Like this S’porean transformed his cybersecurity company

Making a living in Singapore can be difficult – many of us face stiff competition for jobs, and again, the rat race never ends.

For many of us, climbing the corporate ladder to earn big bucks and secure a comfortable future for ourselves is a dream. But for the most part, this dream would remain just that: a dream.

Edmund How, founder of OneSecure, however, has left that position not once, but twice, to start his own business.

Today, the company develops its own cybersecurity products and its customers include local telecommunications companies, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and schools.

Putting his family first

Edmund began his career as an Air Force regular, which is a fairly respectable and stable job. After his retirement from active duty, he decided to take on another job that he also paid very well, with a well-known cybersecurity multinational and network provider.

The job came with multiple benefits: opportunities to travel abroad, a hefty salary, and more.

But the price he had to pay was also high.

My family and mental health were relegated to the background due to long working hours and frequent travel meant less time with my family. Working in a multinational means chasing numbers and I couldn’t find other satisfactions besides money. Sometimes, it was a struggle to find the right balance between selling the right products and hitting the numbers.

– Edmund How, CEO and founder of OneSecure

For a man like Edmund who strongly believes in creating value and providing solutions, this was not a job that gave him a sense of accomplishment. Thus, after eight years of service, he resigned from office again and returned to live with his family.

And it turned out that these resignations came at an opportune time.

Edmund recalled that a friend who ran a software company had acquired an exclusive distribution for anti-fraud software and wanted it to manage the distribution. This led to the birth of OneSecure, a subsidiary for software distribution.

The collapse of the Lehman brothers
Lehman Brothers / Image Credit: Getty Images

But it didn’t have to be. Just three months after the company was founded in 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed, marking the beginning of the Great Recession.

OneSecure was dragged down as the economic winds reversed. Within months, Edmund’s investment in his new company was gone – a whopping US $ 100,000 from his personal savings.

With such a large sum of money gone and now with no customers to sell to, Edmund made the difficult decision to have the company go dormant in order to reduce his losses.

During this time, his wife became the sole breadwinner in the family, and Edmund took a back seat and spent time with his newborn daughter.

Returns after three years

While this breakthrough had dented his confidence, it hadn’t dented his passion for building his company.

The three years OneSecure was idle gave Edmund valuable time to consider what his company would need once the economy recovered.

Edmund How at the OneSecure booth
Edmund How at the OneSecure booth, CommunicAsia / Image Credit: OneSecure

During this time, Edmund sought out suppliers to talk to, to gain a better understanding of the industry and the products available on the market and what OneSecure could offer that would enable them to enter the market.

In 2011, Edmund finally brought OneSecure back. With the economy on the mend, OneSecure rode the wave to make up for lost time and Edmund was able to recover the US $ 100,000 he had previously lost.

With the company’s revenues growing an impressive 50-70% each year, investors began to take notice and OneSecure was finally acquired in 2017. However, this investment partnership soon deteriorated.

An investor should have invested and built a team to offer 24-hour cybersecurity monitoring services. A team of 10 was hired at a monthly cost of S $ 100,000, but the investor withdrew from the investment.

Not wanting to influence all the staff, I decided to keep the team until they find a job. Therefore, it has led the company to lose everything we have earned over the years.

– Edmund How, CEO and founder of OneSecure

With the company once again in crisis, Edmund launched everything he had to keep the business afloat. At one point, he even resorted to using his credit card to pay his employees’ salaries.

Eventually, a year later, investors sold him the stock. With full control of the company once again, Edmund decided a change was needed: instead of remaining a cybersecurity software distributor, OneSecure would become a Managed Securities Software Provider.

Forward to the future

global weekly cyberattacks
Cyber ​​Attacks Are On The Rise And The Need For Cybersecurity / Image & Data Credit: Check Point Blog

Building on the awareness that cyber threats would continue to evolve and that companies would find it difficult to keep up with new developments, OneSecure would allow companies to offload this burden and put OneSecure in charge of their cybersecurity.

I decided to build it based on providing real value rather than just making money. This has worked as we have acquired clients through referrals, but we have not made any profits for the first two years as we have invested all the money we have made to clients to improve our technology.

– Edmund How, CEO and founder of OneSecure

And that investment was what ultimately paid off. Today the company enjoys the trust of many businesses and consumers, protecting them from ever-changing cyber threats and serves over 100 companies across Asia.

Throughout all the challenges the company faced, Edmund believed in his vision of being able to build a company that provides real value to customers.

We have remained focused on providing quality cybersecurity monitoring solutions, and I don’t anticipate that we will change much. We could explore the idea of ​​helping customers build a secure IT infrastructure when we have the right team to do so.

– Edmund How, CEO and founder of OneSecure

In addition, the company has also consistently pursued partnerships with other companies in order to expand its suite of services. Their most recent partnership was just three months ago – they partnered with Radware to offer additional protection against DDoS attacks, among others.

Currently, the company has offices in Malaysia and Indonesia, headquartered in Singapore. With the success the company is experiencing, Edmund is already planning the next steps of the company’s regional expansion, this time in Thailand and the Philippines, which could take place later this year.

We often hear of entrepreneurs’ success stories, of how they invested a small amount to get huge returns. We rarely hear the flip side of this success: sacrifice and perseverance in the face of seemingly endless failures and challenges.

Yet Edmund’s story reflects just that. The story of a Singaporean, who turns his back on corporate life, to build something that can create real value for consumers, something an increasingly digitized Singapore needs.

Featured image credit: OneSecure Asia