A great company builds around a cornerstone of real, observable core values. These principles guide an organization and are responsible for team members’ behavior that leads to execution. As a result, all other functions of the organization will then be positioned in accordance with the cornerstone. Our core values represent our identity, and what is important as it permeates the mindset of every decision within the company.
A few commonly asked questions that speak to Lowell’s beliefs and vision for creating his company:
1. What was your inspiration for launching a business?
Back in the late 80s, I was reading about mainframes and these much smaller devices called computers. Inspired and intrigued by the concept of technology, it was around that time that I knew computers would become important someday, and I knew that I would be part of the discovery, development, and innovation of technology.
After a decade of working in the IT industry, I became disenchanted with the business practices of the company where our motives and values did not align. Through repeated exposure to the leadership and operations of other companies, I had the opportunity to observe more ethical and more efficient methods of conducting business. Doing the right thing meant leaving, which led me to start my first IT company in 2004.
Throughout the now 20+ years advising clients on cybersecurity and technology, I continued to see businesses struggle with disruption events, such as data loss, ransomware, and system downtime. If those financial consequences were not enough, the general lack of verified trust of service providers – who have sold needless products – led to regularly missed commitments and theft from the businesses they are paid to serve.
The lack of strategy to focus on essential priorities creates a lot of confusion for leadership teams, so time and money is misallocated. The lack of oversight means limited accountability and diminished results for the time and money invested. Over time, I began to notice a trend among manufacturers across multiple states. This became a problem in my mind that needed to be solved.
I also realized there was a desire for honest conversations and guidance, but a separation of roles between IT and security would be required to be effective. I struggled with the thought of only focusing on cyber security, as the fear of failure was limiting my ability to change. What aspects of the IT business would we be saying ‘no’? What relationships would need to change for this to be effective? How do I say ‘No’ to say ‘Yes?’
While working with an executive leadership group for entrepreneurs, I reached a moment of clarity. My vision for the future was evident and powerful enough to provide confidence that overrode my fear of failure. This exhilarating moment inspired me to proclaim that we will protect manufacturers who are highly vulnerable to exploitation. Worse yet, many of these businesses do not have in-house expertise, and they are using IT service providers that masquerade as security professionals. This explains why so many manufacturers experience business disruption from ransomware attacks, data breaches, and other forms of cybercrime. Certitude Security® was born out of both a necessity and a devotion to protecting American manufacturing.
My vision for the future is to protect U.S. manufacturers from injustice, safeguard the livelihood of business owners, workers, their families, and help shield our nation’s economy from criminal enterprises and nation-states who want to harm us. This mission is a constant source of inspiration for every member of our team and helps guide everything we do for our clients and the manufacturing industry as a whole.
2. What do you believe is foundational at your company, and what makes you so passionate?
I believe that you are only as good as your word, that actions speak louder than words, and how you do anything is how you do everything. I believe in the Lord and the giver of life. I believe that a habit must be established before it can be improved. I also believe that every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.
The core values of our company are an outward manifestation of my belief system, and determine how we go about finding engaged team members to execute our mission. I genuinely value an open mindset with our team members that consider others first, and who have a constant curiosity to learn more about the specific needs of our clients to be more effective at helping them protect their livelihood.
I believe that our liberties and freedom are earned through the sacrifices of selfless men and women who wish to serve a greater purpose in the United States Armed Forces. I respect our veterans and feel grateful for their call of duty to serve, persevere, and protect our great nation. For those who have served, I appreciate you!
I also believe it’s imperative to understand the value and importance that American-owned and operated businesses offer, not just to the nation, but also to local communities and families across the United States that rely on their goods every day. By protecting manufacturing companies across the United States, I feel that we are doing our part to serve a greater purpose. We are dedicated to helping the U.S. take back its place as the world leader in manufacturing innovation, while also supporting and protecting the men and women who can make this dream a reality through innovation and intellectual property.
3. What did you envision about your team?
Before Certitude Security® was officially established, I spent a good deal of time thinking about the talents, mindset, and experiences that would help us achieve our mission. It was clear that intelligence, discipline, and accountability were all important traits, but finding the right people had been a real challenge.
Frustrations experienced during prior years in business continued to provide motivation to solve this people puzzle. After experiencing hits and misses over the years, I finally realized through executive education that not having a clearly defined, documented, and understood set of core values in the business was the disconnect. This was another light bulb moment. If hiring did not align with our core values, all the technical skills and cybersecurity expertise in the world wouldn’t matter.
What followed was a period of introspection that helped me realize that many former military members embody our core values and the spirit of giving back. Having grown up in a military household, I developed a profound respect for our country and the principles it was founded on.
I also realized that well-rounded people were happier and often felt more fulfilled. Achieving a greater purpose in life is not restricted to business. Each of us has other facets in life that also require time and attention, such as family, spirituality, friends, fitness, personal development, and income. Being more balanced means intentionally developing all facets of your life. The goal is to focus on passion, skill, and execution into developing inspired team members who protect manufacturers from injustice.
4. What makes your team different from other technology companies?
I believe that generalists serve a purpose for many things in life. When the problems needing to be solved are consistent, the generalist acquires knowledge to address a broad understanding of many topics. However, when the circumstances causing problems to change rapidly or the problems themselves are complex, the generalist quickly falls behind in various subject matters. Being focused on many subject areas simply does not permit the time to develop in-depth expertise in each area of understanding.
Our everyday lives are filled with these examples. We visit our primary care physician when ill, but see a specialist when our illness requires more in-depth testing and expertise. This dynamic also applies to cybersecurity. Many IT professionals do a great job in the roles they serve, but simply do not have the time to become the specialist necessary to advise their organization on cyber risk.
We enjoy serving as the specialist role to help manufacturers but do so by partnering with the leadership team and IT staff to execute on the co-developed strategy. Since we are not an MSP, we are not attempting to take over the roles owned by the internal IT team. The one distinction is that we can provide oversight for the work being contracted by your MSP. If you want to increase the performance of your MSP, then consistently documented visibility by a third-party is extremely effective. Why you might ask? It drives accountability.
5. Why is the manufacturing industry so important to you?
Creativity, research, development, and the manufacture of quality products is what we do in the United States. We create goods that are needed and desired by people around the world. Having had the opportunity to work with businesses across many industries, I’ve come to believe that U.S. manufacturing is one of the most important facets of our nation’s economy. I’m constantly amazed by the work ethic of American entrepreneurs, leadership teams, and factory workers, and believe that these professionals embody the true spirit and values of our great nation.
My goal is to continue protecting U.S. manufacturers from injustice, safeguard the livelihood of workers and their families, and help shield our nation’s economy from criminal enterprises and nation-states who want to do us harm.
We work directly with leadership and technical teams throughout supply chains in the United States. We develop strategies and action plans to avoid business disruption and financial losses caused by cyber-threat exposure to criminal enterprises and nation-states.