We ‘Go Phish’ with Richard McLoughlin, CEO and Co-founder, Nowcomm, who tells us about the ever-changing cybersecurity industry.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the cybersecurity industry?
Helping to create, develop and inspire our team of IT security experts here at Nowcomm. It has been the most fulfilling experience to start with a blank piece of paper over 13 years ago, to now having the successful partnerships and company-wide accreditations for the team and company that we have become.
What first made you think of a career in cybersecurity?
The first thing that made me think of a career in the industry was probably the movie ‘War Games’ (remember the noughts and crosses ending!). I was a computer geek from the first time I touched a Sinclair ZX81 back in the early 1980s, so it was always on the cards since then.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
Perhaps it’s best to ask members of my team on this one! Basically, I try to keep it simple; it’s really not rocket science, so you shouldn’t treat it as such. My approach is to offer and perform a supportive leadership structure. Rather than a traditional top down management approach that delegates and drops tasks on to the team to complete, I like to hear what’s happening around the business. Then I can plug the right people together while we scale. It also encourages groups of people to discuss projects which they wouldn’t otherwise have engaged on together.
My role is to enable the success of every member of our team. The result of this is successful and empowered team members and therefore happy customers.
What do you think is the current hot cybersecurity talking point?
Cybersecurity itself is the hot topic because it isn’t just a single entity. Effective cybersecurity is multi-layered and multi-faceted and I don’t mean simply the various technology options. This is a disciple that is based on people, process and technology. A very prevalent consideration is how to achieve and maintain strong cybersecurity when employees are working remotely away from the office. The Coronavirus outbreak of 2020 is adding to the increasing trend of a remote workforce and effective cybersecurity measures encompassing the organisations people, process and technology has now become paramount.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
I fully step away from technology and our business, even if it is for just an hour in a day. A good walk, exercise, socialising and, most importantly, enjoying family time with my wife and children gives me a quick release and recharge before I step back to the next new development or initiative.
If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?
There is nothing I can offer here. I firmly believe every decision, action and event is an opportunity for improved future development.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in the cybersecurity industry?
One major area of investment for the cybersecurity industry will be investment in protection for IoT devices. Often these devices are different from more ‘standardised’ and mature IT hardware, in that these IoT devices don’t have an interface in the same way that traditional computer technologies may have. Therefore, it can be harder to protect these newer IoT devices by traditional means. Providers of cybersecurity solutions must design, install and support an infrastructure that will protect these IoT devices and the wider existing IT infrastructure.
Are there any differences in the way cybersecurity challenges need to be tackled in the different regions? (Middle East, Africa, Europe, Americas.)
There are huge differences across the global geography, and we would need a dedicated article to discuss comprehensively! For anyone working or exploring cybersecurity across multiple geo and political regions my first comment would be to become very familiar with the applicable data and telecommunications legislation.
Another large challenge we see in areas such as Europe and America is protecting the large number of personal devices that are in use in these regions. Large infrastructure is generally well protected, though this obviously has to be monitored. In emerging economies in Africa and the Middle East, this infrastructure can be more vulnerable and requires greater attention.
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?
Obviously the biggest recent change in cybersecurity and for the world generally has been the impact of the new Coronavirus. Like any opportunity, there has been attacks that have used the concern around the disease to their advantage, most notably with phishing attacks.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in the security industry?
Develop as much experience and knowledge in the area as you can. This doesn’t mean you need to change specific roles or employers regularly, but you do need to continually learn and improve your understanding and skills development. Cybersecurity is a fabulous sector as it is constantly evolving and developing at a weekly and daily rate.