What's your name?
What position do you hold?
Director at Renaissance
How long have you held the position?
What is your day to day responsibilities?
Each day varies so much from the next, but in essence, my role is to head up the Cyber Security and Compliance Distribution business of Renaissance. This means everything from attending customer and partner meetings to looking at the requirements of specific customers and partners and the cyber challenges that they have on a day to day basis. It can also include visiting our worldwide vendors of leading-edge Cyber Security technologies and attending Global trade shows so that we are best prepared to deliver the new and emerging technologies to the Irish marketplace. Sadly, I wish sometimes that there was a typical day, but diversity is what I find so challenging and rewarding!
Everything is focussed on delivering the leading, most appropriate Cybersecurity technologies; educating the market, increasing awareness and making them available to the Irish marketplace.
What is your professional background?
I studied Commerce in UCD which I found gave me a terrific background in general business dynamics and understanding. I guess like all careers, it was planned in hindsight after I took a Graduate opportunity to join NCR from UCD and this set me on my journey into the IT industry and into Cyber. I wish I could say that it was all planned but when I took the role in NCR, unsure what the role actually entailed, the experience and training provided in such an international company at the start of the commercial IT industry was excellent and formative.
Tell me about yourself away from work?
Away from work I have never been bored, with a fantastic wife, two sons and now two wonderful grandchildren. I am actively involved in motor racing for my sins and yes, I still do race cars!! I tell myself it keeps me young, but delusion is sometimes a thing to cherish!!
Tell us something very few people know about you?
At weekends I can frequently be found supporting Old Belvedere Junior Rugby teams, carrying bottles and balls and running around a rugby field. It is an excellent way to switch off and get my steps up!!
You are organising the Cyber Expo Ireland for the 3
rd Year – being held at IMI on November 26th. What inspires you to run this event?
We always get great feedback and if you’re delivering an event that adds value – then we’re happy to keep running it! I would also add that this event is primarily funded by the vendors themselves which keep it free to attend for our VARs and End Users – this is important for us as a Value-Added Distributor.
We also keep tweaking where we need to – for example members of the IT-Security Ecosystem were telling us that the Cyber Expo last year was brilliant from a Solution/Product perspective, but that they could really benefit from more in-depth workshops, expert sessions detailing the ‘ How of Cyber Security
’. Often we make assumptions that business leaders understand the different types of attacks and subsequent risk mitigation options, but the industry is just changing at such a phenomenal rate that it’s so difficult to keep up – We believe that our new addition this year – the CyberConIreland will complement the Cyber Expo perfectly and add practical depth to the day for those who need it.
The CyberConIreland will incorporate world-class content from leading brands embracing and developing cutting edge technologies across 6 dedicated Streams: Identity & Rights Management | Malware | Messaging | Reputation, Compliance & Regulation | Analytics | Gateway & Network Protection. Each Stream will be chaired and facilitated by recognised Cyber Experts who will manage the session discussion during which various thought leadership presentations will take place.
What is on the agenda for the Cyber Expo this year?
This year we have the new dynamic of the Conference element, split into 6 technology streams as outlined above.
The first Stream - Identity & Rights Management
, probably one of the most challenging areas of security with Organisations transitioning to cloud services and mobile devices to cut costs and boost productivity, will be led by founder and managing director of IAM Experts
, Anthony Mornet
. One of the largest pan-European federations of experts and consultants specialised in identity access management, IAM Experts offer a pragmatic and cost-effective approach to identity access management from authentication services, access governance, privileged access management and customer identity access management
The Malware Stream
, chaired by Alex Burnham
, Director IT Audit and Security at Mazars
, will cover malware and destructive malware (The number of groups using destructive malware increased by 25 per cent in 2018!), ransomware and advanced malware remediation and protection.
Stream will discuss the evolution from Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) to meet the need for greater security across the business; more context and more insights and will be chaired by Paul Hearns
, Head of Content, Media team
. Key solutions being discussed include Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM), Behaviour Anomaly Detection (BAD or UEBA), SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation& Response), and Threat Intelligence.
Kicking off the afternoon sessions will be the Messaging
Stream. This will examine the evolution of email technologies (20.5 billion emails are sent daily!), how to ensure security& privacy with latest technologies, message encryption and integration of Document Rights into emails. This Stream will be chaired by Dr Vivienne Mee
, Founder, VM Group
; a global company, providing extensive knowledge and expertise in the area of Digital forensics, eDiscovery, Data Recovery, Information Security consulting, IT Audit, and Risk assurance services.
Information Compliance & Regulation
will examine the Classification of Data, Data protection and Data identification (GDPR, PCI). And interestingly, just when you thought that GDPR was the best-publicised topic this decade, a recent Hiscox survey of 500 UK SME's showed that 39% still didn't know who GDPR affects, and 10% didn't realise that GDPR grants new data access rights to consumers. The data makes it clear that there is always more work to be done to educate some consumers and businesses on what GDPR entails. Dave Feenan
, Innovation Programmes Manager, Skillnet
will chair this Stream. ICT Skillnet is a group of Irish companies in the Information and Communications Technology Sector who collaborate to provide advanced training and development activities for technical and engineering staff in Irish ICT companies. ICT Skillnet brings many years of developing industry-led programmes and third-level courses to foster up-skilling and enabling companies to develop relevant career paths for their employees.
And the final Stream is Gateway
& Network Protection
. Led by Sean Reynolds
, Co-founder & Director at RITS
, current trends preventing unsecured traffic from entering your internal network will be discussed. Protecting your business by protecting your employees/users from accessing and being infected by malicious Web traffic, websites and virus/malware, while also ensuring the implementation and compliance of your organisation's regulatory policy.
In addition, as Application Security
becomes increasingly an area for Cybersecurity concern, there will be a session led by Paul Farrington, CTO of Veracode
– ‘The State of Software Security and what it means for you’.
We also have 25+ Featured Vendors demonstrating world-class security solutions, Including Agari, Altaro, Appixoft, Ascertia, Bitdefender, Bluedog, Bullwall, Censornet, Clearcrypt, CoSoSys, CyberArk, Cyber Risk Aware, Cyglass, Egress, Entrust Datacard, Exo5, Fraudwatch, N-Cipher, Liquidware, OKTA, Keeper Security, Lookout, Security Scorecard, Sophos, Threatmark, Veracode and Webroot
And 10 Value Added Resellers, all with local presence and expertise to advise and deploy Cyber Strategies; Actionpoint, Ergo, Future Range, Intuity, ITMS, Leaf, NSSL, Paradyn, Qualcom, Unity
So, plenty of activity with interests to cater for all!
Do you feel that Ireland is behind the curve when it comes to Cyber Security or how do we rate compared to other Countries?
Ah, that answer could be very subjective and I’m probably biased! but I think we are definitely not behind the curve – in fact, I think we may be head of it in some regards! We have come a long way in the past few years and are starting to understand and appreciate the impact cybersecurity has on our businesses, both at a business level and at a government level.
For example, there was a recent Comparitech study which looked at 60 countries in the world and assessed them on their overall cybersecurity safety. They applied 7 criteria (from malware rates to cybersecurity-related legislation to also include their Global Cybersecurity Index), and Ireland was the 6
th most secure country from 60 in those ranked – just ahead of the UK (8
th) and just behind the US (5
th)! So, for a small country, I think we are achieving great advancements in this space and continuing to strengthen our reputation as becoming the tech capital of Europe.
Michael Conway, Director at Renaissance is hosting the 3rd Cyber Expo Ireland on November 26th, at the Irish Management Institute. T mo visit