Péter Gulyás Managing Director, Balázs Szekeres Chief Technical Officer, Duraisamy Nandhini Chief Operations Officer, Attila Gyalog Chief Sales Officer

Péter Gulyás, CEO of Quadron Kibervédelmi Kft., has been working with computers since he was very young. At that time, there was no specialised education in cyber defence, he notes, adding that the situation has improved, but the number of professionals coming out of educational institutes is very low compared to market needs. Analysts estimate that the global market needs nearly 2 million cybersecurity experts.

When we hear the word cybersecurity, the first thing that comes to mind for most of us is the hooded, faceless, dark figures sitting in front of a keyboard that we have seen in the movies. In the early 2000s, the hackers’ goal was to gain as much notoriety as possible, but now the situation has changed significantly. Self-organising hacker groups were replaced by organised crime by the 2010s. The “dark side” of cyberspace has now overtaken the drugs business in terms of revenue, with the latter generating an estimated USD 400 billion a year, compared to USD 600 billion for the former. It is also staggering that the total collateral damage from successful cyber-attacks could reach USD 5 trillion globally this year.

80% of losses from cybersecurity incidents are not caused by hackers, but by employees acting in good faith, not exercising due diligence, and allowing hackers to gain access to com- panies’ protected IT systems. The remaining 20% are targeted attacks, however, where 90% of the time preceding the attack is spent preparing, researching, analysing, and hiding for years, before the attack is carried out. Solving the problems is only a small part of what technology we can use to prevent an attack; a bigger part is answering the question of what our business resilience is like.

The “dark side” is bursting forward with incredible dynamism and has been completely transformed in recent decades. On the other hand, there is a very big shortage of professionals, human resources are limited and it is not enough to deal with the technological aspects, but also with the human side and the business return on investment. Péter Gulyás joined in 2006 as a business development specialist at Symantec, one of the world’s largest cybersecurity companies. In his work, he has gained deep market knowledge and built a wide network of contacts in Hungary and in the region, but also in the Middle East. It was common for large software vendors at the time to outsource some of their activities, with the result that there was not enough room for customised services. Recognising the need and the gap in the market, he and his two colleagues decided to go their own way and set up their own business. This is how Quadron Kibervédelmi Kft. was established in 2014.

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When Quadron was founded, they set themselves the goal of building a large international company based in Budapest, working using largely Hungarian grey matter. In 2015, they had a successful year in the Hungarian market, which allowed them to enter the international market, so they started to build their network in the Middle East. They focused on the smaller states of Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, with the aim of building a market position in Saudi Arabia, the dominant country in the region.

A Hungarian company is well placed to enter the Middle East market, as Hungary is the closest point of entry to the EU for the region, and is geopolitically neutral. “It will allow us to deliver the quality of global companies, but on more favourable terms”, explains Péter Gulyás. “The biggest competition is from Indian companies, but their thinking is typically different.” Quadron has now reached the stage of setting up local companies, with references and contacts already established in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman. Tenders often require a local presence: “For operational and economies of scale reasons, we need to be present in the region”. They have close relations with Hungarian foreign economic diplomacy and regularly participate in the economic diplomacy meetings organised by them.

Quadron currently has close to 50 employees. The company’s management pays special attention to ensuring that colleagues have a university degree and experience of both the Hungarian and international markets. Each member of the management team brings to Quadron at least 20 years of management experience in the international services, consulting, telecommunications and banking sectors. The labour market situation is a challenge for them as well, and they see the solution in creating an attractive company culture, challenging projects, automation and the involvement of artificial intelligence. They have strong R&D activities within the Quadron Research Lab, working with local universities to attract the most talented young professionals and to develop innovative solutions that can effectively support their customers’ business resilience.

Not only are they planning to grow organically, but they are also considering acquisitions. In Europe, they are primarily examining Austrian and German companies, while smaller countries in the Middle East are the potential targets there. Listing on the stock exchange is also planned. This provides security for customers and employees, as well as for potential acquisitions, in addition to securing financing.

The coronavirus pandemic has shed new light on cybersecurity. It has become clear that the growth of working from home will increase demand for the company’s services in the longer term. At the same time, the stalled economy has taken a heavy toll in the short term. In consultation with staff, they agreed to work together to get through the difficult period. The necessary amount was set aside from the wage bill so that valuable employees did not have to be made redundant. “In practice, employees and management financed Quadron’s operations for almost a year. It brought the team together even more than before.”