Peter Arnoth, CEO
If asked about one thing that you wouldn’t be able to live without in this age, what would it be? For most of us, the answer to this question would be ‘a mobile phone,’ which has now become an essential part of our daily lives like anything else that we need to lead a comfortable life. From ordering food and grocery shopping to renting a house or even finding a job, a mobile phone is a touchpoint for almost everything today. Over five billion people around the globe use mobile phones and tablets, which accounts for more than half of the world’s internet connections. The number of mobile subscribers has increased exponentially and by 2020, it is expected to be around 5.7 billion along with 9.7 billion SIM card users. Though smartphones make any service easily accessible, they also bring along the risks of security threats. About one-third of mobile devices are susceptible to cyber threats such as scams, phishing, bad content, identity theft, clickjacking, or other threats that make these devices an attack vector.
While these figures clearly highlight the rising need for mobile security, several industry players are grappling to keep up with it. This proves to be a challenging task, especially for enterprises that promote bring your own device (BYOD), use of social media, and personal use of mobile devices at workplaces. A German cybersecurity provider, cyan AG protects such entities with a one-stop mobile security solution. The company renders unique white-labeled solutions via a B2B2C channel, ultimately enabling end customers to protect their mobile devices.
"The solutions offered are network-integrated, scalable, device and OS independent, and can be used without any installations, activations, settings or maintenance"
cyan provides easy-to-use mobile security solutions to its direct customers comprising mobile network operators (MNOs), mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), banks and insurance groups. The solutions are network-integrated, scalable, device and OS independent and can be used by end customers without any installation, activations, settings or maintenance. “Our solutions are provisioned automatically through network integration and are easy-to-use as they eliminate the need to download, install, configure or activate any other application on the devices,” says Peter Arnoth, the CEO of cyan. In fact, the end customer simply signs up for the cybersecurity package supplied by his MNO/MVNO and is subsequently granted access to cyan’s solutions which can detect threats quickly and eliminate them from the network, thus protecting end consumers’ data.
The Journey from B2B to B2B2C
cyan’s journey in the cybersecurity space started with its B2B business back in 2006 in Austria, when it introduced firewall systems to secure workspace and corporate networks. Within a few months of inception, the company got its first clients onboard with the Austrian foreign ministry being one of them. The ministry associated with cyan to employ its B2B software across all the Austrian embassies to protect their crucial data.
Ever since, the company has delivered its cybersecurity capabilities to a large client base.
The company shifted its focus from B2B business to B2B2C in order to reach a wider audience through acquiring telecom companies with millions of end customers. Arnoth guided this shift when he joined the company in 2011. “We upgraded the software and made it adaptable for mobile and fixed broadband networks,” mentions Markus Cserna, CTO of cyan. In 2013, the firm engaged with T-Mobile Austria, a mobile phone company that employed cyan’s software and intellectual property into their core network. That is when cyan began to focus on the mobile business and discovered that it could make great strides in the B2B2C business.
cyan provides easy-to-use mobile security solutions to its customers comprising mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), mobile network operators (MNOs), banks and insurance groups
From that point onwards, the company has evolved from being a developer and distributor of B2B firewall/content filter systems for enterprises to a global player offering B2B2C security products to end consumers of mobile and fixed broadband network providers. Today, cyan is uniquely positioned as a one-stop shop solution provider for telecom companies. The company develops integrated security solutions for telecom networks, banks, insurance companies and betting platforms, ensuring that the privacy of users is maintained by incorporating the solutions in clients’ data centres. “What we do is quite similar to the workspace protection for companies– we integrate our security solutions into mobile and fixed broadband networks, enabling telecom companies to secure their data,” asserts Cserna.
One of cyan’s first products was launched in association with T-Mobile Austria to prevent kids from browsing inappropriate content on mobile phones. In 2013, the company also introduced a security product for the mass market of Austria, which guarded the citizens against browsing suspicious content on the internet and phishing, scams, and other threats. The product proved to be highly successful for T-Mobile and helped cyan attract 400,000 clients in a short span. From this point on, the company decided to focus on cybersecurity targeting mobile devices and also to develop this solution for other network operators. Today, the cybersecurity provider has a vast client base comprising names as prominent as Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile, which continue to leverage its solution.
Similar to telecom companies, cyan provides security solutions to banks and insurance companies, enabling them to serve their end consumers effectively. The company offers security modules wherein a software development kit (SDK) is embedded into the end users’ mobile banking/insurance application to avoid latency time. cyan connects these users through the installed business systems on-premise in the data centres of banks or insurance groups to keep their data safe.
cyan has its own security research network comprising more than 200 worldwide security centres that allow security professionals to analyze the web using 23 different analysis methods constantly. These methods can be as simple as keywords or text analysis and as complex as image recognition or highly sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. The research network helps in creating a database which acts as the basis and framework for all cyan products.
Cserna takes pride in this unique and patented research network which will fulfill the upcoming 2.1 trillion metadata requests to deliver the best-in-time security with global four-hour update cycles.
Aiming for the Pinnacle in Mobile Security Space
In order to fulfil certain cybersecurity requirements, MNOs tested whether customers prefer the direct installation of security applications (e.g. Norton Mobile Internet Security) on their devices with separate charging to their credit cards or the implementation of those security services into the network of their providers. After two months, customers opted nine times as much for the network integrated solution underpinning cyan’s B2B2C approach. “Based on this technical advantage, we have expert visibility into several markets and industries to develop successful tailor-made solutions for our clients. It will also help us rise as a global security player in the upcoming years,” says Arnoth. With this relationship, MNOs benefit through several channels such as the extension of their customer relationship, additional high-margin revenue streams or increased reputation as one-stop shop telco provider.
In addition to cyan’s cybersecurity product, the company has also developed a data compression tool, which, also directly installed at the client’s hub, allows for a substantially decreased data traffic volume. Especially MVNO, which must acquire these data volumes from MNOs, will benefit from this data optimization solution by reducing overall traffic.
Recently, cyan acquired I-New, a technology solution provider in the mobile communication industry, to widen its business in the MVNO space. I-New acts as a so-called MVNO enabler (i.e. MVNE) which is rendering services such as billing/ invoicing, integration into the MNO’s architecture or account management. I-New is a renowned organization in the MVNO landscape and has a pool of customers including Virgin mobile and Skinny which are helping cyan to advance its network operations successfully. I-New has the competence to provide, implement, and distribute products and services with convenience for mobile security through its 'The MVNO Collection.' cyan is, on the one hand, leveraging I-New’s MVNO platform to incorporate its network integrated security solutions as well as its data optimization tools for serving telecom companies, and on the other hand using I-New’s MNO solutions (e.g. billing, operations services, etc.) to get rid of heavy legacy organizational structures.
The acquisition of I-New is expected to benefit cyan in supporting clients along the value chain and has already allowed cyan to set up support centres across New Zealand, Columbia, and America in addition to building four customer value propositions—business planning, product collection, execution, and operation services.
The cybersecurity provider is now looking forward to launching its solutions globally and desires to widen its consumer base specifically in South America, where the company has recently signed an MoU. The firm is also gaining traction in Thailand as well as in Indonesia and expects to work with new prospective clients shortly.
The company's security solutions are also being well received in the internet of things (IoT) space. Arnoth realizes that the software in IoT-driven devices is rarely upgraded as people lack the technical knowledge and skills to maintain the security of their devices. “At present, the end consumers are unaware of the mobile security, but we expect the awareness to spread by early 2019. On that note, we are approaching our partners to integrate and ship products for their customer base, once the need has been identified,” concludes Arnoth.