Kyrus in the Land of Ice and Snow

The hammer of the gods drove Kyrus CEO Dan Hall and me to Reykjavik to participate in the launch of Syndis, which is a new – and the only pure-play – computer security consultancy in Iceland.  If your Icelandic is up to snuff you can read more about them in the article below: Picture of Syndis Principals

One doesn't normally associate “Iceland” with “computer security” but the more we talked to the principals behind Syndis, and the longer we talked with business leaders across the capitol city, the more we recognized the unique situation Iceland presents to those who are trying to improve security. A couple of data points:

  • Iceland’s population is small, just over 300,000, and most people live in or around the capitol.
  • Iceland is, culturally and genetically speaking, homogeneous.
  • Iceland has a very high standard of living and its people quickly adopt new technologies.
  • When it comes to certain things like online banking and voting, Iceland already has something of a culture-of-security

How do these things impact an effort to improve security?

  • When a security incident happens in Iceland, word spread quickly. Likewise, letting people know how to address security problems can occur just as fast. You cannot get lost in the noise because there is no noise.
  • In a country as small and homogeneous as Iceland, you are - quite literally - connected to everyone else. Personal trust and professional reputation is everything because you can’t hide among the multitude. If you mess up and don’t make it right you are toast, because everyone will know it by the end of the week; go above and beyond for people and your reputation precedes you.
  • It’s relatively easy to get people to adopt new rules or follow new practices due to the aforementioned cultural factors.
  • Because of the size of the market, you can address whole segments pretty much all at once (at least compared to places like the U.S.).

To say the security market in Iceland is under-served might be a stretch, but you can tell in fairly short order that there is not the same maturity level when it comes to dealing with threats. Not that you don’t find this in the U.S. (because you do) but the idea that you can buy another magic box and your problems will be solved is fairly common. This is an outstanding opportunity for an outfit like Syndis, which is offering high-end, innovative, and expert capabilities, to let local business and government leaders know how to avoid the lessons that others had to learn the hard way. Iceland is a leap-frog opportunity: being able adopt a much more mature and robust approach to security any skipping over the messy mistakes others had to suffer through.

And of course, even in winter, Iceland is an enchanting place with some of the nicest people you’re ever going to meet. We could not have had a better time, and we could not be more proud of our new relationship with Syndis.