Francisco Fernandez may not be a familiar name to you, or anyone else for that matter. However, tens of millions of us rely on him to look after our money. A unassuming 53 year old, who likes to play the piano, is responsible for the security of £3.2tn of bank deposits around the world.
Mr Fernandez is the founder and boss of Avaloq, a company that is as little known as he is. The Swiss business and its 2500 employees are one of the world’s largest providers of banking software and its systems are used by more than 450 banks around the world, including in the UK, Barclays, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Adding to that other users consist of Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale, UBS and Nomura.
As expected, Avaloq takes security very seriously, especially in protecting banks from cyber-attacks. To kelp make its software as secure as possible, they take a rather novel approach, paying technology firms in Israel to attack it! With a number of hi-tech Israeli companies at the forefront of protecting against hacking, Avaloq uses them to test its defences.
Mr Fernandez says: “The Israelis are very, very good, they [the young tech workers] are coming out of active military service, and they are brilliant. We regularly appoint them to attack our systems in a controlled way, and then with their help we try to make our systems bullet proof. We do our homework, security is a constant thing… we get thousands of attacks per year but so far, touch wood, we have never had an intrusion into our systems.”
You learn something new every day!