Gerard Vidal is the founder of Enigmedia, an industrial cybersecurity company. He has more than 25 prizes and Awards, including Alexander Fleming Award from London Business School and more than 20 scientific publications in international journals. Vidal is also an Associate Professor in Universidad de Navarra and Mondragon University.
1. What is Enigmedia?
Enigmedia is an industrial cybersecurity company. We protect critical infrastructures such as energy grid, water and wastewater systems, petrochemical and industrial plants.
Nowadays, these industrial systems are under a revolution motivated by Industry 4.0. All these infrastructures are connected to the Internet with the rise of the Industrial IoT increasing the performance and reducing costs. But this digitisation process also implies risks, as the exposure to potential threats grows exponentially.
Most of the current cybersecurity solutions have been designed for IT systems instead of Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and this is remarkable. IT systems used to have a lifetime of 3-5 years (think on your laptop/cellphone) however, ICS used to have a lifetime upto 20 years (imagine you go to your office and your employee gives you a laptop running Windows 2000, this happens in the industrial environment!).
These differences in how one replaces equipment in the industrial world and others, requires a different approach from a cybersecurity point of view. Due to that, industrial cybersecurity has become a hot topic and a green market with no key-players yet.
Enigmedia has a solution that increases the security level on the legacy infrastructures (brownfield) with a minimum impact on the architecture.
2. How did you come up with the idea for Enigmedia?
The idea comes from my PhD in Physics.
We patented a system that allows encrypted communications with a negligible latency. This is critical for industrial communications. Just to give you an example: in IT a latency below 100ms has no impact and is considered “real time” as the user (you and me) cannot see any difference.
However, in machine-to-machine communications, latency requirements are below 5/10ms! Indeed, with the advent of 5G we will see more strict time requirements.
3. How did you get to where you are today with your company?
It was a long road!
We talked with SEVERAL customers and experts before we got the first minimum viable product. Requirements in industrial systems are different that you can find in IT and customer processes/pains too.
Once we achieve our first well-known references and validations, the game changes and then we focus on company growth.
4. How did coronavirus impact your company and what lessons would you take from it?
We have been very lucky to close a fundraising round just before the pandemic.Of course we have been struggling as well as most of the companies due to the sanitary crisis and lockdowns. However, this pandemic also increased the awareness on cybersecurity.
Now companies realize that remote work will remain after the pandemic and new cybersecurity protocols/solutions have to be implemented.
5. What is the future of Enigmedia?
This situation is bringing new and huge opportunities… as well as new incumbents in this digital arena. Now it’s time to execute fast and efficiently, in order to take advantage of our position.
6. What advice would you give to young budding entrepreneurs?
Focus on the market and listen to the customer.
We would like to thank Gerard for speaking with us.