"What will make a real difference for Irish Companies is being given the tools to respond before true devastating damage can be inflicted"

Michael Conway, Director of Renaissance on the readiness of Irish Companies for cyber attacks

20th November, 2018
Picture: Maura Hickey. Michael Conway, Renaissance.

What's your name?

Michael Conway

What position do you hold?

Director at Renaissance

How long have you held the position?

31 years

What are 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 world-wide 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 the diversity is what I find so challenging and rewarding!

Everything is focussed on delivering the leading, most appropriate Cyber security 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 2nd Year – being held at IMI on November 28th. What inspires you to run this event?

I’ve felt for some-time that there was a definite gap in the sector for an expo event. There are a lot of security conferences and events happening (and the number of these are increasingly exponentially), however their focus is to educate and inform attendees what they should be doing re cyber security. Where I believe we differ, is that we are demonstrating the ‘How’ to our attendees by exhibiting the solutions, giving access to value added resellers who can deploy into existing estates and delivering insights from experts working in and around the cyber security industry.

Last November, we welcomed 600+ delegates from around the world to the IMI for the inaugural Cyber Expo Ireland. The response was over-whelming and actually in an effort to make it a true all-Ireland event, we done a mini Roadshow back in May, visiting Cork, Limerick and Belfast over a 3-day period.

The positive feedback we’ve received from all members of the security ecosystem (Vendors, Resellers, Experts & End-Users) has encouraged us to run the Expo again for the 2nd year. This year brings with it 25+ innovative, global solutions and brands in the Cyber market – some of which attended last year but a lot of new logos will be in attendance, and of course the local value added resellers who can talk with you on specific requirements and translate this Cyberscape of technologies into practical reality for your business.

Are Irish Companies ready for Cyber Security Attacks ?

Cyber-crime is now head-lining the risks for businesses in Ireland. 49% of Companies have suffered an economic crime or fraud since 2016 and this increasing trend means that economic crime in Ireland is happening faster than anywhere else in the world.

Whilst shocking, this isn’t a surprising statistic. We cannot underestimate the impact this is having on our day to day business activity and risk mitigation for our businesses. GDPR is one thing which we have all had to get geared up for this year but in doing so we maybe have diverted our focus somewhat off the very real cyber-crime storm that is continually sweeping the country.

What will make a real difference for Irish Companies is being given the tools to respond before true devastating damage can be inflicted. With the stakes rising and the cost of a breach remaining evermore debilitating, Governments and Organisations of ALL sizes are having to rethink their Cyber Strategy. We are all being forced to up our game across the entire threat lifecycle - prevention, detection, response.

What is on the agenda for the Cyber Expo this year?

This year we have a bigger and better Expo planned.

25+ Featured Vendors demonstrating world class security solutions;

Including CA technologies, Entrust Datacard, Heimdal, Indegey, Sophos,

12 Value Added Resellers, all with local presence and expertise to advise and deploy Cyber Strategies

6 Security Experts who will be delivering our ‘Cyber Security Express Talks’; Including Burning Tree, IAM Experts, RITS, Smith & Williamson, Mazars and the VM Group

We will also be launching our new Programme for 2019 during our Trade Only breakfast slot - The 5 Stage Journey from VAR to MSP.

What does the big trend towards Managed Services mean for our local VARs?

It has been clear to us for some time at Renaissance, that the transition to an MSP (Managed Services Provider) is a must for our customers – the VAR Channel – to maintain and develop value in their businesses and be best positioned to deliver the services which their customers will need in the future.

This is really easy to say but like all business strategy change, is not that straightforward to actually do and implement. If we don’t work together to embrace this change and drive it forward, then we will collectively lose out.

Hence why we are launching our Programme for 2019 as we believe we can add a lot of benefit in the MSP Security space - Remember the goal of achieving this will ensure the longevity of our Irish VAR security sector business.

Michael Conway, Director at Renaissance is hosting the 2nd Cyber Expo Ireland on November 28th, at the Irish Management Institute. To find out more, visit www.cyberexpoireland.ie

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