Martin, how many companies does Slovak Telekom work for in Slovakia’s financial sector?
Martin Jurča: The relationship between Slovakian banks and Slovak Telekom is highly successful. Almost all the banks in Slovakia are our customers, including the majority of important Slovak banks.
MJ: Slovak Telekom’s strategy is to provide its customers with state-of-the-art solutions for any kind of data privacy. Currently, mobile devices are threatened by many different kinds of attacks. We offer solutions for all of them, always keeping our services up-to-date and providing our customers with support during the update of their systems. By staying ahead of the new trends in mobile device security and IT security in general, we have become a reliable partner for the banking sector.
Sounds easy …
MJ: Gaining the trust of so many customers belonging to that particular sector took a lot of time and effort. It was a long-term process that began with providing basic services of impeccable quality. This is a crucial factor if, as a mobile carrier, you want to be considered as a trustworthy provider for other services as well. We then expanded our offering to IT and mobile device security. The key for us was to create success stories with the first few customers. After that, we had a major selling point just by mentioning that their competitors already use our services to their complete satisfaction.
Could you describe your strategy in a few sentences?
MJ: We choose the most suitable product for our customers at a reasonable price. We also offer a pilot phase to gather precious information about its deployment in real-life conditions. Last but not least, we use our solutions ourselves, which boosts customers’ confidence even further.
Do banks have different requirements compared to your customers in other industries?
MJ: Yes, indeed. Whereas the big industry corporations and small or medium-sized businesses use IT solutions primarily, or at least in part, to enhance their productivity, security concerns are the key driver for the banking sector.
Where does this increased security-awareness come from?
MJ: Data privacy has been among every company’s top priorities for the last couple of years. Banks historically have a very strong understanding of the need for high security levels and data protection. Another reason is the rise of mobile devices. Due to the increasing mobility of employees and more frequent use of mobile devices in field work, mobile security has become an important issue.
MJ: The computing power of mobile phones has improved about a hundredfold in the past 10 years. Combine this with the improved coverage of high-speed mobile Internet and it’s easy to see why mobile devices are now a much more important work tool. Furthermore, the importance of the data stored on mobile devices has changed – and while almost every manager grasps the importance of secure data storage in notebooks, only few have the same understanding when it comes to mobile phones and tablets. These often remain uncontrolled and unprotected.
What security solutions do you offer to your customers?
MJ: We provide a wide range of products and services, which are always tailor-made to meet the customer’s needs. In mobile device security, we have comprehensive Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems, which we can deploy as on-premises, private-cloud, or public-cloud solutions according to the customer’s wishes. We also offer end-to-end delivery to our clients, so they can enjoy a one-stop-shop solution with a single contact person. In addition to that, we work together with renowned partners like MobileIron, the global leader for mobile device management.
In your opinion, what are the biggest security challenges for banks?
MJ: Banks, just like any other company, can’t afford to lose personal data – especially because there is a lot of money at stake. Meanwhile, the risk of cyber-attacks is rising every day. Attacks that are made possible by employee or customer behavior also pose a very real threat. Many assaults happen because of weak protection when surfing on the Internet, due to people lacking knowledge about the different threats and downloading content quite carelessly.
Which is the best way to protect your customers?
MJ: To educate them. Why? Because even the best tool for protection against cyber-attacks is useless when inexperienced and uneducated users start browsing and downloading things without thinking twice about it.
Besides mobile device security, cloud computing is also a huge trend in IT. Is this a relevant topic among Slovakian banks?
MJ: Cloud computing is a difficult subject to talk about with our customers from the banking sector. Most of them think that since they invested a lot of money and effort to build secure infrastructures and processes, they don’t want to take the risk of transferring all this into a cloud – and I don’t see this mentality changing in the next few years.
On the other hand, cloud offers significant benefits like flexibility, scalability, security and of course cost effectivity – these are things which the companies could not afford to ignore. If they do, their more courageous competitors will use these benefits and may get ahead easily.