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Fiona Whyte & Ian Schenkel

Fiona Whyte and Ian Schenkel on innovative cybersecurity

By Fiona Whyte & Ian Schenkel

Co-Founders - Endida Ltd

Pioneering progressive innovations through their cybersecurity company Endida, co-founders Fiona Whyte and Ian Schenkel are a new force for good in the fight against cyberattacks.

Innately entrepreneurial, Fiona started her first business at 19 before getting into the IT industry and helping to form Roc Technologies where she became Managing Director.

Having grown up in New Zealand, Ian moved to the UK 30 years ago, and started his first software company in 1992, finding his niche in building EMEA operations for US cybersecurity companies.

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What cybersecurity services does Endida specialise in?

FW: One of our key specialisms is penetration testing. We’re different from other companies because we have an autonomous AI-based platform that has replaced what manual pen testing has traditionally done.

The great thing about our platform is that it's a lot more affordable and accessible than manual pen testing. It means that smaller businesses can do pen testing, so we support smaller clients to larger organisations across a broad spectrum of sectors.

IS: Endida utilises new and innovative solutions to fix the age-old problem of hacking. Our niche is bringing new, mainly AI-based, cybersecurity solutions into the market to help fight against new threats. My background of working for US software companies gives us unique access to these new solutions from the US much sooner than they would usually come to Europe.

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What’s your take on AI, is it both a threat and an opportunity for cybersecurity?

IS: A lot of new threats are AI-based because of course, the bad guys are using AI as much as the good guys and we need to use AI to fight that.

Most cybersecurity breaches happen because of either email phishing, or because of hackers using CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) – a globally recognised cataloguing system of vulnerabilities.

Testing for CVEs is a constant, uphill battle. Using AI means that you can autonomously put a set of tools in place to check whether organisations have vulnerabilities, weaknesses, or misconfigurations.

AI can also stop employees from being phished and it helps us to test how they might be phished.

We’re also using AI for education. We’re building a series of our own bots to help with queries and solutions about different aspects of cybersecurity.

You’re at the forefront of using AI within the cybersecurity industry, how important is innovation to you?

FW: Innovation is really important to us. Our USP is that we’re constantly looking for the next generation of software tools to give businesses the advantage in protecting themselves.

A lot of the products that we’re selling aren’t really known in the market and they’re far ahead of other products – that’s what sets us apart. Those benefits are passed on to the businesses with extra protection that wasn’t necessarily available before.

"Endida utilises new and innovative solutions to fix the age-old problem of hacking."

Beyond AI, are there other innovations that are on your radar?

IS: The hybrid way of working has been a significant shift since COVID, and that has brought new challenges in giving people remote access to internal assets.

Traditionally, we had a VPN (Virtual Private Network) through which you can either have full access or no access. One of the pioneering things we’re looking at is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) which gives remote access to just the resource that you want that person to have access to. It enables access to individual parts within the organisation; it’s very easy to set up and it’s resonating extremely well.

What are some common mistakes regarding cybersecurity?

FW: One of the basics is managing passwords. It seems obvious, but many companies don’t securely manage their passwords. Hacking into Facebook and LinkedIn is very common, so two-factor authentication should be standard for all key logins.

Phishing is still by far the most popular method for malware and ransomware attacks. Everybody uses email every day and the biggest threat within an organisation is people because they can unwillingly make you vulnerable by not taking due care and attention to security.

IS: And don’t rely entirely on antivirus. People think that they’re protected because they’ve got antivirus. Polymorphic ransomware is a shape changer that traditional cybersecurity defences miss because it morphs to make itself look different every time.

"Innovation is really important to us. Our USP is that we’re constantly looking for the next generation of software tools to give businesses the advantage in protecting themselves."

Fiona Whyte & Ian Schenkel - Co-Founders, Endida Ltd

How can you help when a cyberattack happens?

IS: Prevention is better than cure and having a solid disaster recovery plan is highly important.

The initial thing you’ve got to do is triage what’s been affected. Find out what the threat is, do forensics to understand what that looks like, and then see what’s available to try and get the business up and running again – it’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle in reverse. We helped an organisation last year and had them up and running in four days.

What are three of your favourite apps?

IS: Authenticator, which is a two-factor authentication app – it’s brilliant in how it works and that gets my brain going. I use Perplexity a lot which is a new AI chatbot and a slight alternative to ChatGPT. I’ve also got a whole folder of weather apps for sailing.

FW: My fitness app for the gratification of seeing how hard I’ve worked. Waze to help me with directions. And I do love LinkedIn – it’s a great platform for building a business community, seeing what people are doing, and getting ideas.

What do you find most rewarding about what you do?

FW: I think the most rewarding thing is simplifying cybersecurity for people. It’s a stressful subject and something that people don’t always want to face or deal with. We try to take the jargon and complexity out of it and provide reassurance.

It’s really rewarding to make cybersecurity accessible for businesses of all sizes, and make people realise that it doesn’t have to be expensive, stressful, or complicated.

What do you enjoy doing outside of the business?

FW: I love CrossFit, I get up early in the mornings to go to the gym. It’s a big part of my day and I enjoy being part of that community. When I’m doing CrossFit, I can’t think of anything else, so it’s my little relaxation release.

IS: Sailing is my big thing, especially racing. Currently, I’m just doing inshore racing, but I’ve done a lot of offshore too which is a bit like being in a washing machine for a week! It’s a lot of fun – it’s competitive, very tactical, and involves a lot of strategy which I really enjoy. You’re making decisions every two to three seconds on how to get the best out of everything.