By Henry Mortimer, Editor-at-Large
The “law of the instrument” states that, if your only tool is a hammer you tend to treat every problem as if it were a nail.
But Gina Abate, President and CEO of Edwards Performance Solutions, believes that, to solve today’s complex business problems, you need to be more selective about the tools you choose. In fact, she might argue you should think like the nail before swinging.
“The first thing we do is assess what the customer needs,” she says. “We allow those needs to drive what technologies we bring in.”
Abate says her Elkridge, Md.-based firm, which was officially designated Minority Business Enterprise status in February, combines “executive-level expertise” with a “process-improvement approach” to help its customers — a mix of large federal agencies and mid-size commercial entities — achieve their overall mission and goals. Services include strategic planning consulting, training and professional development, and data analysis and management.
“We focus on providing business solutions that drive greater operational performance,” says Abate, who joined the company in 2013, bringing with her more than 25 years of executive, technical, and business management experience. “We work with our customers to enhance their capabilities by finding ways to improve their productivity, profitability and security. And everything that we do centers around that.”
It’s in that last area that Edwards has focused its own productivity improvement efforts recently. Earlier in 2017, the firm acquired Evolved Cyber Solutions, a local provider of cybersecurity risk analysis, adding the founder, Brian Hubbard, as director of the Commercial Strategic Business Unit. The move was a result of some customer-inspired self-reflection.
“About a year and a half ago, as we were doing our [customer] operational performance assessments, we saw that cybersecurity was becoming more and more critical as a business function area,” Abate explains. “It was just a natural merge to bring the cyber concerns in with the performance of the business.”
Although Abate admits cybersecurity isn’t yet the driving force behind her own business, she does see it as “a critical piece” in helping to solve her customers’ challenging business operations puzzles.
“What we do is bring to light the risks,” she says. “You have to understand what your risks are so you can make a decision about which risks are acceptable.”
Edwards believes cybersecurity is a business problem, not purely a technology problem. Edwards helps organizations implement cybersecurity programs, focused on ensuring continued business success in light of evolving cyber threats.
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