Dell’s Marc O’Regan: ‘IT security must evolve to be more adaptable’

7 Feb 2020

Marc O'Regan, Dell Technologies EMEA. Image: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Marc O’Regan, CTO in enterprise architecture at Dell Technologies EMEA, discusses the importance of embracing digital transformation.

As CTO in enterprise architecture at Dell Technologies EMEA, Marc O’Regan helps businesses across the region harness emerging technologies to navigate challenges and drive innovation.

He spoke to about his thoughts on digital transformation and how he leads his teams to “turn risks into opportunities”.

‘It is imperative for every organisation to consider how much progress they have made in embracing digital transformation’

Tell me about your own role and your responsibilities in driving tech strategy.

In my current role, I am responsible for helping businesses and organisations in Ireland and across the EMEA region to drive innovation through emerging technologies. A significant element of my time is spent with customers, identifying the business challenges they face and developing new solutions based on the latest technology that helps them to overcome any obstacles to business success.

To achieve this, I also work extensively with our talented engineering teams. We come together to identify emerging technology trends, experiment with possible new solutions and create exciting new products and services that will help shape our industry in the years to come.

The innovative ideas that are developed through collaboration within the engineering team and across the Dell Technologies family are resulting in positive business benefits for organisations across Ireland. From fostering new business models to opening up new avenues to market, our team is helping customers to deliver their ambitious digital transformation goals.

Are you spearheading any major products or IT initiatives you can tell us about?

At Dell Technologies, we are focused on the development of next-generation edge infrastructure required to ensure the deployment of 5G. Accelerating the move to the edge will help to make driverless cars, machine-to-machine interactions and seamless communication across the globe a reality.

That’s why we are working closely with Orange, one of the largest operators of mobile and internet services, to test, develop and deliver the real-time edge use cases and new services opportunities 5G will create.

Secondly, open innovation is now becoming core to all we do – fostering new technology discoveries and innovating at speed in partnership with our customers. Our teams have embraced this new approach to product development.

By creating new solutions alongside our customers and partners based on the realities of their business environment, we are mapping out IT transformation strategies that will handle the growing volume of data over the next three to five years.

How big is your team? Do you outsource where possible?

I work across a number of teams at Dell Technologies, including our commercial and engineering teams here in Ireland, together with colleagues across the EMEA region. We coordinate our efforts and expertise to ensure that we can drive innovation from the edge to core to cloud.

In driving that transformation, we are fortunate that Ireland is home to a number of strategic regional and global teams within Dell Technologies. Our recently opened innovation lab in Limerick enables organisations here in Ireland and across the globe to experience real-life examples of how AI, 5G and the internet of things (IoT) bring business value in developing digital cities and connected healthcare, industry 4.0 and connected transport.

Moreover, our 5G edge labs in Cork and Limerick are bringing together 5G, edge computing and machine learning to prototype next-generation products and services for the global market.

With these strategic assets and the support of our partner network, we’ve developed close and longstanding relationships with private and public sector organisations.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation and how are you addressing it?

To me, digital transformation is not just a concept, it’s a process through which people and organisations embrace digital technologies to provide better outcomes and experiences for their customers.

With AI, big data and the cloud helping to accelerate the pace of change facing businesses in Ireland, it is imperative for every organisation to consider how much progress they have made in embracing digital transformation. Are they best positioned to be able to deliver a differentiated product or service to the market and ensure they become the trusted, go-to option for its target customers?

There is a growing imperative to embark on a journey of digital transformation. We are seeing the emergence of smarter cars that aim to become autonomous via software updates, to connected communities that share information instantly via social media, to the creation of entirely new industries through the development of the IoT.

To help organisations progress on a pathway of transformation, we’ve developed a new approach that is based on five core pillars. This centres on creating a data-first culture, providing modern IT infrastructure capable of processing data at scale, creating new operating models based on multi-cloud service delivery, aligning new digital with cultural transformation and ensuring there is a trusted, supporting ecosystem in place to remain ahead of competitors.

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

There are several interconnected technologies such as AI, the IoT and the continuing transformation of the cloud which are helping to fuel innovation in all sectors of the economy. My view is that these trends cannot be separated but are coming together to create what Michael Dell has termed the “next data-driven decade”.

Take, for example, connected and autonomous vehicles. In five to 10 years, AI will become mainstream within the car to meet the growing complexity of connected car workloads. AI-enabled data centres that will emerge will unlock large-scale, real-time analytics and machine learning – delivering new insights that can be leveraged across all sectors.

As current storage and computer facilities become overwhelmed by massive data volumes from autonomous vehicles, we will also see the technology and mobility sectors working together seamlessly in a hyper-extended edge-to-core-to-cloud IT infrastructure.

At the same time, cars will also become more software defined and require regular software updates remotely. This will require new innovations in security that maintain and upload the link of trust between the vehicle owner and their data.

In terms of security, what are your thoughts on how we can better protect data?

As emerging technologies empower a new, digitally transformed world, IT security must also evolve to be more adaptable, more proactive and less reactive to let today’s workforce become more mobile and agile into the future.

Up until recently, the traditional IT security approach to safeguarding data has been based on building perimeters and firewalls around assets largely controlled on premises. That worked when data was used within a traditional on-premises data centre, but it is unable to scale for the collaboration required by workers today.

Digital solutions have now emerged which feature new capabilities that allow IT to manage access, determine context of risk and take action based on risk profiles. Such built-in security safeguards make securing data more flexible, and actually reduce the amount of risk by shrinking the threat vectors compared to traditional restrictions.

At Dell Technologies, we’ve sought to turn this risk into an opportunity. Embracing security transformation, such as advanced endpoint threat detection, organisations have the ability to manage strategic, operational, financial and digital risk everywhere.

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