Innovation and out of the box thinking is essential for success in the contemporary threat environment, particularly in the cyber domain – as cyber capabilities emerge as one of the most powerful force multipliers of the 21st century, many nations, both friend and potential foe, have emerged as rising cyber warfare powers.
For many peer and near-peer competitors, cyber capabilities serve as powerful equalisers, limiting the traditional strengths of adversaries like the US, UK and key allies like Australia, Japan and South Korea, each of whom rely on the easy and unhindered access to vast quantities of data, imagery, targeting information and the like to inform decisions across the battlespace.
Further enhancing the force multiplying impact of cyber capabilities is the power of asymmetric cyber actors, acting with the backing of a hostile or rogue government, or in some cases on behalf of an organised criminal organisation or as an individual, making the internet and increasingly interconnected computer and communications systems vulnerable to a range of potential threats.
The diverse nature of potential threats requires an equally diverse response. Enter Penten, a unique, agile cyber security company providing world-class, cutting-edge cyber security and resiliency capabilities for governments and private enterprise in Australia and abroad.
Sarah Bailey, chief financial officer and company secretary at Penten, spoke to Defence Connect to illuminate industry about the company's approach to workplace diversity and the benefits it has seen for both the company and the customer as it seeks to provide unrivalled cyber security capabilities to the Australian government and global customers.
"Penten enjoys a long standing relationship with both Defence and the Australian government and we have worked closely with the customer to clearly frame the modern cyber threat environment and the sort of capabilities the customer expects, this has been particularly important as the cyber domain has evolved over the past five years," Bailey said.
In recognising the diverse cyber ecosystem and the challenges potentially facing secure, sensitive networks, Penten has sought to leverage a policy of workplace diversity, thus promoting a culture of thought diversity to ensure that both the company and customer remain at the cutting edge of the contemporary cyber security threat environment.
"One thing that has become clear to Penten is that there is a severe shortfall of people who have both the skills and experience necessary to support government's objectives in the cyber domain. We also recognise that the fight itself is changing and we need to make sure that the nation can defend itself, that is where workplace diversity plays a critical role," Bailey added.
"As a company, we know that in order to maximise the capability of the company and meet the requirements of government we need to attract and retain the right people, we have found that these people come from a diverse range of backgrounds, bringing a wealth of experience, individual capacity and diversity of thought to respond to the ever evolving cyber security and cyber threat environments."
With government clients including defence and national security agencies, discretion, cutting-edge capability and a capacity to rapidly respond to changing requirements based on the individual client needs is at the core of Penten's approach.
This approach is reflected in the company's approach to gender representation in the work place, which it believes brings enhanced capability to the customers as a result of increased diversity of thought in challenging, fluid environments.
"Penten is pushing to establish a 50/50 gender split, which, while it is a tall order in the defence and cyber security space, we believe is something we are striving to achieve," Bailey explained.
"Diversity through thought supports our ambitions as a company to create a robust, resilient and flexible work force and work environment which is capable of rapidly responding to the needs of customer, no matter the complexity."
Penten was founded by Australian technology entrepreneurs with a proven record of innovation and successful commercialisation and export. Working closely with customers to gain understanding and seeking to solve their hard problems, the founders of Penten have built a number of successful and award-winning businesses, with innovative solutions to customer’s problems being commercialised to support global market needs as part of larger organisations.
Operating as an innovative start-up and now having grown to over 70 engineers and staff, Penten employs a flat structure. The leadership and technical staff function as a cross-functional and multi-disciplinary team, to bring a diversity of specialist skills to the customer solution. All Penten staff maintain active Australian government clearances, including the most trusted vetting levels.
Penten enjoys robust relationships with technology partners around the world, including Amiosec, an innovative UK cyber security firm focused on the next generation of high-grade encryption technologies and applications. The AltoCrypt Prime family of secure mobility solutions including the AltoCrypt Stik have been jointly developed by Amiosec and Penten.
Additionally, Penten is the exclusive distributor, integrator and support services provider in Australia and New Zealand for Amiosec products, including AmioPRIME. Finally, Tenable Network Security is the market leader in continuous network monitoring and the creators of the award-winning Nessus solution. Penten is Tenable gold partner in Australia and New Zealand.
Bailey finished by telling Defence Connect, "Our people are a fundamental input to capability, which is why they figure so highly in the way the company supports and pursues a diverse workplace culture and environment, it means we get the best out of our people and can continue to deliver the best capabilities ahead of the threat to government."