“Our systems are very strong. We cannot have been hacked. You are just alarmists. On your bullet number five: that you were able to capture all our passwords, including of the super administrator? That is not possible.” Such is the typical conversation in Uganda during the end of cyber security testing exit meeting with the client. It does not matter that we usually demonstrate the weaknesses found to the IT team. During the exit meeting presentation, IT staff will always deny even the smoking gun or plain view evidence. Many a time, we pull out the laptop and re-demonstrate the exploits again. The fact is, with technology, there is no system that is 100% safe. That is why even Microsoft keeps providing system updates to respond to vulnerabilities that keep coming up now and again.
If you have travelled to Hong Kong or Singapore, you know about first impressions. The fathers of modern Singapore explained that, to interest tourists to the country, they had to invest a fortune in improving the airport checking process by making it very attractive, and swift as possible. Next was working on the road from the Airport to the city. They made it so beautiful that a first-time visitor would never forget it. Third was organizing the city such that at any contact point, locals were business savvy and welcoming that anyone would like to set up business there. Kigali is moving in the same direction and at a fast pace. Despite the challenges, the city is slowly transforming into a neat city. The people’s mindset is different. They are focused on moving ahead.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened,” Mathew 7: 7 – 8
As part of our business strategy, we decided to just send proposals to some banks in the region to grow. We sent proposals to Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. At Summit Consulting Ltd, a company that I lead, we are guided by Bible. When it comes to marketing, Mathew 7: 7-8 is our guide: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened”. And after four months of sending proposals to specific target institutions and knocking, Kigali came calling. We got a bank inviting us to conduct a penetration testing services to meet the requirements of the regulator. We have also got requests from an Ethiopian bank, but are yet to close the deal. We are positive it will happen.
On Sunday, we travelled southern here to Kigali. After five days on intensive work, we finally had the results and ready to present. Time check 23rd Feb 2018 at 5:30pm Kigali time. The managing director is 39 years old. The CFO is 35. And the head of IT is 26! These are the bank’s top management team we presented to. The MD’s opening remarks were few: “Thanks for the report. We read it point by point. Our IT team say, that the findings are true. Now we are in your support. We want value addition. So, where would you advise us to start making fixes?”
This came as a surprise. I had prepared for a counter argument meeting like we usually have in Kampala. To prove our findings. However, no one was interested in dwelling on the bad side. They were focused on improving. How do we fix. Where do we start? When can you come back to check whether our fixes are adequate.
During this lent period, I want you to change your mindset to focus on improving. Don’t try to achieve so much in a short time. Focus on achieving few but do it often. That is the secret to growth. Change small but often. And whatever you do, knocking on doors of people you think may need your services or skills is the most critical thing for your career and business success. May God give you the wisdom to understand the Bible and be guided by it. May you get the confidence to get out of your comfort zone and know on the door of the Church. Knock on the door of your prospective employer. Knock on the door to your wife to be. Keep knocking. Doors do indeed open when you keep knocking.
Wish you successful lent period.