Getting a Clue: Fighting the Good Fight for Cybersecurity
by Monitor Staff May/June 2022
A sufficient cybersecurity response to threats is on everybody’s radar, and rightly so, but as with many things in life, it’s a task easier said than done. Monitor caught up with three technology leaders to discuss what their companies are doing to answer the call for solid cybersecurity in their product offerings and beyond.
Mike Applegate, President, TimeValue Software
Change is the only constant when it comes to both technology and the universe it has spawned regarding cybersecurity. Today’s solution is tomorrow’s risk. The next best app, product or buzzword quickly becomes a standard or sinks into obscurity until the next best thing takes the industry by storm.
With this pace of change afoot, it is difficult to maintain vigilance against bad actors as well as accidents or missteps from within without a dedicated person or team remaining on guard to protect your data, finances and customers alike. The question now remains: Who do you trust and what advice is reliable for the here and now?
Monitor had the chance to sit down with three heavy technology hitters to pick their brains on keeping up with the constant ebb and flow of technological advances, what threats should be on your radar and what technology providers are doing to grant peace of mind to companies via extensive cybersecurity protections and methods.
How is your company evolving your products to be part of a successful infrastructure?
Mike Applegate: The marketplace demands products [that] stay at the forefront of technology, security and adaptability for an ever-evolving workforce. We are developing the next generation of our core product line with various editions to serve different customers’ needs, from the desktop to the cloud to web services apps. As an example, we license our flagship TValue calculation engine as a web service and software developer kit for use by other software developers to integrate into their custom applications.
Michael Baez: Our company has built our solution on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Power Platform, ensuring constant innovation and upgrades and a highly reliable ecosystem of support, applications and integration opportunities.
Ron Ford: We have reengineered our products from the ground up as service-based apps. Obviously, cloud deployment was part of our strategy, but it wasn’t the only focus. Our underlying product framework is now pliable to support an ever-evolving array of tools and integrations, such as an integrated customer portal, role-based credit origination tools and full-featured API.
How do you handle partnerships with different types of leasing organizations and help clients of various sizes with different focuses navigate a successful approach tailored to their needs?
Applegate: At TimeValue Software, we have a dedicated sales and support team working with leasing organizations to ensure we provide the right products to fit their unique needs. One of our most recent software offerings is tailor-made through careful, custom development, working closely with a leasing software solutions business partner to meet all time value of money calculations required by leasing customers working in Salesforce environments. We have similar business partnerships with several other leasing solutions providers specifically oriented to meeting the unique needs of those partners’ respective customer groups. We ensure our customers’ success by offering educational tools, such as phone support, webinars, training videos, blogs and FAQs that specifically address all segments of the leasing industry.
Baez: We work across many types of organizations of different sizes across the equipment finance industry, including banks, captives, independent lessors and brokers. We are always curious, seeing obstacles as challenges to be overcome and new ideas as a means to be inventive in tailoring our approach to customer needs. Our industry is one of relationships, and we [are] the technology bridge, so to speak, that connects different services in the equipment finance industry.
Ford: Providing products with built-in scalability provides a unique advantage when tailoring a solution for customers of various sizes and needs. From our click-and-drag approach to customizing the UI to our robust customizations engine, we are able to add features to our products to leverage what makes our customers’ businesses unique and avoid third-party processes or outside workarounds. This allows the solution to distinctively fit the business while maintaining a consistent underlying framework, thus an unaltered upgrade path for our clients.
How are you evolving your technology to deal with issues of the day, such as cybersecurity?
Applegate: Cybersecurity and business continuity are of course critical concerns for any company operating in today’s business environment. Most particularly over the past five years, our company has made significant investments in our software development and marketing platforms, back-office systems, business processes and team training to make cybersecurity awareness and preparedness at the forefront of our own business activities and those of our customers. We’ve implemented primarily cloud-based systems with monitoring, security and redundant backups that minimize risk. A critical part of our business continuity program also considers the increasingly mobile/remote workforce environment we and our customers operate in.
Baez: Cloud offers huge advantages to combat cybersecurity [threats]. One of our key platform tenets centers around data security and auditing in that it tracks and provides visibility to see every user action, allows for auditing of customer and prospect touch points and takes advantage of a SOC-compliant cloud infrastructure.
Ford: Our approach to cybersecurity has been proactive from its early design phases. Industry standard encryption, including restful encryption of data, multifactor authentication and proper sandboxing of environments, are all utilized in our products. As the threats evolve, so too do we evolve our approach to tackle them, working closely with our client-partners to stay ahead.
Companies are often looking for peace of mind when it comes to vulnerabilities and existential technology threats. How do you get ahead of these issues so your clients don’t have to worry about them?
Applegate: TimeValue Software is constantly updating and evolving our technology and processes to help our customers defend themselves effectively against potential technology threats. Our efforts are divided mainly among three areas: 1) software development — we develop all of our products using what we believe to be the most functional and effective development tools; 2) maintenance, support and customer feedback — we place great emphasis on continuously testing, refining and improving our products’ functionality and resilience based on our own experience and what we hear from our user base; and 3) threat vigilance — we constantly think about potential threat vectors and “bad actor” events that could impact our own environment and that of our customers, and we maintain a high level of ongoing diligence against possible disruptions through both internal and external testing, training, listening to our customers, staying current on cyber and other identified industry threats and continuous monitoring.
Baez: Given our solution is built utilizing the Microsoft Cloud, we can rely on and leverage the most current built-in security and compliance features to enable us and our clients to mitigate against any vulnerabilities and threats. Microsoft invests more than $1 billion in security and infrastructure annually to stay ahead of vulnerabilities, helping partners like us stay ahead of possible threats and vulnerabilities.
Ford: Part of project planning is an open communication about security. We strongly recommend best practices as it pertains to our software and highlight plausible flaws in preferences or tendencies of our clients. We are also proactive in addressing potential vulnerabilities, including in tools/software we leverage, prior to client deployment of our products.
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