98 Left to right: Oli Barrett, Ian Merricks, Dave Waterson, Hardeep Singh Kohli

Dave Waterson, of SentryBay, Cyber Security winner at the Great British Technology Awards has come up with a cunning way to fight the war against viruses and malware.

“Antivirus software uses a reactive model,” says Dave Waterson. “You need the virus before you can create a fix.” And that was the problem. “We thought, there has to be a better way.”

Dave is a curious mix of New Zealander, who spent many years living in South Africa, giving him an accent that he defies anyone who does not know his background to identify. He says that ten years ago, antivirus software was tackling 60 to 70% of malware, but now it is five per cent or less. “

His big idea, the idea that defines SentryBay, is to look at the problem from a different angle. “Rather than protect the device, you protect the data,” he says.

SentryBay invented technology so that as soon as a user presses a key, the character that the user selects is secured. “So, the computer can be riddled with viruses,” Dave told me, “but a key logger cannot pick up any data,” and that’s a new way of looking at things. He said: “You won’t know you are infected because you can’t see it”, it’s like having a disease that does not affect you.

To put it another way: The technology does not need to identify malware to be effective, it protects data entry at all times.He said that, SentryBay is also developing wrapping technology to secure apps that are not that secure. Others projects include methods for tackling ransomware, and to detect a malicious encryption. And the company is working on an Internet of Things fix.

It’s incredible tech, so incredible in fact that SentryBay has a client list that is the envy of the industry – the likes of Geico, AOL, and Sony, for example. Plus, some other, truly impressive clients, which ah hum, he is not allowed to name.

These days the company is headquartered in London, it has three patents, eight products, and five million serviced customers. Not bad for a company founded in 2002, with next to no backing. The company was launched in New Zealand.

Dave says that SentryBay was largely self-financed, but New Zealand is a small country and you have to learn to do everything. Dave and his team learnt very early on how to improvise.

It’s big bucks. “The Industry is worth $122 billion, but expected to grow to $221 billion by 2021,” Dave says.

You can tell a lot about an entrepreneur by asking him or her which entrepreneur they most look up to. In the case of Dave Waterson he didn’t even have to think: “Elon Musk, because he is so different to anyone else, he has courage.”

There is a man who wants to change the world,” he said.

And maybe that is the key. Wanting to change the world. Dave says that the staff retention at SentryBay is very high, he says very few staff have left the company because they buy into the idea of wanting to make an impact on the world.