Finding the ‘delicate’ balance of security and innovation in IT

28 Mar 2024

Qualcom MD Ken Ryan. Image: Aaron McCracken

Qualcom’s managing director Ken Ryan discusses how the IT sector has evolved over the years and the ‘multifaceted challenges’ that are affecting the industry.

Ken Ryan is a veteran of IT and security services, having worked with Dublin-based Qualcom for more than 20 years.

Ryan was the company’s service director for 17 years and has been MD of the managed service provider (MSP) since late 2020. Prior to his roles with Qualcom, Ryan worked as an engineer for various organisations.

“Throughout my career I’ve worked in diverse sectors like electronics, communications, systems and technology,” Ryan said. “From field engineering to project management and business development, each role offered valuable insights into technology, market dynamics and customer requirements.

“These experiences have equipped me with a comprehensive understanding of the industry, enabling me to effectively lead as the MD at Qualcom.”

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Ryan said the IT landscape has undergone “substantial evolution” over the years, such as the transition to cloud-based services “which offers greater flexibility and scalability”.

“Additionally, the rise of AI, IoT and cybersecurity has become pivotal in addressing modern technological challenges,” Ryan said. “Moreover, there has been a shift from reactive support to proactive managed services, emphasising prevention over resolution.

“These changes reflect a dynamic and innovative IT environment that continues to adapt to emerging technologies and trends.”

A multifaceted IT landscape

The evolution of a sector can create difficulties, however. Ryan believes the IT industry faces “multifaceted challenges” and that it is “crucial” to stand out and innovate in the competitive market.

He also said it is important to find the right “skilled professionals” to deal with the diverse needs of clients and believes “sophisticated cyberattacks” targeting data and finances pose a significant risk for businesses.

“Balancing security and innovation in a dynamic threat landscape is a delicate task, as is meeting client expectations for seamless digital experiences,” Ryan said. “Evaluating and investing in the best technology stack for clients is also vital for success in the ever-evolving IT landscape.

“Continuous upskilling is essential to keep pace with all of these rapid technological advancements and is something we are committed to doing.”

The future of IT

With the constant threat of cyberattacks becoming more apparent over the years, Ryan believes cybersecurity will be “crucial for all businesses” as these threats become more frequent and complex. He also believes certain technologies will have a significant impact in the future.

“AI will revolutionise every aspect of the way people and organisations do business and relate to their key stakeholders,” Ryan said. “Quantum computing will transform data processing. However, ethical dilemmas surrounding AI deployment will pose significant challenges for humanity.”

Despite the ethical dilemmas around AI and discussions around the disruption this technology presents for some sectors, Ryan doesn’t believe AI has been a major disruptor for MSPs and says the technology is a “fantastic revolutionary opportunity” for these providers worldwide.

Growing the business

Qualcom has been going through an evolution in recent years and experienced a 10pc annual rise in revenue in 2023. Last month, it revealed plans to create 33 jobs on the island of Ireland to handle more demand for its services.

The company provides managed IT and security services for more than 500 clients across Ireland, the UK and the Channel Islands. Ryan said the company is focused on key goals including enhancing partnerships with “key players”, expanding its customers base and its service offerings.

“By prioritising these objectives, we aim to solidify our position as a market leader, build strong collaborations, drive continuous innovation, cultivate a dynamic work environment with opportunities for everyone and meet the evolving needs of our expanding customer base,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the company focuses on “ongoing learning” and investing in “cutting-edge technology” to get the best out of its staff.

“We encourage open communication, feedback and collaboration, and we recognise and celebrate employees’ value and accomplishments, which helps boost morale and motivation,” Ryan said.

“By investing in their growth, fostering a supportive environment and acknowledging their contributions, we have cultivated a highly engaged and productive workforce that I am very proud of.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic