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Australian MSSP Enablis recently announced that it had appointed Leonard Kleinman as its new CISO, as a strategic move to strengthen the company’s managed services and consultancy practices.

Kleinman is a veteran of more than 30 years in cyber security, with roles including Adjunct Professor, Deakin University, the ACT Branch Executive at the Australian Information Security Association (AISA), and the Field CTO – Cortex for Palo Alto Networks APAC and Japan. With this experience and history, he is well-positioned to assist Enablis in shaping the business around the changing dynamics of cyber security across Australia, as well as the severe challenges that organisations are going to call on their partners to find solutions to.

Kleinman’s drive behind joining Enablis and his goals

Kleinman’s experience is not limited to the channel, and indeed, he’s spent much more time outside of it than within. He said that this would be a new challenge for him, and this was in many ways the appeal of it. “I wanted something that gave some areas of comfort along with some areas that would stretch me, and make me grow,” he said in an interview with Channel Insider. 

“Additionally, I wanted a role where I could engage and genuinely help, make a difference to people, customers, and organisations, and effectively use the knowledge and experience I’ve built up over the years.”

One thing that Kleinman had noticed in recent years was an undeserving of the “mid-enterprise” space, which counts for a significant amount of the Australian economy, but tends to be overlooked for cybersecurity. Kleinman said that the ideal way to address this gap was through the channel, and Enablis was an ideal way to support this sector.

“This sector not only employs a significant majority of the workforce but also has many new, incredibly innovative and creative businesses and technologies, including potentially whole new industries and vocations for the future of Australia,” he said.

Immediate goals and long-term vision

The CISO role within Enablis was newly created for Kleinman, as the company pivots to respond to the white-hot demand for cyber security solutions across the channel. His initial priorities, after taking some time to understand the Enablis business strategy and operational focus, will be to immediately start helping customers address their skills shortages.

“I have been saying for the last year that cyber security and digital risk are a clear and present regulatory, reputational, financial and equity risk to all organisations and this risk is not going away,” Kleinman said. “Coupled with the fact that we are in a significant talent shortage (a lack of internal talent is itself a major risk), most organisations need help and assistance.

“Firstly, they need help in being aware of such risk, and then understanding the potential impact of such risk being realised. Engaging with MSSPs like Enablis, which has specialised expertise in IT services and cybersecurity, is now vital.

“Enablis has the knowledge and expertise to have discussions on the right investments in the right areas, translating a cyberattack or compromise to financial or reputational risk, and developing a plan to prevent and respond, that is reflective of the current operational environment.”

Important differentiators for partners

Enablis isn’t the first MSP to look to scale its cybersecurity credentials in recent months. Channel organisations across all sectors and specialities have been making acquisitions, building new solutions, and pivoting their businesses to make security a focus.

What will distinguish those that are successful at it, Kleinman said, are the ones that focus on using cyber security to unlock business value.

“I see the biggest differentiator coming from acting and behaving with integrity, honesty, and credibility,” he said.

“This means adopting a fearless and frank (yes, my public service background is coming through) approach in all engagements ensuring that clients are squarely the centre of our attention while providing ‘fit for purpose’ solutions.

“The cybersecurity industry is small, and reputations carry a long way.”

Kleinman believes that now is the time for the channel to be bold and demonstrate thought leadership when engaging with customers in cyber security.

“We need ambitious goals if we are to have any chance of maintaining our society as we know it,” he said.

“I’m extremely encouraged by the initiatives set by our leaders. The awareness of the role cybersecurity plays is clear to them, and we are starting out from a strong footing, with good investments in each of the six shields of our strategy.

“The channel therefore has the opportunity to provide a critical function for our economic prosperity, our national security and our daily lives by enabling a safe, resilient and secure cyberspace.”