Husband-wife Duo Navigates LGMS' Digital Frontier

The Malaysian Reserve ·  Mar 31 17:58

AS THE digital realm becomes increasingly intertwined with our daily lives, the importance of cyber security has never been more pronounced.

At the heart of this digital defence landscape is LGMS Bhd, a cyber security entity led by the dynamic husband-wife duo of CEO Fong Choong Fook and ED Goh Soon Sei.

The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) caught up with the couple helming the cyber security penetration testing firm which gained ACE Market listing in June 2022. Then, LGMS said it was the first listed cyber security services company in Malaysia.

Balancing 2 Worlds

So, how does the couple operate at work? Fong said they specialise in different areas within the company.

They share similar passions. Fong has a cyber security background while Goh is armed with a computer science background.

"She plays a big part in helping the company's operation. At the moment, she's leading the compliance team and I'm leading the business team. Both of us have distinctive roles in the company," he said.

While both are active and hands-on in the company, he could not help to admit that their version of a mixture of personal and professional lives might be boring for some people because their conversations revolve around LGMS for the most part.

"Sometimes we cannot help it because we do almost all things together; we talk about it at the office, and then we bring the conversation back to our home," he said.

The good part of it is that they are able to make fast judgments when the company requires some decision-making.

"It becomes very fast because all of us are very in sync in terms of our thinking and our thought process," said Fong.

Noting the fact that they have been doing this for almost 20 years, it goes without saying that they both deeply care about LGMS.

"The company is like our baby and we are so passionate about building the business together," he added.

Met separately, Goh said clear distinction between their roles at the office helps them to avoid mixing personal and professional matters during work hours.

"His responsibilities and my responsibilities are different. When we go to the office, our affairs do not mix together. But we are just like other normal couples when we are at home," she said.

However, she acknowledged that discussions about work naturally spills into their home life.

"I don't think it's a bad thing because we have each other — we discuss together because we are in the same field," she said.

Goh said the benefits of working together include the ability to understand each other's challenges and provide support. The couple maintains open communication, leveraging their shared passion for the industry to motivate and encourage one another.

"I believe that's a positive development because it fosters mutual understanding and support. We are there for each other, regardless of the challenges we face," she said.

Expansion, Strategic Partnerships

LGMS is charting a course for global expansion, with a focus on business partnerships rather than seeking foreign investment.

One key partnership involves Mitsui & Co Ltd of Japan. The Japanese conglomerate's initial interest in cyber security operations has seen it offering LGMS access to Mitsui's global network and diverse industries.

In April 2023, Mitsui emerged as a substantial shareholder in LGMS, holding a 25% stake in the company after acquiring 23% from co-founders Fong and Goh. Stock exchange filings indicated that the couple divested 104.88 million shares worth RM115.37 million pursuant to a sale and purchase agreement with Mitsui.

"We wanted to explore what the possibilities were and how we could tap into Mitsui's network. It has footprints in different parts of the world," he noted.

The partnership with Mitsui has already yielded positive results, providing LGMS with greater exposure, access to new customers and opportunities for business expansion beyond Malaysia.

"So, we will be tapping into its network. At the same time, it will benefit from our security work costs from here in Malaysia," he said.

The collaboration is instrumental in LGMS' plans to establish a presence in Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam.

"We are currently expanding the base of our business presence by offering our services from Malaysia to other countries, particularly the South Asian region. For example, the largest banks in Cambodia are using our services," he said.

Challenges, Opportunities in Cyber Security

Fong sees booming demand in the security industry and emphasised the need for LGMS to ramp up its workforce to meet inquiries and expand its business effectively.

LGMS has its eyes on securing small and medium enterprises (SMEs). On this front, Fong said there is a misconception that smaller enterprises are immune to cyber threats by pointing out the presence of spam emails and suspicious WhatsApp links.

"The unfortunate thing is that SMEs may not realise how important cyber security is until they get hacked," he said.

LGMS sees an opportunity to provide affordable and accessible cyber security solutions for SMEs, ensuring they can protect their businesses effectively.

For the financial year ended Dec 31, 2023 (FY23), LGMS posted a net profit of RM11.22 million on a turnover of RM34.23 million. A substantial portion of its revenue came from cyber risk prevention, with Malaysia still providing a bulk of the business.

Innovative Solutions

Aside from expanding its geographical footprint, LGMS is also diversifying its service offerings by providing affordable cyber security solutions for SMEs.

Fong said the company has shifted towards developing proprietary software and tools, pointing towards the recent launch of StarSentry, a hardware solution designed for SMEs facing increasing cyber security threats.

The plug-and-play device conducts regular health checks on a network, providing SMEs with insights into potential vulnerabilities and enhancing their overall cyber security.

"It will do a scan similar to health checks for your connections and devices; if you do a scan, you will find out what are the devices inside the network, and then it will do a health check on all these devices," he said.

The device could also notify the user about a weak password on the WiFi router or a long-standing loophole in the server's security that hasn't been addressed, thereby enhancing protection.

Local Framework

On the local front, Fong has some concerns with Malaysia's cyber security approach, noting a lack of a cohesive framework and an outdated relationship- based model in government dealings.

"Without a formal framework, I think the Malaysian government will still constantly be firefighting when it comes to cyber security prevention and cyber security defence," he said.

LGMS is still struggling to secure government projects in Malaysia.

"Not because we are not qualified. It's because the Malaysian government is still running an old-fashioned relationship model," he said.

The above content is for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute any investment advice related to Futu. Although we strive to ensure the truthfulness, accuracy, and originality of all such content, we cannot guarantee it.
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