Woodhead: A vociferous force for good

Simwood Managing Director Simon Woodhead continues to expose the industry’s ‘dirtiest secret’ ...

the hidden facts about poor privacy and protection that he says some service providers prefer to keep to themselves. Meanwhile, the company’s winning formula for secure voice solutions in the finance sector has sparked a wave of growing interest.

Simwood’s secure voice solutions continue to gain appeal in the finance sector with interest greatly boosted by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force in May and the requirement for finance firms to be PCI compliant. “Our strengthening presence in security has prompted a big increase in enquiries about the applications we build and bake into our network for these Goliath financial institutions,” commented Woodhead. “We’ve been quick to respond to GDPR.”

One of Simwood’s prime goals is to combat security threats and tackle privacy issues at their roots – and do so quickly as a vocal force for good. So it’s no surprise that the company’s proactive approach has gained traction in the finance sector where secure voice is especially critical. Notably, Simwood is in the pipeline for 60 per cent of the world’s credit card transactions and its success in providing secure telephony solutions has generated ongoing interest from organisations seeking a watertight response to the threat of voice related fraud. 

“Telephony is a key tool in the fraudster’s arsenal for unrelated crimes such as credit card fraud,” stated Woodhead. “So for the last two years we’ve been doing a lot of work in this space for our financial ultimate end users.”

His mission is to enforce encryption and put a spotlight on the important and gritty issues that, he says, many other service providers prefer to keep in the dark – despite them being entrusted with guarding their customers’ security. Meanwhile, most organisations are oblivious to the risks they face through no fault of their own. “As an industry we’re deceiving the market by allowing misplaced presumptions on privacy and security to persist,” said Woodhead. “The privacy and protection that customers assume they get from ‘me too’ organisations is largely non-existent. With more education, every business in the UK will be outraged about the total absence of protections from most service providers. They’ll be looking for providers that can fix that, backed by carriers that know what they’re doing and care.”

One of the latest examples of Simwood’s good practice in exposing what it believes to be the industry’s dirtiest secret is a new book written by Woodhead himself which spills the beans on the sorry state of privacy and protection in the marketplace and reflects his pioneering work and experience around telephony related fraud. Called ‘Speaking up on Telephony Risks’, the book speaks volumes about Woodhead’s mission to persuade organisations (including service providers and carriers) to care more about encryption and the security risk landscape. 

The work also aims to educate end users about the privacy and security challenges that sit right under their noses, which is why Simwood has sent the book to all UK companies with a turnover of more than £50 million. “We want to expose the risks they face that not all providers share,” added Woodhead. “We’ve built many solutions to assist in identifying where telephony is being misused and would welcome conversations with service providers.”

Because nothing is more dangerous to a network’s integrity than misconceptions about the effectiveness of its privacy and protection Simwood has also made the book available to other interested parties that meet the company’s criteria. Woodhead’s mission to deal only in facts that counter false assumptions is also evident in a new tool developed by the company that overcomes objections from internal approvers such as price-obsessed CFOs who are not familiar with Simwood’s multifaceted and granular charging structure. 

Approvers may unwittingly base their buying decisions on straight price comparisons, missing a trick in the process. “Simwood has never competed on price,” stated Woodhead. “We offer a choice of rate decks that suit all customers and set the rates within them using a consistent model. This is fair, transparent, and reflects how we need to operate at each level.”

Woodhead noted that decision makers who are familiar with Simwood understand its model, along with the variables and upsides including intangible value adds, but recommendations to use Simwood often fall foul of the CFO’s lack of knowledge and insight into the company’s more structured proposition. “We’re often compared on straight price, usually per minute for the top few destinations, with our own values ignored and the absence of stealth charges lost in the detail along with the granularity of our breakouts,” said Woodhead. “Many of these instances are resolved by educating the CFO but we don’t always get the opportunity.”

A tool created by Simwood that rates CDRs from other carriers exposes the advantages of its more thought out method, returning a spreadsheet that shows breakout by breakout what Simwood would have charged for calls across its rate decks, explained Woodhead. “This can give objective data to support any case to move to Simwood, or upgrade service levels, so we can all be dealing with facts,” he added.

Putting facts centre stage is also reflected in Simwood’s expanding conference speaking tour which has entered a new domain of intensity and reinforces its position as an industry activist, campaigner and pioneer on the UK and international stage. The company’s counter-cybercrime plans and VoIP fraud insights were keynoted by Associate Director Ross McKillop at the SOCEX conference in Reading on May 15th. At the same time, Woodhead took his message on network architecture, specifically his AutoPilot technology (which enables a container to self-describe and self-manage, and run the same anywhere) to Kamailio World in Berlin. 

Woodhead then keynoted at CommCon 2018, the UK’s primary open source real-time comms conference on June 25th-29th. Followed by an appearance at ClueCon in Chicago (a developer’s conference hosted by the team behind the FreeSWITCH open-source project) on July 23rd-26th. 

“Simwood has long directed energy at conference appearances and built a reputation as a creative hub of innovation and a vociferous champion of important causes such as combating VoIP fraud and exposing widespread misconceptions around security, privacy and compliance – and how elements of the industry perpetuate those falsities,” stated Woodhead.

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