended up connecting us to them in wonderful ways that might not have happened otherwise. You learn a lot about people through common calamity.
What is the most important problem you are trying to solve?
On the ‘giving back’ side of things, we immediately partnered with hEr VOLUTION to raise funds to help girls get access to the technology they need for online learning (See here)
From a business perspective, our mission has always been to solve data security in smaller organizations; primarily healthcare clinics. These entities are the guardians of the most sensitive information about an individual and yet they have very small budgets and resources to do it. We deliver enterprise-class cybersecurity and training at a price suitable for any sized clinic, even those with just one computer.
What has been your most successful solution so far?
Our subscription-based cybersecurity solution Alexio Defender allows any sized business to get best-in-class cybersecurity and offers built-in cybersecurity training. We have helped hundreds of healthcare professionals across Canada. In the past year, we have won national and global awards for our cutting-edge technology and approach.
“It is amazing how a shared tragedy has brought people into a place of gratitude for what really matters. It is true… ‘you are not really rich until you have the things that money can’t buy’.”
How have you been staying connected with your customers and employees?
We were lucky as an organization as we had always leaned heavily on remote connectivity. Having been seasoned already, we became even more valuable to our clients because they quickly had to adapt to this, and we were able to provide great value to them by walking them through the video conferencing landscape. Again, we often drifted off into conversations that had more to do with navigating struggles together as human beings, not just ‘seller and buyer’.
What has surprised you?
A wonderful surprise has been the ‘coming together’ of people. It is amazing how being apart, has actually made me more connected. This has happened with my clients, and also friends, and family. It is amazing how a shared tragedy has brought people into a place of gratitude for what really matters. It is true… ‘you are not really rich until you have the things that money can’t buy’.
How far ahead are you planning?
After the initial shock and paralysis, we decided to use the downtime to overhaul our processes. We are now planning quarterly initiatives 12 months out as well as keeping the 5-year goal in sight. We are doing this with the idea that the industry will still be cludgy as we will still be navigating without a vaccine.
What keeps you positive?
I have an amazing team who have all rallied around the same mission which puts people before profits. I was blown away by our operations manager who, the minute we launched the hEr VOLUTION cause marketing campaign, bought a whole year subscription to our own product just to kick-off the program. It is things like that which put a smile on my face every day…I am surrounded by people (virtually) who make it a daily goal to just help where they can. It is the best of humanity shining through.
What message do you want to share with entrepreneurs right now?
My father was a serial entrepreneur. Some stuff worked and some stuff did not. It will always be that way. I never saw him stop. He accepted that some steps would be big, and some would be small, but we need to move forward regardless. This, along with being kind to ourselves is really important. If it were easy everyone would do it, and we are all unique warriors!