Thu | Jul 18, 2024

Data protection law brings lucrative opportunity for tTech

Published:Sunday | June 16, 2024 | 12:09 AM
Norman Chen, CEO of tTech Limited, speaks at the annual general meeting on Thursday, June 13, 2024, at Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston.
Norman Chen, CEO of tTech Limited, speaks at the annual general meeting on Thursday, June 13, 2024, at Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston.

Provider of managed technology services tTech Limited says the introduction of the Data Protection Act, DPA, provides an opportunity to earn from assisting companies of all sizes in preventing security breaches and becoming compliant with the law.

Cyber defences are imperative for companies, which need to protect themselves from security incidents that can prove costly, CEO Norman Chen indicated.

“Persons ask about cost, but I put it the other way: What is the cost to your company of not doing anything and having a security incident or security breach?” said Chen, speaking with the Financial Gleaner after the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday.

For companies seeking to become compliant with the law, tTech has been providing the services needed even before the advent of the DPA.

“It definitely is an opportunity for the company, and for many years ,tTech has led the charge, holding seminars on the Data Protection Act so that companies understand what it means for them and what they need to do,” he said.

The DPA seeks to safeguard the privacy of individuals by securing certain classes of personal data in the hands of public and private entities, categorised as data controllers.

Chen said other countries have much more robust regulations on the use of data on how it should be managed.

He said the potential market for managed IT services remains untapped, and the threat of security breaches continues.

“The question isn’t whether you’re going to get hit. It is how quickly you are going to close that gap,” Chen noted.

“Security is definitely not going away. You are definitely going to see more events. The world is getting smaller and more connected,” he said during the meeting.

“Self-registration kits, penetration testing, these are the things that need to be done by every company in Jamaica, and there is a massive opportunity as we scale to provide the service,” he told shareholders.

The tech company entered the stock market eight years ago and has been mostly profitable throughout except for a soft period in and around the pandemic. Since its listing, tTech has only once fallen into losses, in year 2022, when it bled $24 million on faltering revenue. That loss followed from a soft year in 2021 when the company’s annual earnings dropped to $8 million, or around a third of normal levels.

However, in 2023, the company spun back to a profit of $20.5 million, which was more in line with past performance. Revenue also recovered to a new high of $463 million.

As Hortense Gregory-Nelson, tTech’s finance and administration manager, indicated at the meeting, expenses rose by 12 per cent but revenue improved by 23.8 per cent – which was twice the pace.

Earnings for the January-March 2024 period were also positive at $5.26 million but slightly off the $6.16 million outturn for the March 2023 period, on the back of flat revenue of $118 million.

Responding to a shareholder’s question as to the company’s share of the managed IT services market, Chairman Edward ‘Teddy’ Alexander said it was difficult to comment because data on what companies are spending on those services was not readily available in Jamaica.

“Most companies are trying to do it themselves internally, and that comes with a slew of challenges for them,” CEO Chen added.