- Can you tell us a bit about Ozone Information Technology Distribution?
Ozone Information Technology Distribution is a distribution company that mainly focuses on IT security products and solutions and distribute products to IT services providers. We specialise in solutions that address a wide variety of security challenges for businesses in the South African market and have a soft spot for the small to medium enterprise (SME) when it comes to ensuring they get security solutions that really suit their budgets and security needs.
- What is your role in the company?
I’m the Managing Director, and a shareholder. Currently we have two shareholders in the company.
- When, how and why did you start Ozone?
Ozone originally started as a company selling website hosting and email hosting services to SMEs and IT resellers. At that point, we were only distributing one security software firewall product. After about three years we realised that there was a large market for the distribution of IT security products and we started to focus on IT resellers who could distribute this for us. After two years we completely dropped all our hosting services and only focused on the distribution. We added more vendors and products to our portfolio , but we’re sill focusing on security and network products.
- How do you work with SMEs and what made you focus on this market?
The biggest part of South African businesses fall under the SME umbrella. Part of what our business did as well IT network support, and I came to realise that SME businesses has not taken security as seriously as they should. It is mostly the SME companies that get hacked and infected by ransomware or malware. Our focus is to bring awareness and solutions to IT companies in the SME sector that they can then use to create tailored a managed IT solution for the SMEs.
- What are some of the changes you’re seeing in the market at the moment?
The biggest changes in the market currently are around cloud services and data storage solutions. Companies looking for online systems that gets managed on a subscription based licensing model. This is from internal businesses systems to managed security solutions.
- What are some of the biggest trends you see on the 2020 horizon?
Biggest trends for 2020 will be artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and machine learning.
- What are the technologies that you believe will shape 2020’s SME investment?
SME businesses need to focus on how they can make use of technology and automation to streamline business processes. There will also be an increase in SME security spend as more and more companies recognise the value of security solutions and their necessity. This is particularly in light of growing compliance requirements and concerns around data privacy and customer security.
- What cloud solutions do you believe will dominate in this space for the SME over the next year?
The solutions that are set to lead the way are managed firewall solutions and fully managed data storage solutions. These allow for the SME to outsource the hosting of their data to a service provider that will be responsible for the data security, the backup’s and the privacy protection.
- What are your plans for the next year?
We are going to focus on building awareness around cybersecurity and the risks in the SME space as well as cybersecurity concerns in schools. There are big issues facing our education system when it comes to cybersecurity with challenges such as phishing, sexting and social media to overcome.
- What do you believe is the most important thing every SME owner and entrepreneur should know for 2020?
The one thing that needs to be on top of the list for every SME owner and entrepreneur is to always adapt as the market changes, one cannot do the same thing or keep doing the same thing. Businesses need to make sure they adapt quickly as technology evolves and adapts.