Intelligent CIO APAC Issue 16 - Page 80

GET TO KNOW technology and human resources . The latter is an area that needs major investment , given the skills shortage we continue to experience here in Australia . Historically , cyber wasn ’ t something business leaders were all that keen to devote budget to – like insurance , it ’ s a grudge purchase – but , as they become more informed about the risks , they ’ re realizing they must .
What are the region specific challenges when implementing new technologies in APAC ? application security . And then there ’ s email security – it ’ s a huge topic that ’ s unlikely to ever go away , given most cyber-incidents start with an email . Preventing spear phishing and account compromise is critical , and leaders are now alive to the fact that cybersecurity awareness training has a huge part to play . Reducing the incidence of people acting on emails when they shouldn ’ t can translate into a significant improvement in security posture .
In the Pacific , in particular , connectivity can be a real issue . Lack of it means companies can ’ t adopt the public cloud , as their counterparts are able to do in Australia and New Zealand . They also struggle with skills and can end up having to pay over the odds to import them . Language isn ’ t a barrier but you do need to understand the culture ; people in the islands tend to be a little more laid back in the way they do things .
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office ?
I often talk to my team about transforming stress into positive energy . For me , the best way to do that has always been sport – playing , watching , coaching and spectating . A round of golf once a week is a great way to clear your head of work thoughts . I ’ m also an avid
supporter of cricket . My son plays in an under-12s competition and I ’ m the team coach , so in summer it ’ s a race from the ground to the golf course every Saturday morning . Then in winter , it ’ s tennis and my daughter plays netball … too much sport is never enough !
If you could go back and change one career decision , what would it be ?
Back in the early noughties , a lot of people in the IT industry were suffering from a bit of burnout , in the wake of Y2K . I was one of them and , as a consequence , I took a job outside the industry , as general manager of a manufacturing company . While it was interesting , moving away from the industry where I ’ d built my reputation was probably not a great career decision . When I went back to an IT role in 2005 , I took a couple of steps back . Remaining on my original career trajectory would have made more sense , in hindsight .
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry ?
Cybersecurity is an area where more and more businesses will be spending money – on both
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 ?
Nothing ’ s happened in the past year that should change my job … just kidding ! Pre-COVID , I was in a different city every second week but I haven ’ t left our Brisbane office since February last year . Not being able to make those personal connections with staff and channel partners has been very challenging . Having said that , we ’ ve continued to grow the team in spite of the pandemic , partly because we ’ re in a real sweet spot , technology-wise . I ’ m looking forward to getting out there again , as the country and the region continue to open up – meeting people face to face always speeds up the sales process and makes it easier for them to do business with you .
What advice would you offer to someone aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry ?
Never lose touch with what ’ s happening on the ground . If you don ’ t understand the challenges your customers are facing , it ’ s really difficult to make sound strategic decisions . Moving up usually means moving around but it ’ s important to change roles for the right reasons . Don ’ t just chase the money – look at the people you ’ ll be working for , and with , and the technology you ’ ll be exposed to . And don ’ t burn bridges . It ’ s 101 when you ’ re building a channel and a career . If you act with integrity , people will stick with you for the long haul . p
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