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60 seconds with…Systems Security Architect, Iakovos Triantafyllou

This week we turn the spotlight on Iakovos. Delving into the world of cybersecurity, he discusses how technology has become such an integral part of our daily lives and helped us overcome the challenges brought about by Covid-19…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

Science and technology fascinated me from a young age. I got my first computer (an Amstrad CPC) at the age of six. Games aside, it acted as an introduction to programming. With more capable computers replacing it down the line, things transitioned to the, “what could I do with this” way of thinking… and the rest is history!

And what was the biggest attraction for you?

The biggest attraction of technology in general and security more specifically is how we are transitioning as a civilisation to be more digitally-dependent, yet very few people still think about the safety aspects of these new emerging technologies and trends. Back in the ‘70s and‘80s people were paranoid that their phones were being tapped and individuals could be listening to their conversations. However, now there’s one in every room and users asking, their device what the weather is going to be like today.

The level of critical thinking and detail required to look at, and evaluate, the effectiveness of a solution – from top to bottom – also helps in gaining a better understanding. From hacking my cable modem and increasing the connection speed, to building an airplane transponder tracking system with a cheap USB-based TV tuner and a Raspberry Pi, it is all good fun and helps me learn something new every day.

While there are a lot of people that enjoy a challenge and the subsequent learning, sadly, there are also many malicious individuals that try to take advantage. Being able to help build secure products that are protected against such abuse to help consumers is something I really value.

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at IDS)?

Passion for technology and commitment. New types of products and advancements mean that we need to keep our skills up-to-date constantly. We’re caught in a constant game of cat and mouse against skilled people without the best intentions. We need to always try to be a step ahead.

And what is the biggest challenge that the data industry currently faces?

There is a substantial shortage of skilled professionals in my field to cover the current need for specialists. This is by far the biggest challenge our sector is facing and we are seeing the results in numerous cases of cyberattacks towards the government and private sectors.

Enterprise compromises, fraud, personal data leakages, poor home/IoT protection, and many other breaches are constantly taking place.

What are the key things that make IDS stand out from the crowd?

We have invested in security and made it part of our entire product lifecycle. It is not an afterthought when building a product, but forms part of the design and is adopted from the ground up. Aside from the obvious benefit to the client – that the solution is ‘secure by design’ – this reduces the risks and provides assurance to end-users and investors alike.

IDS employs specialists across several different fields and my colleagues are highly experienced professionals. Collaboration and peer-review are not only welcomed but encouraged, and this ultimately leads to better quality products that we can all be proud of.

And what has tech taught or given us to help us overcome the challenges resulting from Covid19?

Covid-19 has been the singular most disruptive event on day-to-day life and business globally in living memory. As terrible and as disruptive as it has been, it has shown that technology can help overcome many challenges – and it has highlighted just how much we depend on it.

We have seen retailers and organisations with no online presence forced to close, whereas others with a multi-channel presence are not only surviving but thriving. For example, supermarkets have shifted to provide more Click and Collect and online shopping options too — transitioning from brick and mortar shops during lockdowns.

Technology has allowed millions of people to transition into working efficiently and securely from home with no impact on the companies that employ them. Several studies suggested that this has been so effective and, in the majority of cases, employers are offering hybrid solutions to mix remote settings with an office-based environment. This has led to savings for both the individual as well as the organisations in terms of reducing its estate and carbon footprint.

In addition, it has also highlighted the other, less attractive side of technology adopters — the malicious users and fraudsters who take advantage of any situation for profit. This is where the cybersecurity systems and professionals come in — to help protect the more vulnerable members of our community.

Complete the sentences:

The piece of tech that has had the biggest impact in the world is…

the transistor.

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is…

an NVIDIA Jetson Nano kit.

By the end of 2021, technology will have made businesses more…


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