‘How much digital transformation remains once Covid passes is yet to be seen’

8 Jan 2021

Paul Delahunty. Image: Stryve

Stryve’s Paul Delahunty discusses the impact of remote working on enterprise tech and the need for employees to have a strong infosec culture.

Last year, Paul Delahunty joined Carlow-based cloud solutions company Stryve as chief information security officer. In this role, he works with clients in Ireland, the UK and across Europe and manages the internal team to deliver cybersecurity and cloud advisory services.

Delahunty started his career as an engineer with Ericsson, and then moved into the infosec industry with Irish start-ups Moqom and ThorsNet. Before joining Stryve, he was information security and audit manager for the Hostelworld Group.

‘While we are, in general, a digital society, I don’t think we had fully made that jump in the workplace until Covid forced our hand’

Describe your role and your responsibilities in driving tech strategy.

Having come into Stryve at a time when we’re looking to expand our team and carve out a niche for ourselves in the infrastructure-as-a-service and private cloud sectors, my experience in driving young companies through a similar growth and development path is useful.

Like all companies, Covid has forced us to adjust to the new reality. Making sure that you not only survive, but prosper, through such times requires the input and vision of all team members.

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

We are currently developing a groundbreaking service that solves a global problem using our private cloud infrastructure. Our service is aimed at businesses who had assumed that all of their Microsoft Office 365 data is being backed up. As more and more people are finding out, this is not necessarily the case.

This is why companies increasingly invest in hiring external parties to manage backups or install additional infrastructure, a task that can balloon your costs and time constraints. Our solution simplifies all of this. All you need is your email address. We have a big launch planned for Q1 2021.

How big is your team?

We have a core team of around 20 people. In addition to this, we have a number of partners with whom we work very closely. We have also recently announced plans to expand by 10 more employees.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation?

I think that 2020 saw a real acceleration in digital transformation. While we are, in general, a digital society – I don’t know what my kids would do without a tablet or Netflix and Disney – I don’t think we had fully made that jump in the workplace until Covid forced our hand.

Overnight, we found ourselves unable to go to an office place and our homes became the office! And many companies found themselves totally unprepared. However, now that we have lived in this new world for more than nine months, we are all starting to realise that it’s possible to not be in the office and still be productive. Tools like Zoom have shot into the lexicon, and others like Teams have rapidly become indispensable.

Prior to Covid, we would have thought that sales without the face-to-face engagement over a cup of coffee was impossible. We now know it’s not. How much of this will remain once Covid passes remains to be seen. However, survey after survey and report after report shows that most people don’t want to go back fully to the way it was. People don’t want to give up the improvement to our work-life balance the transformation in recent months has given us.

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

Covid has forced companies to rethink the need, and viability, of having on-premises servers, now that their workforces are largely working from home. It now makes more sense to have secure, scalable, cost-effective cloud solutions.

We also see that the move away from the public cloud – at least in part, anyway – has accelerated. Companies no longer want to have all their eggs in one basket. Also, concerns around data sovereignty are increasing interest in either private or hybrid cloud solutions.

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

Again, now that people are working from home with easier access to personal devices, and working from their own WiFi, the need for clear information security policies along with comprehensive training has never been greater. Workforces are now, en masse, working outside their company’s security bubble.

Of course, there are technical solutions that companies can put in place that can mitigate many of the dangers, but the strongest defence comes from having a strong information security culture with employees who are educated and aware of the need to work with one eye on security. This can only come through well-designed education and strong policies and procedures that are supported and driven from the top down.

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