A weakness for weak points

Hacker attack, data lost, alien device in the network? Mikado AG provides advice on IT security

Reimund Reiter und Wolfgang Dürr Photo. Maja Meschka

Reimund Reiter and Wolfgang Dürr think hard, look at each other, and remain silent after all. Nor can they answer the question about the hacker attacks or IT slip-ups that they have experienced in their 30 years of business with Mikado AG. They’ve seen plenty, but in the IT security sector, a lot of people don’t want these things to go public. So they only talk about an administrator who quit a company and left program code behind him with which he could access internal data from outside.

Mikado provides technical and organisational security consulting: its employees certify computer systems as per BSI and ISO standards (Federal Office for Information Security; International Organisation for Standardization), implement security concepts or perform penetration tests. This means that they simulate a hacker attack so that they can help fill in the security gaps. Along with its industrial customers, the company also caters to federal, state and district authorities. One of the benefits of being in Berlin. „The topic of security is one for larger organisations,“ says Reiter. „It’s not so present among medium-sized companies. We want to change this.“

Which is why their website has been full of sport lately: doing the crawl, clambering up hills, playing golf. This is to demonstrate to the small and medium-sized companies that „getting security-fit can be a lean process“. Easy on the budget but still efficient. „Not all the data of a company needs to be encrypted. But our consultants do not breeze into the companies all aloof,“ says Wolfgang Dürr: „We know what we’re talking about when we talk about security in networks.“ When you see the „Consultant“ badge at Mikado, you’re really dealing with a technician – an expert who knows the material and is on the same level as the customer’s IT people.

Everything began in the time of microcomputers and punch cards, when the first personal computers were emerging. The name Mikado, an acronym, is from this period. It stands for „Microcomputer Applications in Data-processing and Organisation“. „Our original goal was to make PCs useful for medium-sized companies and implement business software on them,“ says Reimund Reiter. Then came the big orders from AOK and Schering. The task was to replace mainframe computers with a networked system of PCs. It wasn’t until the mid-90s that security became the main topic at Mikado – when the first viruses appeared and their customers asked them for help. „In 1998 we moved here to the Bülowbogen commercial complex,“ says Reiter, and his companion Dürr adds: „We were the first tenants.“

He talks about the past of the brick buildings, as a printer specialising in Cyrillic letters. And the duo also sees the future of Mikado as being, at least partially, in the East. Poland is a future market, and it’s „right outside their front door“. Reiter says: „The pioneering spirit has found its way into the country. It’s always this way: first the economy grows like crazy – and then they start thinking about security. And then we join in.“

Susanne Hörr
Kluge Köpfe 2014