Tim Critchley – Chief Executive Officer
The requirement for increased data security and privacy in the call center, paired with our initial success with our customers in the region has continued to fuel our expectations of growth in the U.S. and Canada. To support this roadmap of increased demand, we have opened our first North American headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts and we have brought in Margie Frasier, with more than 20 years of international partner program leadership, as our Senior Vice President for Global Partnerships and Alliances.
We have a phenomenal opportunity to help North American organizations reduce the reputational and financial risks of a data breach and to minimize the burden of compliance on already taxed IT and security teams. These teams have been implementing new security measures and technologies at a record pace. As an example, the endpoint security market size is estimated to grow from USD 11.62 Billion in 2015 to USD 17.38 Billion by 2020. While this won’t prevent all data loss, it does make some parts of the network more difficult to exploit than others. As a result, criminal groups are increasingly looking to penetrate both internal and outsourced call centers as strategic targets for stealing both payment card data and personally identifiable information (PII).
At the same time, the United States is adopting chip technology in payment cards. We know from experience in the UK that call centers will be low hanging fruit for fraudsters as they shift their attention from point of sale terminals to telephone and online channels. Every country that has adopted EMV experienced a surge in CNP fraud after implementation.
At a recent conference I attended, one of the keynote speakers highlighted that there are currently 100,000 open vacancies across the United States for cyber-security professionals. This struck me for two reasons – firstly, it demonstrates that corporate America is really now waking up to the need to do more to protect both themselves and their customers against cyber-attacks – which is to be applauded. Secondly, it illustrates just how considerable a task it is going to be for those organisations to try and secure everything ‘as it is’. It’s just not possible for the industry to find and train 100,000 new security professionals overnight! Companies are going to have to be smarter about how they manage their cyber security and it seems to me that reducing the scope of the cyber-problem is the only way to ensure the good guys get ahead of the fraudsters! This is exactly where our core strengths lie at Semafone and why we are so optimistic about the value we can add to our customers and partners in the US and Canada.
Against this backdrop, we have pushed onward into North America. Boston’s downtown business district was chosen as the center of operations for our sales efforts for a number of reasons:
The state of Massachusetts is home to more than 10,000 technology companies in all. With this hub of innovation comes talent. There are more than 100 colleges and universities in the greater Boston area – the most of any city in North America. As we grow our business globally, we look forward to working with the bright minds in Boston and tapping the talent of these young tech professionals to help us build out our visions for expansion in North America. We have chosen WeWork as our office base in Boston complementing our existing WeWork space in London. Named as one of the ‘most innovative companies of 2015’ by Fast Company Magazine, WeWork’s entrepreneurial flair and inventive space made it the perfect choice for us, and we were made to feel truly welcome in our new Boston home from day one!
We have been growing strongly both at home and overseas, and have built strong partnerships with a mix of technology companies, hosted service providers, system integrators, and payment service providers. Now, we have both a home in Boston, and with Margie on board, we have a leader for growing those partnerships to their fullest potential. Her deep understanding of the telecom and enterprise technology industries will aid Semafone in building our channel relationships and help us achieving our ambitious growth plans, worldwide.