Spotlight On: Craig MacAlpine

Craig MacAlpine is Constant Edge’s CEO and founder, an email security expert, and avid runner, who recently completed a non-stop 100-mile run.
March 2, 2023

Craig is a serial entrepreneur who sold his previous email security business, EPA Cloud, which supported over 500 end-clients, to Ziff Davies, formerly J2Global (NASQAQ: ZD) in 2013. This service has now been rebranded as VIPRE Email Security.

Why Did You Start Constant Edge?

Problem solving and helping people are the two fundamental cores of my personality. So, essentially, Constant Edge was born out of my desire to see companies get protection and get the right protection.  

I’ve been in the email security industry for a long time, over twenty years, and I see a recurring issue where many companies will opt for the product that may be the most marketable, but it won’t be the best product for them. Being a reseller puts us in a very privileged position for this. As we’re not tied to one specific vendor, we can offer services that we know are going to be the right fit for each client.  

We also want to see that the customer gets the right level of support and that the support is ongoing. We don’t leave the support to the vendors; we handle all of that in-house. We want well supported, happy clients, who know that if they raise a ticket, they will have it dealt with quickly and to a high standard.  

How Did You Get Into IT As A Career?

I actually started out doing a business degree at university. I have a Business Administration degree, with a major in finance and a minor in business law. The initial plan had been for me to go into banking, but after an internship at a Merchant Bank, I hated it and realized it wasn’t for me. Fortunately, I got into IT while the internet was just taking off. As a student, I had a side business installing modems in people’s computers in the mid 90s.

I moved to a more technical sales-based career in 1996 with Electric Mail. We worked with companies such as John Lewis, British Airways, and Dixons. We were working with systems like Groupwise, ccMail, Notes, and MS Mail, and connecting these large corporates to the Internet. For our clients, it was the first time they were able to send and receive email externally.  

Once we connected companies to the Internet, we began to see the start of email-borne threats. Companies started getting spam and became very concerned about being hacked. We supplied companies with firewalls and secure remote access to help combat these problems as they arose.  

I set up my own business in 2003, which had a sole focus on supplying cloud-based email security to companies.

How Have Cyber-Threats Changed In That Time?

In the very first days of email, it was anonymous people sending pornographic emails to cause distress and upset. Then there was mail bombing as an early form of DDoS in the late 2000s. In the last seven years, there has been a huge boom in more sophisticated attacks, like phishing, ransomware, theft of intellectual property, and account takeover. Almost all of these threats stem from emails. I can only attribute the rise in these areas of cybercrime to the monetization element; attackers have moved en-masse to these areas of attack because there is real money to be made.

What Are You Most Proud Of In Your Career?

The development of staff. When I look back on the companies I’ve started, I’ve taken on a lot of graduates that have come from an IT or technical background when they’re fresh out of university. I’m proud to employ a team of bright, talented people, and I give them the space and resources to develop, so that when they move on, they’ve gone on to bigger companies and more senior roles in the industry. It’s like leaving a legacy through people. I see their development as a key thing. 

What Do You Like To Do When You’re Not Working?

Running. I really find it engaging to take on challenges that push me to my limits. I love doing things that are at the very edge of my ability and the edge of my comfort zone, with a large potential for failure. I’m motivated by targets that stretch me and running pushes me to find these targets. I recently completed a 100-mile run in the south of England. I failed at that five years prior, so beating it was gratifying. In September, I’ll be taking part in the Dragons Back, which is the worlds toughest mountain race. Its a 240-mile run from the north to the south of Wales , which I’m sure will be another challenge!

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