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Speed Data: Preparing for the Unknown in Cybersecurity With Ian Hill

Ian Hill, the Director of Information and Cybersecurity for Upp Telecommunications, offers his take on AI and the future of tech, shares his tricks for a good cyber defense, and explains why the best-laid plans of mice and security professionals often go astray.
Megan Garza
2 min read
Last updated March 25, 2024
Megan Garza and Ian Hill

Welcome to Speed Data: Quick Conversations With Cybersecurity Leaders. Like speed dating, our goal is to capture the hearts of CISOs with intriguing, unique insight in a rapid format for security professionals pressed for time.

This week, we are joined by Ian Hill, the Director of Information and Cybersecurity for Upp Telecommunications. Ian chatted with host Megan Garza and offered his take on AI and the future of tech, shared his tricks for a good cyber defense, and explained why the best-laid plans of mice and security professionals often go astray.



Mitigating never-ending risks

In today’s digital world, where humans depend on technology and connectivity, risks continue to mount daily — a fact that doesn’t sit well with Ian Hill.

People going about their day-to-day lives are at greater risk than ever to a cyberattack and compromise.
Ian Hill, Director of Information and Cybersecurity for Upp Telecommunications

“I enjoy doing something about it," the Director of Information and Cybersecurity for Upp Telecommunications said. "I enjoy making a difference.”

Ian’s desire to help others is one of the reasons the published author and lecturer has volunteered with ISC2 since 2009, teaching students how to stay safe online and become responsible digital citizens. He cautions, however, that even the most educated and knowledgeable tech users are at a disadvantage when it comes to predicting the future.

Accountability: a strong defense

“The greatest risk is you don’t know what you don’t know,” Ian said. He goes on to mention the famous quote: “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”

“It doesn’t matter how much you plan,” Ian said, “When you get hit, it’s not going to go to plan."

You need to be agile and think outside the box because it’s never going to go the way you think it is.
Ian Hill, Director of Information and Cybersecurity for Upp Telecommunications

And when you get hit, Ian says the best defense is a strong sense of awareness and accountability among the entire organization, not just the IT department.

“Cybersecurity is everyone’s problem and everyone’s responsibility,” he said. “But actually enacting that, and deploying it within the business, is probably the most effective instrument you can deploy.”

Although no one can know how the wind will shift, Ian is pretty confident he can hang his hat on artificial intelligence.

“AI has been the big thing this year,” he said. “Everybody’s talking about AI. It’s going to be the big shift from two things — there’s going to be a lot greater reliance on technology, but within that, automation is a big thing.”

“The old school way of where you’ve got lots of people staring at a screen waiting for something to happen, well as soon as that pops up on your screen, it’s too late. So, I see a much greater reliance and deployment of automation that links with AI.”

All tech that glitters is not gold.

Ian offers wisdom for the future wave of cybersecurity professionals: slick marketing tactics may grab attention, but when making decisions about your DSPM, you must first weigh the business goals and objectives.

If I was to give a piece of advice for future cybersecurity professionals, I’d say, ‘Don’t be blinded by the bling.‘
Ian Hill, Director of Information and Cybersecurity for Upp Telecommunications

“Don’t get sucked in by the sales pitch that this wonderful new tool is going to fix all your cybersecurity problems," Ian said.

“Every day, I get cold calls, emails, and things like that from yet another cyber vendor trying to sell me their snake oil. That’s not how it works. I see a lot of new people coming up through the ranks, and they’re going to all the conferences, and it’s like, ‘Wow! This new shiny bit of software is everything I need!’ It’s not as simple as that.”

He went on to stress the importance of favoring functionality over flash. “You need to think top down,” Ian said. “You need to think, ‘What are the business goals and objectives?’ Security must be aligned with the business goals and objectives and work your way down.”

No matter how impressive a sales presentation may be, in the long run, focusing on anything else simply won’t work.

What you should do now

Below are three ways we can help you begin your journey to reducing data risk at your company:

  1. Schedule a demo session with us, where we can show you around, answer your questions, and help you see if Varonis is right for you.
  2. Download our free report and learn the risks associated with SaaS data exposure.
  3. Share this blog post with someone you know who'd enjoy reading it. Share it with them via email, LinkedIn, Reddit, or Facebook.

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