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How did this S’porean turn its cybersecurity company around

Making a living in Singapore can be tough – many of us face stiff competition for jobs, and even then, the rat race never ends.

For many of us, climbing the corporate ladder to make a lot of money and secure a comfortable future for ourselves is a dream. But for most, this dream will be just that – a dream.

However, Edmund How, founder of OneSecure, left the position not once but twice, to start a business of his own.

Today, the company develops its own cybersecurity products, and its customers include local telecommunications companies, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as schools.

Put your family first

Edmund started his career as an Air Force regular, which is a pretty steady and respectable job. After retiring from the army, he decided to take another job that also paid very well, at a reputable multinational cybersecurity and network provider.

The job comes with many perks – the opportunity to travel abroad, a good salary, and more.

But the price he has to pay is also very high.

My family and mental health took a hit again after long hours at work, and frequent commutes meant less time with my family. Working in MNC is just chasing numbers and I can’t find any satisfaction other than money. Sometimes it’s a struggle to find the balance between selling the right product and hitting the numbers.

– Edmund How, CEO and Founder of OneSecure

For a man like Edmund, who believes strongly in creating value and providing solutions, this is not a job that gives him any sense of satisfaction. So, after eight years of service, he once again resigned and returned to life with his family.

And as it turns out, this resignation comes at an opportunistic time.

Edmund recounted that a friend who ran a software company had obtained exclusive distribution rights for an anti-fraud software and wanted him to run the distributor. This led to the birth of OneSecure, a subsidiary for software distribution.

Lehman Brothers 'Collapse'
Lehman Brothers / Image Credit: Getty Images

But it didn’t happen. Just three months after founding the company in 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed, marking the beginning of the Great Recession.

OneSecure was pulled down as the economic headwinds changed. Within months, Edmund’s investment in his new company was gone – a whopping $100k from his personal savings.

With such large sums of money gone and now with no customers to sell to, Edmund made the difficult decision to shut the company down, to cut his own losses.

During this time, his wife became the sole breadwinner of the family, and Edmund retired to the backseat and spent time with his newborn daughter.

Back after three years

While this turning point took a toll on his confidence, it didn’t dampen his passion for building the company.

OneSecure’s three years of inactivity have provided Edmund with valuable time to consider what his company will need when the economy recovers.

Edmund How at OneSecure's booth
Edmund How at OneSecure’s booth, CommunicAsia / Image Credit: OneSecure

During this time, Edmund was looking for vendors to talk to, to better understand the industry and the products available in the market and what OneSecure could offer that would allow them to enter the market.

In 2011, Edmund finally brought OneSecure back. With the economy recovering, OneSecure weathered the wave to make up for lost time, and Edmund managed to regain the US$100,000 he had previously lost.

With the company’s revenue growing at an impressive 50 to 70% per year, investors started to take notice and OneSecure was eventually acquired in 2017. However, this investment partnership was fast. quickly becomes difficult.

An investor is said to have invested and built a team to provide round-the-clock cybersecurity monitoring services. A group of 10 people was hired at a monthly cost of S$100,000, but the investor withdrew from the investment.

Not wanting to affect all employees, I decided to keep the team until they found work. As a result, the company lost everything we had earned over the years.

– Edmund How, CEO and Founder of OneSecure

With the company once again in crisis, Edmund threw everything he had to keep the business afloat. At one point, he even used his own credit card to pay employees.

Finally, a year later, investors sold the shares back to him. With full control of the company again, Edmund decided that a change was needed – instead of continuing to be a distributor of cybersecurity software, OneSecure would evolve itself into a Managed Stock Software Provider. .

Toward the future

Global weekly cyberattacks
Cyberattacks are on the rise and so is the need for cybersecurity / Image and Data Credit: Check Point Blog

Realizing that cyber threats will continue to evolve and companies will find it difficult to keep up with new developments, OneSecure will enable companies to ease this burden on them and place OneSecure in charge of security. their network.

I decided to build it on providing real value instead of just making money. That worked when we got the client through references, but we didn’t turn a profit in the first two years because we invested all the money we got into the client to improve. improve its technology.

– Edmund How, CEO and Founder of OneSecure

And this investment has finally paid off. Today, the company is trusted by many businesses and consumers alike – protecting them from ever-evolving cyber threats and serving more than 100 companies across Asia.

Amid all the challenges the company faced, Edmund believed in his vision, that he could build a company that provided real value to customers.

We are still focused on providing quality cybersecurity monitoring solutions and I don’t foresee that we will change much. We can explore helping customers build secure cyber infrastructure when we have the right team to do it.

– Edmund How, CEO and Founder of OneSecure

In addition, the company has also continuously pursued partnerships with other companies to add to its suite of services. Their most recent partnership was just three months ago – it partnered with Radware to provide additional protection against DDoS attacks, among others.

Currently, the company has offices in Malaysia and Indonesia, with headquarters in Singapore. With the success the company is enjoying, Edmund has planned the next steps in the company’s regional expansion, this time to Thailand and the Philippines, possibly later this year.

Often, we hear about the success stories of entrepreneurs – about how they invested a small amount of money to reap huge profits. Rarely do we hear the flip side of this success – of sacrifice and perseverance in the face of seemingly endless setbacks and challenges.

However, Edmund’s story reflects this. The story of a Singaporean, turning his back on corporate life, to build something that can create real value for consumers, this is really what an increasingly digital Singapore needs.

Featured image credit: OneSecure Asia

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