Why businesses need ‘agility and foresight’ to stay ahead in tech

14 Jun 2024

Ivor Buckley. Image: Naoise Culhane

Dell Technologies’ Ivor Buckley discusses his role as field CTO, the company’s sustainability goals and the growth of zero-trust initiatives in cybersecurity.

Ivor Buckley is the field chief technology officer (CTO) at Dell Technologies in Ireland. With more than 25 years of experience in tech and tech sales across a variety of sectors, Buckley now works closely with Dell Technologies’ customers across Ireland and Northern Ireland, assisting them in developing their business, digital and IT strategies.

Buckley’s career journey began in 1999 at Dell Technologies Cork, where he spent three years in technical support before he worked in London for eight years in the retail and financial sectors. In 2011, he returned to Ireland to take up a position as a technology consultant at Dell Technologies in Dublin. Since then, he has risen through various positions before taking on his current role in July of 2023.

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As the field CTO at Dell Technologies in Ireland, my role revolves around using the latest advancements in generative AI (GenAI), edge computing and cloud technology to drive innovation forward for our customers and partners across this island and help them grow in a digital world,” Buckley said.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing in the current IT landscape and how are you addressing them?

With the surge in the volume of data within every organisation, there’s an increasing demand for modern data infrastructure so that IT leaders can access data and harness the power of data in every aspect of their business. In today’s AI-driven economy, organisations who adopt a data-driven approach will be able to transform ideas into innovation at speed.

In the current IT landscape, one of the most pressing challenges is the evolving threat of cyberattacks, particularly those augmented by GenAI. As GenAI becomes more sophisticated, it introduces new complexities for cybersecurity with cybercriminals leveraging it to create advanced attack vectors. This requires IT leaders to shift from traditional perimeter-centric security models towards a zero-trust approach, where implicit trust is eliminated and access privileges are dynamically adjusted based on real-time risk assessments. At Dell Technologies, we’re actively integrating GenAI-driven zero-trust models into our cybersecurity strategy to fortify our and our customers’ defences against evolving threats.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation in your industry?

Digital transformation is reshaping our industry in exciting ways, offering some great opportunities to enhance productivity and deliver more personalised experiences. At Dell, we’re fully embracing this transformation by integrating GenAI into our operations and to strengthen our cybersecurity measures here in Ireland across all our products and services portfolios.

GenAI is shaping the future of digital transformation at speed, and this was shown through our latest Innovation Catalysts Study which revealed 71pc of IT and business decision-makers in Ireland feel well-positioned competitively, armed with solid strategies to leverage AI effectively. It’s encouraging to note that 92pc believe in the responsible use of AI.

However, amid this optimism, there’s palpable uncertainty. More than half of the respondents (56pc) are unsure about the future trajectory of their industries in the next three to five years. Additionally, nearly half (49pc) are grappling with the challenge of keeping pace with advancements in GenAI and other transformative digital technologies.

In essence, while the promise of GenAI is clear, it’s imperative for Irish businesses to navigate these transformations with agility and foresight to stay ahead in an ever-evolving landscape.

Sustainability has become a key objective for businesses in recent years. What are your thoughts on how this can be addressed from an IT perspective?

Sustainability is a crucial consideration, and our IT practices play a significant role in achieving our sustainability goals here in Ireland. We’re committed to implementing environmentally responsible practices across our IT infrastructure. We have set a goal to reach 100pc renewable electricity across our global operations by 2040, with an interim goal of 75pc by 2030.

In the area of high-performance computing, we understand the importance of balancing computational power and energy efficiency to not only reduce our carbon footprint but also align with our customers’ sustainability commitments. Our initiatives in this area encompass a range of strategies aimed at promoting energy efficiency and reducing the overall environmental impact.

Another of our key initiatives involves optimising our data centres for energy efficiency through virtualisation and consolidation. This also helps reduce our carbon footprint while enhancing operational efficiency.

Additionally, Dell is also investing in renewable energy sources to power our IT operations, contributing to a cleaner environment. Cloud computing is another integral part of our sustainability effort, enabling us to scale resources efficiently and reduce hardware requirements. By prioritising sustainability in our IT practices, we’re not only reducing our environmental impact but also setting standards for responsible business operations within our industry.

What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world and your industry specifically? 

Several transformative technologies are reshaping our industry and the world at large. At the forefront of these innovations is GenAI. Over the past two years, GenAI has moved from theory to practice. While GenAI has fostered many creative ideas in 2023 of how it will transform business, GenAI projects are starting to become business-ready with visible productivity gains becoming evident.

Transformative technology also holds a strong promise to have a profound impact on cybersecurity, offering advanced capabilities for threat detection and incident response from a cybersecurity standpoint.

Organisations will need to use their own data for training and fine-tuning models, conducting inference where data originates.

Although there has been much discussion about zero trust within our industry, we’re now seeing it evolve from a concept to a real technology. Adopting a zero-trust approach helps organisations build a more resilient and responsive security infrastructure while ultimately lessening the impact of cyberattacks.

What are your thoughts on how we can address the security challenges currently facing your industry?

Addressing the evolving security challenges in our industry demands a comprehensive approach that integrates advanced technologies and robust cybersecurity measures. Generative AI is a powerful tool that can strengthen our cybersecurity posture by analysing security data, predicting threats and automating threat detection.

To address these challenges responsibly, Dell is implementing a zero-trust framework to protect and contain our AI systems. This involves developing robust access control measures, starting from the hardware level, and extending to data and user access. Furthermore, we’re prioritising data privacy and integrity by implementing data classification, encryption and secure storage practices. This ensures that sensitive information remains protected from potential threats. Looking ahead, we’re also developing a strong cyber recovery strategy to have contingency plans in place should unforeseen events occur.

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