15 Minutes with Shay: Let’s talk security

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Shay we understand the security and compliance is front of mind for many IT Leaders, what are the main challenges CIO’s face today?

“Yes, security is definitely a burning issue for many of our customers. With 61% of our Irish organisations having experienced cybercrime in 2018, it’s easy to understand why.

As IT advances, the threat landscape becomes more complex. The CIO is wrestling with many factors; cloud services are seeing huge growth, everyone is now a mobile-worker, and the edge of the corporate network no longer exists. This brings Irish organisations both opportunity and risk. The traditional security perimeter of your business has become a meaningless term in this new world.”

And how would you say BT is adding value in this space?

“I see some organisations putting what you might call ‘blind-faith’ in certain point-security solutions. We all know that prevention is better than cure and where we can add value is by giving our customers better insight into what’s actually happening rather than leaving that to a ‘black-box’ to take care of. Our experts profile risk & incidents in real-time; and then come up with an action plan to deal with that.”

59% of 1,500 senior IT decision-makers state that security is driving their digital transformation

What’s your view on skill shortages in the security industry?

“Unfortunately for Irish organisations security people want to work with security companies and not (say) a manufacturer or retailer. I’d say that recruiting and retaining security talent is one of the biggest risks for the industry.

The good news is that Ireland is setting itself up well to support organisations with these challenges. We have one of the highest graduate enrolments in mathematics, science and technology fields in the EU and, of course, many of the leading global tech companies have a significant presence here.

From a BT perspective we’re lucky to have lots of skills in-house, we have experience dealing with major incidents whilst protecting government agencies and large global corporations, including ourselves. With over 70 years’ experience to share, we currently protect our own networks from over 4,000 cyber-attacks a day. Managing an ever-changing threat environment is at the core of what we do.”

What are BT’s future investment considerations in this space?

“The threat landscape is so vast we are moving to the point where we need to consider a security operation centre in Ireland as opposed to having them in the US, Europe, and in the UK. It’s an area that we will continue to assess, we remain close to our customer’s security requirements as we consider our investment in this area. With regards to regulations, GDPR has had a major impact on the market over the past year and is driving the security agenda. Geographic location of a security operation centre in Ireland may be more important for some sectors than others e.g. the government sector. This is something we definitely need to look at.”

Tune in next month to hear the fourth instalment of ’15 minutes with Shay’, where our MD Shay talks about corporate social responsibility and sustainability.


Shay Walsh