ESI Technologies was founded in Montreal in 1994, when the open systems IT market was emerging. For almost 30 years, the company has never ceased to innovate, while consolidating its experience and renewing the confidence of its customers.
With 250 employees and wings across North America, ESI Technologies is one of the big players in the field of data storage and cybersecurity. Patrick Naoum, Executive Vice-President and Head of Consulting Services and Emerging Practices, and Frédéric Sautot, Director of Cybersecurity Practice, took the time to chat with In-Sec-M.
In-Sec-M: What is the little story of ESI Technologies?
Patrick: ESI Technologies was born during the IT transition for mainframes to open systems and when storage was very expensive and was mostly available to large companies. Our DNA is the management and protection of critical data… since day 1. We help control and manage all data flows, from creation to disposal, including cybersecurity. The advent of the Internet and the need to protect data effectively has been a huge business opportunity for us.
At the turn of the century, with everyone’s eyes on the Y2K bug, we focused on security. We helped set the standards that are used in the field today. ESI Technologies was also one of the pioneers in computer forensics, with a whole range of compliance, pen testing and audit services.
Today, our expertise is everything to do with business-oriented digital transformation. We have six key pillars: digital integration, cybersecurity, IT modernization, data strategy, cloud and digital resilience.
Let’s face it, the next major crisis post pandemic will be around cybersecurity, and it has already started. Every day we see more serious attacks, whether it is data theft or ransomware, which highlights the flaws in most IT systems and processes.
In-Sec-M: What sets you apart in cybersecurity?
Frédéric: As ESI Technologies does not only focus on cybersecurity, we can respond to transversal issues, such as cloud computing or data management. Our integrated offer provides 360-degree security, because we offer both advisory services and managed services. Finally, ESI Technologies has acquired its notoriety thanks to the quality of what we deliver.
In-Sec-M: What are your upcoming projects?
Patrick: ESI Technologies will continue to grow through acquisitions, particularly by continuing to expand in the United States to seek a larger pool of expertise and export our “savoir-faire”. In Quebec, we are redoubling our efforts to allow organizations to prepare to comply with Bill 64, eventually C-11. We are facing a perfect storm… with a legislative framework that is finally starting to evolve.
In-Sec-M: What has changed since the pandemic?
Patrick: In the first few months, we helped companies equip themselves effectively to work from home. Frédéric had to triple his team. By accelerating the digital transformation, the pandemic has also increased the need for cybersecurity. The positive side is that we are now working with people from overseas. Distance doesn’t matter anymore. It makes things more efficient… and more motivating!
In-Sec-M: Why did you decide to join In-Sec-M?
Frédéric: In-Sec-M is THE Quebec and Canadian security cluster that enjoys growing notoriety among SMEs and organizations specializing in cybersecurity. This partnership allows us to be informed of news and innovations in the field, and to benefit from economic benefits. But above all, it gives us the opportunity to participate in the ecosystem, in the community, in the creation of certain offers… in short, to be active! By joining this large network of experts, we are contributing to security across the country.
In-Sec-M: What books or events have influenced you during your career?
Patrick: The exploits of Kevin Mitnick, the most impressive of hackers! There is also this hacker from here, Mafia Boy, who did a lot of damage. I was also impressed by one of the first big phishing attacks, which activated a worm that took advantage of a basic human desire, remember “I love you”. And finally, I would add the famous book “1984”, by George Orwell. I thought the world described in it was appalling and unreal when I was a teenager… Not only are we light years away from the worst-case scenario of surveillance, but we ask and encourage it ourselves, freely!
Frédéric: It’s not directly related to cybersecurity, but the book “Optimize your team – The 5 dysfunctions of a team” addresses a host of topics including accountability, collaboration and mobilization around complex subjects in work teams. Cybersecurity is one of the sensitive topics that must be addressed in contemporary organizations.