The Digital Marketplace Contenders, 11: Acunetix, London

Jan 21, 2016

In the latest in our series looking at small, promising new entrants to the UK public sector tech supply chain, we meet Chris Martin, General Manager at Web application security specialist Acunetix

Nice to meet you, Chris. So tell us about Acunetix and its value proposition?

High profile cyber-attacks regularly make the headlines, potentially exposing citizens to financial loss and worry, and costing organisations millions. Consequently, Web security is being placed higher on the IT agenda, in both the private and public sectors â?? particularly those with a cloud-first approach. Acunetix was developed over 10 years ago with this threat in mind; we understood that the only way to combat website hacking was to develop an automated tool designed to scan and identify flaws in websites and web apps, enabling an organisation's IT team to fix them, before cyber-criminals can strike.

Interesting. So why did you enter onto G-Cloud/The Digital Marketplace? What do you expect to get out of it?

As cloud computing continues to be widely adopted by the public sector, entering into G-Cloud was an important step in allowing us to engage with organisations across the UK. Acunetix is committed to supporting the public sector's Web application security posture, and recognises how important it is for citizens to feel secure in the knowledge their personal data is safe in the hands of organisations such as schools, local councils, NHS, the Police, Universities and not-for-profit organisations.

With G-Cloud based on openness and transparency, we hope it will help public sector organisations in their decision making, by allowing them to find and compare cloud-based services, such as Acunetix Vulnerability Scanner, tailored to meet their needs. Before being listed on the Marketplace, public sector organisations were not able to buy our services. With greater awareness and accessibility, it should now be easier for us to start conversations with the wider UK public sector, help educate key executives, and enable them to explore our capabilities.

How did you find the process of applying, as a new entrant?

We did it entirely on our own, which can seem daunting! There was quite a lot of legal paperwork to complete. But once we grasped the concept of the framework agreement which allows some flexibility for public sector business units to come up with their own call-off orders, it was plain sailing. Next time round, it will be much easier.

We also learnt a lot from physically attending one of the various free G-Cloud/Digital Framework Supplier Event sessions. These are held in various locations up and down the UK, and offer a chance to speak to the coordinators and organisers as well as showcasing real-time case studies.

Glad to hear it. How have things been working out for you on the Marketplace so far?

We successfully listed with no problems first time round, even with no outside help, which was a big achievement for us. We have just had our marketing plan approved, and now we are starting to market our services and are already engaged with several prospects. However, one must be patient as it takes time for the momentum to get going, so itâ??s realistic to expect slow traction in the beginning.

Thanks for all that. To sum up, then, based on your experience, Chris, do you have any top tips for other suppliers on how to make the most of the G-Cloud opportunity?

Be ready to do lots of reading and ask yourself some hard business questions. It will not fly on its own! G-Cloud success needs focused marketing, since it is a competitive marketplace, with many providers. Once successfully approved, you need to first shout it from the rooftops and then start implementing the targeted marketing plan.

Finally, any other thoughts about what you see as the future for cloud as a delivery mechanism for UK public services?

We certainly would like to see G-Cloud evolve further in order for more enterprises - of any size or market - to be able to offer their services to the public sector. Acunetix is a niche product, offering specialised high technology and there is a wrong perception that access to technology such as ours is costly... Basically, we joined G-Cloud to dispel that - and facilitate access to UK government agencies to a view of what we can do.

Thanks, Chris - and good luck on G-Cloud 7!

To find out more about this G-Cloud-7 Digital Contender, go here

We are looking for other companies entering the Digital Marketplace, and would love to feature your experiences in this new on-going editorial series. Please get in touch with us here to kick start that process.

(c) 2016

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