Since Craig McDonald launched MailGuard in 2001 after an email-borne virus caused havoc for his then business, he’s now regarded as a world-leader in cloud email security, and his company is the world’s largest private email Software as a Service (SaaS) security provider.
As a Gold Microsoft Partner, MailGuard was the only cybersecurity vendor invited by Microsoft to join the pilot of its global CSP marketplace, along with a handful of other leading Microsoft partners.
We caught up with Craig to learn more about his foray with Microsoft, the business’s continued success, the challenges and triumphs faced, and what the future holds for MailGuard.
Tell us about what your company does?
MailGuard leads the way in cloud email security, providing protection, continuity and archiving in a single, integrated cloud solution for 24/7 peace of mind. There’s no infrastructure to maintain, no software to install or updates required.
Speed is vital, and critically, MailGuard excels at detecting and blocking fast-breaking zero-day criminal intent email threats 2-48 hours ahead of the market. Seamlessly stackable with Microsoft Office 365, Google G-Suite and other email platforms, MailGuard provides an added layer of specialised email security to reduce the impact of cybercrime on business.
What export markets has your company tapped into and what markets are you planning to enter in the future?
MailGuard has over 500 global partners and protects thousands of businesses around the world.
Exclusive to the Microsoft marketplace, MailGuard 365 was built with the team at Microsoft to protect more than 200 million Microsoft Office 365 users around the world.
Complementing upstream security services like the Microsoft 365 security stack and other third-party vendors, MailGuard 365 takes a new approach – it’s last to inspect emails, allowing for world-first evidence-based reporting that demonstrates its stopping power.
MailGuard 365 re-scans emails when they reach an end-user inbox inside Microsoft 365, stopping up to 15 per cent more email threats with Microsoft 365. Threatslike phishing, spear phishing, ransomware and CEO Fraud/ Business Email Compromise (BEC) email attacks that can destroy a business.
As a business owner and CEO, it’s also imperative that you’re clear about what’s core to your business’s future prosperity, and that you focus your vital, scarce resources and attention on those aspects that will see you through to the other side. Thankfully, there is also much needed government support, that I would urge every business owner to take advantage of.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an export business?
The challenge in new export markets is to motivate product trial, and a shift away from incumbents.
First, you must convince decision-makers that there is a better way – often the belief is that existing solutions are as good as it gets, even when they are failing.
Second, those who are open to considering a better way, must convince their technical teams to undertake unbiased product trials to verify the performance improvement. So, we must support and enable those conversations.
And finally, once the partner can see that our solution is better, they must then get their front-line sales channel to embrace the new solution.
MailGuard 365 was developed with these challenges in mind.
Tell us about your proudest moments and greatest achievements as an exporter?
As an exporter, one of my proudest moments was when MailGuard was celebrated by Gavriella Schuster (Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft) in her global keynote address at the global Microsoft partner conference in 2018, saying “I love the innovation in your product and the results you are finding. I look forward to continuing to support your growth and innovation.”
More recently, speaking about our latest offering, MailGuard 365, I was thrilled when Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO said in his keynote that it is “...the type of innovation that we want to see.”
On a personal level, I was enormously proud to be presented with the 2019 Victorian Pearcey Entrepreneur Award, which recognises outstanding individuals who have "taken a risk and made a difference" in the Victorian ICT industry.
How did your business respond to coronavirus and what’s your advice for other Victorian businesses in their recovery?
At MailGuard, my team continues to intercept variations of email threats with increasing complexity and sophistication, most recently exploiting the pandemic, ranging from those masquerading as relief bonuses to COVID-19 IT updates. And the problem is only expected to get worse.
The last thing you need at a time like this is a cyber-attack, so please do all that you can to increase your cyber-resilience. Email is the number one threat vector, with nine out of 10 attacks coming through an employee inbox, so if you have Microsoft 365, I recommend a ‘defence in depth’ approach by adding a specialist layer of email security like MailGuard.
And finally, communication is key.
For most of us, all or part of our business is now working remotely, so it’s critical to take every opportunity to stay in touch with all of your key stakeholders. Customers, staff and business partners. Cloud technology has been a saviour for my business, and for communications, aside from email and phones, we are incredibly grateful for secure, digital collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams.