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An interview by Pedro Caetano of Vesuvio Labs, with Ed Ventham of Paragon Prime the cyber and technology arm of Paragon. Ed and Pedro discussed the relative advantages of working remotely, at home or when mobile.
Ed focusses on cyber, emerging risks and FinTech insurance within Paragon, a brokerage firm based in London offering a range of executive insurance lines for all types of businesses — start-ups to established businesses, minnows to monsters!. As their website proclaims “Born in 2010, our cyber team has been working on complex (and straightforward) placements for many years. Our claims handling team is in-house and has managed more than 650 cyber notifications.”
Wisely, Ed took the opportunity to join his family in their countryside home until the current restrictions are safely lifted. But Ed’s working routines remain quite stable, “I wake up around 6 am and focus on the majority of my key tasks in these early hours” says Ed. He adds “by 11 am have already put in about 5 hours work, pretty much non-stop even if it’s from home”. Obviously, WFH isn’t always perfect for him particularly with a different generation of the family around — especially when there is an important call on hand and a slow internet gets even slower. Still, Ed says, “I’m used to working whilst travelling out and about, VPNs and Video conferencing meetings are common practices for me and across Paragon as well of course”.
Despite the Coronavirus outbreak, as always, Ed takes a very pragmatic and positive view, saying “Life has to go on and it’s important to take a flexible and affirmative approach tailored to the outlook and needs of the individuals and the businesses with whom you are dealing”.
Ed explains, “the current outbreak has, however, created an increase for a completely different sort of public threat, cyber risk, cyber-attacks targeting individuals and businesses alike are now on the rise due to sudden and unforeseen work environments thrust upon us all”. Working from home creates opportunities for cybercriminals and an abundance of access points and individuals work outside of the fortresses of their secure and protected office environments. It has never been more important to remain diligent, focussed and aware about one’s own cyber hygiene.
Every business has cyber risks; Paragon Brokers is committed to working with businesses who are interested in looking for both the right protection and the best coverage. Paragon Prime is the digital platform of Paragon Brokers cyber team, providing a real-time threat analysis report and a quick quote tool which provides an insight to the cost of cover based on their Paragon Prime insurance policy — this also includes an agile incident and response team that specialises in post-breach support.
I asked Ed if it was normally necessary to have a full team of staff based in London? Is that on balance a productive way of working? In his opinion WFH is more readily embraced by newer businesses, but established or more traditional businesses are finding that they are having to move to a more agile way of working, to accommodate a moving trend towards flexibility, “there isn’t the need to be tied to a desk in the city from 9–5 every day of the week anymore. Technology allows us to realistically work from anywhere — this is what we’re doing right now, perfectly well”.
“Coronavirus work conditions for office workers has demonstrated that flexible WFH can certainly be effective and that those who are productive and organised by nature should be as close to business as normal as is possible. Ed goes on to speculate that “it may well be that those who procrastinate at home, might be equally unproductive in the office.”
Ed does recognise that exclusive WFH has its downsides, in particular the problems faced by an organisation trying to create and maintain a particular culture, a certain amount of creativity is lost by removing the face-to-face contact we all enjoyed before. “Some direct personal contact with colleagues and senior staff is essential not only for this culture but to maintain morale, consistent ethics and shared values which are essential ingredients of success here at Paragon”, Ed affirms.
So, on balance, if WFH is achievable and desirable, for a new or established business, applications like Zoom, Microsoft teams etc are a great development. But can never be a permanent substitute for personal contact and communication. The working relationships face to face with colleagues and the additional information we absorb doing so, remain necessary.
Ed concludes “at Paragon, in the office or when working from home, our clients businesses can always be sure of having an expert, specialist team on their sides. A commitment to service excellence and the assurance that this brings to them when facing an increasingly challenging cyber environment”.
Paragon & Paragon Prime are a trading name for the market-leading Paragon International Insurance Brokers Ltd. Paragon Prime is the cybersecurity and technology arm of Paragon.
Founded in 1996, Paragon has grown into a major international insurance broker with offices in London and Bermuda. With a broader and independent platform, the company continues to build for the future from a position of strength.
This article was written by Pedro Caetano and Graham Ripley of Vesuvio Labs and edited by the Paragon.
Vesuvio Labs is a Venture builder based in London for the Insurance and Finance sector, helping entrepreneurs by accelerating the process of turning their ideas into scalable products through our flexible, low-code software architecture.
In addition, we can connect entrepreneurs with investors, tax & legal advisors and to the wider tech ecosystem.