AMATAS: A BULGARIAN PLAYER WITH GLOBAL AMBITION
Boris Goncharov, CSO, and Marko Simeonov, CEO, on their mission to deliver competent, diligent and cost-effective managed cybersecurity services
AMATAS is one of the best examples that exciting things in cybersecurity can happen by Bulgarian initiative and on Bulgarian soil. Established in 2016, AMATAS is a part of Ocean Investments Group. To guarantee safety in the digital environment, it offers fully managed, cyber governance, operations and awareness services to the vast majority of companies, namely ones with limited security resources or expertise.
The cybersecurity testing service provided by AMATAS continuously evaluates clients' organizational exposure, uncovers complex vulnerabilities and weaknesses in their digital environment, and reveals the susceptibility of their employees to social engineering. The Virtual CISO service provides client companies with the leadership needed to manage their cyber risks more strategically, foster a secure digital workplace culture, and transform cybersecurity from a technical support and compliance enforcing role into a business-enabling driving force. The Managed Extended Detection and Response provides cost-effective, innovative and easy to use 24/7 threat monitoring, detection, incident response, and value-added services powered by industry-leading technologies and managed by experienced security analysts. The Managed Security Awareness service helps organizations identify human vulnerabilities, understand employees' security behavior, and deliver adaptive multichannel, business-specific, and employee-centric security awareness programs.
It is hardly a surprise, that today AMATAS operates both on the local and the global market.
The company's CEO, Marko Simeonov is the son of Atanas Simeonov, the founder of Ocean Investments Group and of AMATAS. Previously, he was the company's Legal and Compliance Officer with a strong interest in cybersecurity innovations and a focus on regulatory requirements and internal organizational policies. His main area of work involves GDPR compliance and implementation and consulting on various legal matters. Prior to AMATAS, he obtained a L.L.B in Laws at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The major fields of law that he has experience with are Commercial Contracts, Business Associations, and IT law. He is keen on growing AMATAS to grasp the opportunities arising from the evolving fusion of information technology, cybersecurity, and the law.
Boris Goncharov, Chief Strategy Officer at AMATAS, is an information security enthusiast and visionary with over 12 years of operations and information security experience. As AMATAS CSO, he is focused on envisioning the future of security and defining corporate protection strategies and tactics. Prior to AMATAS, he was Chair of Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (CSeCoE) at G4S Europe. He is a regular speaker at leading security events such as InfoSec Europe, Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit, IDC Security Roadshow and others. He currently maintains top-level industry certifications including CIPP/E, CISSP, ISSMP, CCISO, CCSP, CEH, TOGAF, CHFI, ITIL, Prince2.
Mr. Simeonov, why should consumers pay attention to AMATAS solutions? For what type of clients are your solutions designed?
AMATAS offers managed cybersecurity solutions to organizations of all sizes with limited security resources or expertise. We aim to create the bridge between the vast choice of cybersecurity products and the need for experts and knowledge in managing them. The AMATAS solutions are designed for clients looking to proactively invest in their cybersecurity, as well as organizations looking for assistance with any persistent cyber challenges.
As a second generation of manager at AMATAS, what is your recapitulation of the company's development since it appeared on the market?
AMATAS was founded in 2016 with big ambitions and hopes for its future cybersecurity business and it took us quite a while to find our footing with the market and services we offered. Starting out with more than 30 different services and a small market which paid little attention to cybersecurity we have now managed to optimize our portfolio to 6 main services, expanded to become one of the most recognized managed security services providers in Bulgaria and amassed a portfolio of a large variety of clients in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
What do you want to upgrade and develop at AMATAS, and what are your mid-term goals?
We are currently in the process of growing our operations team rapidly to keep up with the demand of the US market. Additionally, we are investing heavily in research and building expertise in several selected verticals including manufacturing, finance and fintech, and healthcare.
The development of which trends in the field of contemporary cyber security are you following with special interest and why? How are you adapting AMATAS portfolio and activities to fit them?
I would say that contemporary cybersecurity is not particularly exciting to me. What we see as a trend today is something driven by the need to solve complex security problems by buying stuff usually injected with outdated paradigms. I am more interested in predicting what risks the evolution of all-new digital marvels (AI, quantum computing, etc.) will inevitably bring to us and finding ways to challenge Stone Age security perceptions. AMATAS is a great canvas for testing the latest ideas. The tricky part is to make your customers embrace them.
Mr. Goncharov, as one of Bulgaria's best cybersecurity professionals, can you share with us what it means to be a visionary in the field today? What responsibilities does it bring?
I think that someone like me should be meticulous not to perceive himself as "the best", "the greatest", "the <insert superlative here>". The most potent career driving force in cybersecurity is self-awareness – realizing how little you know and how much you need to learn. For me, the visionary stuff is a straightforward thing – dreaming about the future while asking yourself three simple questions: what might happen, why, and how it will impact us as companies and individuals. The main responsibility in this "process" is to be knowledgeable.
What is your main goal as Director Strategic Business Development at AMATAS? Why did you decide to continue your career in the company?
My main objective is to find and introduce new practical ways to solve complex cybersecurity challenges, question and change things, and excite companies about cybersecurity. This is why I choose AMATAS every day – creative freedom, tons of challenges, and some hard work pleasure...
What was the most challenging cybersecurity task you had to solve as a part of AMATAS?
Creating a new cybersecurity strategy framework in a few hours for a customer on a different continent. Working with remote international teams, part of companies of all sizes from different verticals, is a great challenge that we regularly face.
Which AMATAS solution(s) deserve special attention and why?
We live in very turbulent times and we have seen a significant increase in the variety of cyber-attacks aimed at different private and state-owned organizations. Special attention needs to be paid to our Security Operations Center (SOC) and Incident Response services. We provide 24/7 monitoring of any organization’s infrastructure and assets and can swiftly respond and mitigate cyber-attacks from outside and within an organization. Additionally, we have now assembled an incident response team of hardened experts who are ready to act at any moment when a company believes to be under attack and needs help with limiting the damage and recovering data and assets that were targeted.
What will a company get in terms of cybersecurity if it becomes an AMATAS client?
The core services that AMATAS offers are centered around our model of continuous improvement. We believe in regular assessment through manual pen-testing and managed cyber awareness training. Additionally, we aim to supplement security teams with our Virtual CISO and privacy services dealing with cyber governance and compliance, cybersecurity strategy creation and risk management. Finally, we aim to close the loop by proactively defending organizations with our Managed Detection and Response service providing a clear view of everything ongoing within an IT infrastructure with the ability to swiftly respond to suspected or real cyber-attacks.
AMATAS is part of Ocean Investments – a family owned investment company focused on early-stage technology innovators and start-up ideas in the field of cybersecurity, digital health and real estate, which aims to contribute to positive change in the Bulgarian start-up ecosystem. Find out more about Ocean Investments here: https://ocean.investments/
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