Meet The Expert - Steve van Blommestein, Netlink Group

Thanks for your time Steve. I know you have a really varied background but can you tell us a little about your journey into IT?

I started Netlink in 1994 when networking of computers was becoming a real growth industry. As an IT Teacher at a large WA School I could see the future of networking was going to be big business so I made the decision to leave my secure job and branch out on my own. From humble beginnings we grew the business quite aggressively and diversified into software development which was also a global trend on building bespoke software to solve global problems.

After the crazy dot com period post 2000 I decided to refocus on the IT Maintenance side, relocated the business to West Leederville and rebuilt the business to focus heavily on outsourcing ITC as a fully managed service.

You are so passionate about your business and your presentations are full of anecdotes and stories of good times and bad. We would love to hear about one of your greatest successes in business so far. Who or what helped you to achieve this?

I still regard the rags to riches story of Jubilee Gold when I was asked to help them in the late 90’s. A struggling junior gold miner who had no money to spend on IT but I was prepared to help them struggling along until better times arrived. They struck pay dirt with the discovery a huge nickel deposit in the cosmos valley north of Leinster. They became Jubilee Mines and for the next 7 years they grew massively into 3 mines all needing significant ITC resources which they outsourced to us. In late 2007 Jubilee Mines sold to global giant Xstrata and we managed the entire takeover from an ITC perspective turning the ITC contract into the largest & most profitable contract Netlink has ever owned.

Netlink are pioneers in Managed Service Providers. Can you tell us a little more about this and how it has evolved?

Post the dot com boom we could see the chaos created by the whole Y2K & Dot Com boom. In order to stabilise the business, we decided to created custom ITC contracts for our customers to flatten out the ITC monthly costs into a simple managed service where they could accurately predict their annual technology costs.  Initially the concept struggled as customers balked at paying a fixed fee up front. We persisted and turned it into the most profitable part of the business with regular & predictable revenues as a growth platform for the future.

Finally, I have to ask… Cyber security is a major issue at the moment and something, I presume, will never go away. Are you seeing any new threats emerging that we may not have seen before or, indeed, and new develops/innovations assisting in cyber security?

We see new threats emerging every week in this industry. The more devices connect to the world networks, the more the threats multiply. Equally we see a plethora of solutions to defend your business from a large number of threat actors. The challenge is to convince our customers that security risk belongs with the customer and not their ITC provider. Every major global event creates fresh opportunities for cyber criminals, ie: COVID-19 creating new scams and illicit attacks that gave the impression they were offering services to assist with the pandemic.

The good news is that although it is near impossible to be 100% secure there a lot of new inventions and practices that mitigate against major attacks that could seriously impact on the businesses ability to survive. The challenge is to understand the constantly evolving landscape of threat and have a security practice that covers every point of entry into the business.

Steve is the Managing Director of Netlink Group who provide complete managed IT & Telecommunications Services for enterprise business customers.
Level 2, 3 Loftus Street, West Leederville  
1300 NETLINK (Office)
(08) 9422 5555 (Office)
(08) 9422 5522 (Support)

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