Chad McDonald of Radiant Logic says organisations have to rethink how they can make IT more efficient, particularly when it comes to automation.
Chad McDonald is the CISO Radiant Logic, a US-based software company that focuses on identity data unification and integration, information security and data management.
He has more than 20 years’ experience building and managing information security programs. He holds a bachelor’s degree in information technology from Southern Polytechnic State University, as well as multiple certifications including CISSP, CISA and PMP.
McDonald told SiliconRepublic.com that his role encompasses the responsibilities of a CISO, CTO and CIO.
“I am responsible for driving organisational success and focus within our executive team, as well as the IT and information security strategy of our identity data platform. I influence the direction of IT to make sure it is secure so that both Radiant Logic’s intellectual property and customer information are safe,” he said.
“Besides security, another major responsibility is supporting operational efficiency. It is crucial that IT is able to support the growth of Radiant Logic and fit with the long-term business goals.
‘By unifying identity data, organisations can achieve their digital transformation projects faster’
– CHAD MCDONALD
What are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing in the current IT landscape?
The biggest challenge facing the IT industry is resources, specifically people. Businesses are finding it harder and harder to recruit people with the specific skills to address the challenges presented with digital transformation and cloud migration, while at the same time dealing with legacy infrastructure.
The shifting labour market creates some fundamental problems when it comes to IT. Organisations have to rethink how they can make IT more efficient, whether that’s changing staff workloads or implementing more automation within systems.
For Radiant Logic, we saw this as an opportunity to reconfigure our internal processes to meet the respective growing demands of the workforce by focusing on automating processes now more than ever.
For example, we have changed our customer ticketing and professional services platforms to systems that have automation. It allowed us to re-task staff and put them in an area of the business where extra hands are needed.
We also invested in an accounting and finance automation system, which cuts the time it takes to do invoicing from 40 hours per month to four hours per month.
What are your thoughts on digital transformation?
The major issue, which has recently come to the forefront for a lot of organisations, is how to manage identity data. The recent acquisitions of Ping Identity and Forgerock by Thomas Bravo shows the value and the interest in the identity management market.
When it comes to digital transformation, organisations are starting to realise the benefit that managing identity data can have on budgets. Managing identity data can help operational efficiency so teams can refocus revenue-generating opportunities instead and provides insight into licence usage, which can reduce the number of software licences they buy.
The other major challenge for digital transformation is tightening budgets. Teams across the entire enterprise are fighting with less resources. At Radiant Logic, we address the challenge of managing identity data through an intelligent approach that we call an identity data fabric.
An identity data fabric approach unifies and streamlines identity data into one easy-to-use resource which can be accessed by systems irrespective of preferred formats and protocols, and where it is stored.
By unifying identity data, organisations can achieve their digital transformation projects faster, more efficient and secure, ultimately, reducing costs when budgets are tight.
How can sustainability be addressed from an IT perspective?
IT can learn a lot from society and mass transit. The best example is people taking the bus instead of using their car, which reduces the amount of fuel we’re using and lowers our carbon footprint.
When it comes to IT, instead of having everybody on data centres, which need a large amount of electricity in order to keep cool and power, businesses are now moving to the cloud, shared platforms or SaaS services. IT has an opportunity to influence sustainability across the entire business.
Moving to cloud platforms provides IT with the unique opportunity to make a difference – it’s no longer an excuse to increase our consumption of energy and fossil fuels for the sake of IT.
What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world?
The most exciting big tech trend for me is leveraging large datasets to make intelligent decisions. It’s not a particularly new area of tech, but I think the use of artificial intelligence/machine learning and real analytics are continuing to evolve in exciting ways – from AI being used to find challenges in CI/CD pipelines, to leveraging log analytics from application usage or security events.
Also, making decisions based on large identity datasets offers a lot of value to organisations. Personally, I don’t think we have even touched the surface of what identity data can provide for organisations. The next level is to then look at data about data – which is very meta and at the infant stage of its maturity.
How can we address the security challenges currently facing your industry?
An issue which I’ve received a lot of questions about recently is on SOC compliance – which for some is a scary prospect. If you have data or personal data, make an effort to secure it – get the ball rolling. The biggest security risk is stagnation, you should always be looking to improve your security posture.
The threat landscape, the way cyberattacks happen and the businesses themselves, are always changing. Therefore, security procedures which were implemented a year ago might not necessarily be able to protect the organisation now.
Lots of businesses are really afraid of changing their security and assume that their SaaS platform will be secure by default, however they couldn’t be more wrong.
Unifying identity data into one resource means that organisations can properly assess the access rights of applications and update them in real-time. Security teams are then able to maintain complete visibility across the entire network and check if identity data is being handled correctly by systems, applications and users.
By making sure identity data is secure, businesses can reduce the risk of a serious, and sometimes embarrassing, breach.
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