Logicalis’s Andrew Baird: ‘The security focus is shifting to internal weaknesses’

12 Apr 2019

Andrew Baird, managing director at Logicalis Ireland. Image: Leonard Photography

The biggest threat to the security posture of an organisation is a lack of staff awareness, warns Logicalis Ireland’s Andrew Baird.

Andrew Baird has more than 30 years’ experience in the Irish IT market and became managing director of IT solutions and managed services provider Logicalis Ireland in 2015.

Prior to that, he held the position of sales director of Logicalis Ireland, taking up the role in 2002.

‘Companies need to provide employees with adequate training and ensure they are adhering to security standards across not just their systems but their people as well’

Logicalis is an international multiskilled solution provider offering digital enablement services to help customers harness digital technology and innovative services to deliver powerful business outcomes.

The company is an advocate for some of the world’s leading technology companies including Cisco, HPE, IBM, CA Technologies, NetApp, Microsoft, Oracle, VMware and ServiceNow.

Last September Logicalis revealed plans to hire 25 people over two years as part of a €1m investment in its own digital transformation.

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

In terms of driving strategy, my role is twofold. Firstly, I make sure Logicalis Ireland is taking the lead in advising organisations and demonstrating how their ICT strategy can help to achieve business objectives. A large part of this is ensuring that we have the right people, skills and partnerships to meet the demands of what is a constantly evolving market.

Secondly, I am responsible for enabling our own digital transformation journey. Recently, we invested significantly in our internal infrastructure to ensure we are innovating within our own organisation, as well as helping clients stay competitive.

Are you spearheading any major product/IT initiatives you can tell us about?

Our main focus at the moment is developing hybrid IT strategies that enable our clients to digitally transform their businesses by integrating new technologies, including private and public cloud delivery, with their core heritage or legacy systems. The key nowadays is combining new app and web-based technologies with existing structures or methodologies in an effective way.

We understand that every company is different and we pride ourselves on finding the solution that works best for the individual organisation. We are already seeing success through enabling our enterprise clients to integrate their legacy infrastructure and applications with newer solutions as part of their wider digital transformation plans.

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

The local team consists of 50 people, with plans to grow that to 60 over the next 12 months. Globally, there are 5,700 employees.

The Logicalis group has also established several centres of excellence which provide support to local teams, both in terms of expertise and capability, to help deliver innovative solutions to our European clients. For example, the Logicalis centre of excellence in South Africa, which focuses on the delivery of managed service operations for our enterprise clients, adds additional capacity and capability to our Irish service management and governance teams.

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

Digital transformation is the most significant driver of new business initiatives at the moment. From my perspective, I see digital transformation as providing clients with access to innovative web-based systems and supply chains which make it easier for them to support their own customers and do business.

In order to do this, our clients need to make sure their existing core systems and applications are highly reliable, responsive and able to meet fluctuating capacity demands. We are investing in the vendor relationships, IT architectures and skills that allow us to facilitate this for them, integrating the latest technologies that achieve the levels of availability, security and agility required by their business stakeholders.

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

I would say the incorporation of managed private cloud and public cloud solutions within core heritage systems. Such heritage systems contain a wealth of data and acquired knowledge so, if you combine those with new web-based solutions, it creates an amazing opportunity from both an IT and business perspective.

It’s all about innovation, as highlighted by our global CIO survey 2018-2019. It found that 94pc of CIOs spend up to half their time on innovation. In fact, half are now measured according to their ability to deliver service innovation, while 83pc are responsible in their companies for either leading or enabling innovation. In other words, it’s no longer a case of installing the systems you need and these lasting for a number of years – organisations need to constantly review, update and improve their ICT solutions.

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

Organisations need to take security seriously. Too often it’s after the breach that people lock down their systems. It’s not good enough to simply protect the network at this stage – it’s vital to identify the data you want to safeguard and put the appropriate access and controls for that data in place in the first instance.

If you have digitally transformed or are digitally transforming your business, more people will be interfacing with your companies’ systems and cloud environments; therefore it’s important to have the tools needed to prevent and/or manage a security breach. Moreover, it’s necessary to consider all of the potential risks and, to some extent, the focus is shifting in this respect from external threats to areas of internal weakness.

Again, our global CIO survey unearthed some interesting findings in this regard. While more than two-thirds (68pc) of CIOs see malware, ransomware and cryptojacking as a main threat, 56pc cited a lack of staff awareness and resulting mistakes. Companies need to address this by providing employees with adequate training and ensure they are adhering to security standards across not just their systems but their people as well.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years