Thursday, January 9, 2020

“You’ve grown so much!” – atsec’s 20th Birthday

by Andreas Fabis

During my almost 20 years with the company (first as a freelancer, then as an employee) I have seen atsec grow from a small, determined group of IT professionals in a crammed room full of computers into an international company with a well-earned, excellent reputation in the IT security world.

Growing from the first baby steps to corporate adulthood comes with challenges, set-backs and opportunities to learn. I would like to share the personal lessons that have stuck with me during my time with atsec.
The atsec website from 2000-2020
1. Value your colleagues
This is maybe my biggest take-away: foster an environment where colleagues value, respect and help each other. The lack of silo mentality and the willingness to support each other makes working at atsec such a great experience. Of course, you are expected to find your own answers, but knowing that your colleagues will have your back is wonderful.

2. Value your customers
I often have the pleasure of taking the first call with a new customer. Sometimes they have little to no knowledge about the complex technical and regulatory challenges that come with a validation project. I think it pays off to take the time to explain the process and answer "dumb" questions. And I have witnessed the length we go to as a company to not just get the rubber stamp for a report, but to help the customer make their products and processes better beyond the scope of a particular project.

3. Embrace change
Our company’s work is closely tied to international standards and government bodies. Changes to standards can’t be avoided. New regulations and laws are passed, and validation bodies’ processes are updated. I learned first-hand that the way forward is for the company to change as well. Instead of trying to keep things the way they were, we adapt and work with government bodies and international communities and give our input to help shape the new way. You can’t swim against a river for long, but you can decide which shore you want to land on.

4. Stay focused
This is one of atsec’s founding principles and a lesson I learned early on. Stay focused on your core competencies and expertise - in this case IT security - even when you receive tempting offers to extend your business.

5. Grow slowly
I am generally an impatient person, so I was impressed by the patience and care atsec takes when it comes to investigating new business areas and new locations for additional offices. I learned that it pays off to be fast and agile when it comes to the daily business, but careful when it comes to company growth.

6. Be the change you want to see in the world
This lesson is good for your personal life as well. I enjoy seeing atsec do things instead of waiting for someone else to do them. From the first Common Criteria Linux evaluation to starting the International Cryptographic Module Conference: atsec often takes the step (and the risk) of trying something new or doing the thing that needs to be done.

Happy Birthday atsec!
Here's to the next 20 years (at least)!

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