The 10 Most Influential Women In Tech 2019

Kiran Bhagotra: A Determined Founder, Making How We Buy Cybersecurity Customer-Friendly By Building Trust

Kiran Bhagotra

The present cybersecurity market is complex, changing and over-filled with thousands of vendors, which makes it challenging for businesses, particularly small & medium businesses (SMBs) to decide the appropriate solution for their companies. Many customers end up confused & with security solutions that are not essential for their business needs. The rising competition between vendors has also made the customer-centric approach more important. To fulfill this essential security gap, the Founder, CEO and President of ProtectBox, Kiran Bhagotra left her UK government role and established a simple, quick and affordable cyber comparison website & marketplace for SMBs & suppliers globally.

A Journey from a Cabinet Job to Establishing ProtectBox

Having worked in completely different industries, Kiran never imagined herself as a cybersecurity entrepreneur. But, the highly curious Kiran fell in love with cybersecurity when she was contracting for the UK government’s Cabinet Office & Foreign & Commonwealth Office managing international cyber relations. Two years ago, she moved forward with her passion and founded ProtectBox. In today’s “customer is king” market, UK & US-based ProtectBox is successfully helping choice-rich buyers to find the right fit cybersecurity solutions for them.

At ProtectBox, Kiran and her team are not driven by the profit-centric approach alone but more so by the experience-centric approach that includes working with partners (government and corporates) and suppliers who understand and care about the requirements of ProtectBox customers. In short, building trust with their customers. Despite not coming from a coding background, Kiran is successfully leading the company and with her extraordinary efforts has enabled it to win various awards and recognition like Corporate LiveWire’s Cybersecurity Comparison Site of the Year 2019 Award, Security & Fire Excellence Awards, 2018’s Cybersecurity Project of the Year, Wired Security 2017’s Start-Up Award. Likewise, ProtectBox came 2nd for HRH Duke of York/Prince Andrew’s Pitch@Palace 9.0 People’s Choice Award & been a finalist in 25+ other Awards.

Defeating Severe Challenges with Courage, Communication and Clan

The awards and recognition are the result of dedication and efforts by Kiran and her team at ProtectBox. When asked about experiences and challenges she faced while leading ProtectBox, Kiran said, “Sadly, just like many of our SMB customers, I have experienced the same challenges they do whilst setting up ProtectBox. I have paid for nearly all ProtectBox’s build by myself, as marketplaces do not get investment until they are scaled. We have been let down by technical people for not delivering what they promised & have had to run lean to make up for the extra costs whilst building replacements. The encouragement of loved ones & asking for help, not to mention my faith that ProtectBox needs to be done for the sake of others, has got us through.” Often the dynamic CEO must switch from CEO, CTO, and other positions to get the job done. However, Kiran successfully combats such changes and challenges with her confidence and emotional intelligence. Likewise, she believes in courage, communication, and clan: courage to accept her fears, communicating to deliver the message concisely and finally, clan means surrounding oneself with the right and inspiring people that include customers, investors and stakeholders.

Eliminating the Lengthy and Costly Cybersecurity Selection Process with ProtectBox

Today, most SMBs often waste thousands of pounds on consultants to decide & buy for them, cybersecurity solutions that cost an additional hundreds or thousands of pounds. Likewise, if SMBs decide to purchase on their own, they need to go through numerous terminologies or jargon, which is not affordable as it consumes both time and money. Commenting on this difficult situation, Kiran asserts, “How much easier would it be to go online & in one hour, fill out a simple questionnaire with customer services on hand, get 6 comparisons of technology, training & processes that can be personalized using filters & sliders before buying with a single click. With lots of ways to pay, including instant credit & government grants/subsidies.”

ProtectBox does this. It is a cybersecurity comparison website & marketplace that automates the purchasing of cybersecurity products (technology, people, and processes) to be quick, simple and affordable for SMBs globally. Kiran and her expert team have also created an answer for complicated jargon. Info icons are available on each question to explain the jargon & customers can delegate questions to their teams, inside or outside the company. All these activities can be seamlessly managed through the customer’s account.

A Strategy to Expand Worldwide

In the coming month, Kiran and her team plan to launch ProtectBox as an internationally successful product, which will help businesses across the world. Additionally, the product can be sold/joint-marketed as an all-in-one cyber add-on by accountants, telecoms, banks, lawyers, consultants or any data-related service provider to SMBs. Likewise, governments can extend the capabilities of their marketplaces by integrating with ProtectBox’s platform and ProtectBox’s all-in-one bundles can be part-funded through government grant schemes. These various benefits have attracted large players to partner with ProtectBox. Already, the company has signed 4 partners with another 10 partners in the pipeline globally.

They have been selected for a public vote to pitch (for funds) at London Tech Week. Please do vote for ProtectBox at https://get.knect365.com/ltw-startup-elevate-pitch-win/  by 17 May 12pm UK time. Do also follow them (@ProtectBoxLtd on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn) & ask others to do so too.

“People will help you because they believe in you..,” says Kiran

Finally, Kiran shares her best bit of business advice, which she got from her late father—“If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. She explains further, that she has come to understand the kindness of strangers & one should never be scared to ask for help. According to her, people will help because they believe in you, or believe in your cause and efforts. In her daily emails, the founder receives praises saying—“We so desperately need a capability like ProtectBox in cybersecurity so please stick at it, we can see how hard it must be but don’t give up, keep up the good work”. Such trust of people in Kiran and her team is inspiring and keeps them moving forward no matter what the challenges are.