On the lighter side of things, we ask the industry experts what makes them tick. We talk to Philip Schreiber, Regional Director, Middle East, Africa and South Asia at nCipher Security.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
At nCipher we have a team that is privileged to work on many projects that impact the security of systems to safeguard identity; improve financial inclusion; enable secure communications; and assist in protecting sensitive data. I feel very proud to have been part of that for nearly a decade.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
I began my career in the 1980s as personal computing was first making great strides in the workplace. The promise of this technology greatly intrigued me. Consequently, it propelled me to join a very exciting and fast paced industry – information security – with opportunities for success and failure every day.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
I am fortunate to manage a highly diverse team across several continents. So, I have to adopt a management style which recognises that different cultures need different approaches while highlighting the similarities we all possess. Creating a genuine team among different genders, ethnicities and faiths remains the greatest pleasure of my role.
What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?
Customers across the region are looking at how cloud technologies can make their businesses more agile and competitive. Every customer we talk to either has, or is developing, a plan to move more and more services to the cloud. According to nCipher’s 2019 Middle East Encryption Trends Study, 84% of Middle Eastern organisations polled said they were currently using cloud computing services or plan to do so in the next 12 to 24 months.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
My wife and I like to walk and find that it gives us both an opportunity to talk things through. Things that can seem overwhelming never look as difficult after a long ‘walk and talk’. We also like to travel and are looking forward to our next trip, which is to Petra in Jordan.
If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything. I am a firm believer that the decisions we make all contribute to the person we become. So the sum of those decisions have resulted in the opportunities that we have today.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
From connected cars to smart medical devices and intelligent monitoring systems, the Internet of Things (IoT) is attracting a lot of investment and research as the promise of the technology to change our lives is immense. At nCipher, our role is to ensure the safety and integrity of these investments through the application of smart cryptography solutions.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in the Middle East?
We face an ongoing challenge to develop the correct skills base in the Middle East. Particularly as the Gulf economies look to diversify from oil we have to invest in skills and training across all disciplines, especially in the areas where nCipher specialises, information security and cryptography.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
At nCipher we have had a particularly exciting 12 months. Earlier this year, we were divested from Thales and subsequently acquired by Entrust Datacard, so building our new team has been a great challenge.
In the next 12 months we will continue to establish our place as an Entrust Datacard company and take our combined message to our partners and customers across the region.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?
I would absolutely stress the importance of flexibility and open-mindedness. So few people have a traditional ‘linear’ career these days so you can never tell where the next opportunity will present itself. If you keep your mind open to new and different challenges you will get your reward.