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FairWarning’s new CEO speaks out on quality, workforce, sustainability

Margie Manning

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By Blogtrepreneur - Data Security, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74846672

With a new CEO and a Silicon Valley financial backer, FairWarning continues to get industry recognition for the quality of the technology it provides to customers.

The Clearwater-based cybersecurity firm was the No. 1 provider of patient privacy and security solutions in a 2019 user survey conducted by Black Book Market Research. Cybersecurity systems users and senior level managers participate in the survey. It’s the second consecutive year that FairWarning has ranked at the top.

Patrick Marschall, CEO, FairWarning

“It’s the voice of the customer, which is obviously the most important thing,” said Patrick Marschall, president and CEO of FairWarning. He succeeded Kurt Long, FairWarning’s founder, in December.

FairWarning provides technology to protect patient privacy and secure data to more than 8,500 facilities worldwide, including 40 percent of the U.S. healthcare market.

Amid a barrage of news reports about data breaches, some customers have promoted the fact that they have FairWarning systems in place in their registration areas, to reassure patients that they are using solutions that have been vetted by industry, said Shane Whitlatch, general manager of healthcare for the company.

For the Black Book survey, FairWarning’s healthcare and compliance customers filled out ballots on 18 performance areas of operational excellence to rank vendors by software, systems, products, equipment and outsourced service lines.

“Everyone strives to be best in class, so getting this is basically saying we’re the best in the industry,” Marschall said.

An independent report such as the Black Book survey also gives FairWarning an edge when the company responds to requests for proposals.

The honor follows several months of growth and change at FairWarning, which has a cloud-based platform that helps healthcare, financial services and other organizations establish a culture of security, privacy and compliance. Mainsail Partners, a  private equity firm in San Francisco, invested $60 million in June, in the largest private equity deal in the Tampa Bay area in 2018.

“What that brings is large access to capital for us. We are able to reinvest at a higher rate because we have a much stronger financial backer. This year alone, we are reinvesting at a higher rate in our business than our revenue is growing,” Marschall said. “The company is growing phenomenally, but we’re making a forward-leaning investment in people and technology.”

FairWarning hired 40 people last year and plans to add 50 more this year. The company also is expanding overseas, recently hiring its first employee in the United Kingdom. However, most operations remain in the U.S. – and in Clearwater.

“One of the things that Mainsail brings is a Silicon Valley presence,” Marschall said. “We’re getting best practices out there and bringing them here.”

Unlike Silicon Valley, the cost of living is more affordable in Tampa Bay, which attracts skilled workers. FairWarning also is working closely with local universities to incubate a local talent pool.

To further bolster FairWarning’s appeal to potential employees, the company is establishing a sustainability committee that will invest in the community.

Marschall is emulating a strategy used at Baxter Healthcare, where he previously worked for 20 years. Baxter, which used a lot of water in its products, developed sustainable practices around watersheds and helping communities with limited access to water.

Sustainability will take on a different meaning at FairWarning, where data privacy is the primary product, but the concept is the same, Marschall said.

“People want to feel good about where they work,” Marschall said. “You spend most of your time at your job. If you have a product you believe in that makes a difference, and a company that wants to make a difference in the community, the recruiting becomes a lot easier.”

Long, who founded FairWarning in 2005 and served as CEO for 14 years, remains on the board of directors and is an advisor to the company, but no longer is involved in day-to-day operations. In January, Long launched Ventures with Meaning, a personal investment fund.

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