Marese O’Hagan speaks to Continent 8 chief commercial officer Brian Koh about how the end-customer aspect of cybersecurity in igaming has become more important than ever, and why reputation matters.
Cybersecurity is often in the headlines, and when it is, it’s always bad news.
The gambling industry has not escaped this – last month, a mass hacking took place on a number of DraftKings accounts, affecting $300,000 in customer funds.
To Continent 8 chief commercial officer Brian Koh, the first thing operators look for when they entrust a company with its cybersecurity is reputation.
“The igaming market is complex and highly competitive,” he says. “So businesses have to work harder than ever to stand out.”
Luckily Koh believes that his business has already secured this reputation.
“For us, our reputation is something that is important to us,” he continues. “We’ve worked tirelessly to keep that reputation in the industry. Our strategy to expand with our network that’s ever-growing, that’s highly secure, is that we’re going to obviously continue that – to be able to drive that strategy, to be able to expand into different markets.”
Being thought of as reliable and safe has had a practical effect on customers. Koh says that this, coupled with recognising consumer trends, has benefitted Continent 8’s offerings.
“Our customers, they really need secure, reliable facilities and networks to provide critical online operations,” he says. “Continuing to drive innovation from a product perspective for us, strong customer service and really bringing the customer experience to a level of excellence – I think that’s what’s going to move the needle for us.”
Location location location
Continent 8 has been in operation for more than 20 years, and does business in 85 locations across Europe, Asia and the Americas. In terms of new markets, Koh has his eye on Latin America as a potential new area for expansion.
“The LatAm market; we possibly want to be kind of first to the market from a geographical perspective, but also in terms of product development,” says Koh.
And with a number of Latin American countries – including Brazil – opening up to regulation, keeping the region in mind is a good way to keep on top of new developments.
“Asia and Latin America are interesting markets. With LAtAm, we’ve got tailored solutions in Colombia and Puerto Rico, with Peru next, and then probably Argentina. Brazil is in the pipeline.
“[In] Asia, we’ve seen a lot of growth primarily from a security perspective, we’ve seen a lot of requests and demand for security solutions within igaming with various customers.”
But despite big changes in gaming laws in some of these countries, Koh’s responsibility in his role isn’t necessarily about viewing emerging markets from a gaming perspective. Instead, he says, he tends to view the markets from a cybersecurity point of view.
“We’re seeing a lot of opportunity to grow and support our customers with cybersecurity solutions,” he continues. “The ever-changing cybersecurity landscape that we’re seeing, it’s super complex and we’ve built layered solutions to protect those businesses.”
“My responsibility is driving growth into geographical markets, driving growth from a product portfolio perspective and seeing it continue. What’s fantastic is there’s been a tremendous amount of growth and we see that trajectory continue.”
The customer consideration
Koh understands the need to put customers first in the cybersecurity debate, particularly as demand for the service ticks upwards.
“Cybersecurity has been a major demand that we’re seeing in the market,” says Koh. “You’re seeing large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that are happening all over the world, and we’ve been able to protect all of our customers.”
Koh sees how this tumultuous landscape has influenced how customers are treating their money, and what lengths they will go to ensure it is protected.
“We’re starting to see customers being more intentional in spending money and really trying to protect their assets,” Koh continues. “We’re kind of at the forefront. We’re securing them, and we’re providing the hosting and networking.”
“We’re seeing customers that are turning to us to provide that security protection. That’s something that we’re seeing at lightning speed.”
For those in the gambling industry, efforts to protect websites from cyberattacks isn’t just a case of protecting an operator’s own assets. Koh says operators have become more concerned than ever with protecting their own customers too.
“One of the trends that we’re seeing now over the last several years is the demand to increase the security with our customers, not only from a gaming perspective, but even outside of that in terms of their network,” he continues.
“A heightened awareness of that being our current reality is something that we take with a lot of pride in, in terms of being able to protect those customers and having conversations educating them about the threat.”
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