Q. As the sales team leader at our Wellington branch, tell us about your role and the expertise that our Wellington team brings to the local market?
Peter: Having spent over 25 years in various sales roles, I’m excited to be leading the team we have in Wellington. It’s my job to give the team as much guidance as I can around ‘The CodeBlue Way’.
We have a fresh approach to how we go to market. We have a team of highly technical people in business development roles here in Wellington, with the idea being that our frontline people can really relate to clients’ situations and fly the CodeBlue flag from an expertise standpoint. It’s all about adding value to our customers and prospects from the first engagement point. Gone are the days of feature-based selling, we are about helping our customers achieve their own strategic outcomes through the smart use of technology, underpinned by the services we provide.
Q. With working from home being the number one priority for many businesses over recent months, and probably moving forward as well – any suggestions to help businesses looking to improve that area of their functionality?
Peter: Some businesses were very much ready to transition and then others had to quickly pivot in a panic to enable staff to operate remotely with the Covid-19 lockdown. So, we were doing a lot of remote assistance on that front (and still are obviously) – enabling some customers to access information securely from home and servicing their staff members.
In terms of suggestions – it really comes down to facilitating streamlined access to information, and the ease of that access. So, for those using corporate-given devices, having secure access to their cloud services and any VPN’s they might need, and vice versa for those using personal devices – the secure, streamlined access is what is of the utmost importance when it comes to business continuity and overall productivity.
Q. On that note around security – we’ve seen a number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks recently. Is security really at the forefront of people’s thinking right now?
Peter: It’s certainly true that we’ve seen a large spike in malicious activity. High profile cases like the Stock Exchange being brought down leads organisations and businesses to stand up and take more notice. But it’s not just the big examples that we’re seeing. There’s also instances where people’s identities are being taken over through small data breaches and although they may seem insignificant on face value, there’s potential for big ramifications down the track. Security should be at the forefront of everyone’s focus, regardless of their size or industry.
Q. How would you rate the overall level of maturity when it comes to cyber security in NZ right now?
Peter: That’s a tricky one to definitively answer because it comes down to each individual organisation’s focus. We’ve got a number of customers who are very focused on making sure their practices are done securely and they’re protected at all times. At the same time, we’ve also got those who don’t seem to think it’s as big a problem. It really comes down to the senior management and pushing what they believe is the level of protection they need and mitigating the level of threat they see coming through.
Q. CodeBlue work a lot in the SMB space – what would you say are the biggest and most pressing threats for that market right now?
Peter: I think perhaps one of the more under acknowledged elements to security is the individual’s responsibility to take some ownership for what they’re doing. By this, I mean people that are still clicking on links they should know by now not to. We have tools in place that mitigate say 99.9% of these kinds of threats, but there always seems to be one or two that find a way to sneak through, and it starts with employee education.
We’ve seen on a few occasions recently where several people have had the ‘oh my gosh’ moments when we talk about security to staff. And it seems to be around some pretty basic things like not mixing your personal identity with your corporate identity – passwords, email addresses and things of that nature. There just seems to be a bit of disconnect around some of the more basic elements to online protection.
Q. In terms of cyber security and elevating that level of overall maturity – where do businesses need to improve the most? Is it endpoint security? Is it secure information access and processes? Or is it like you said, the element around employee education?
Peter: Right now, with the workforce so dispersed it really is about protecting your data in and out of the office with more effective authentication protocols across the board. Adopting a layered security approach to cyber security is a must. Endpoint protection systems and firewall protection still serve their purpose but this needs to be combined with Internet and content filtering, mail filtering, zero day threat protection, multifactor authentication, and wrapped up with ongoing security awareness training for staff. Some of the new technologies are great for protection as well, such as authentication and password management tools, biometrics as a form of multi-factor authentication, and the advanced IR camera’s that we’re seeing now from vendors like HP.
Q. CodeBlue have a long and demonstrated history of working alongside HP – what is it about HP device and their hardware enforced security tools that separates them from the market?
Peter: I think it’s exactly that – the hardware enforced security tools that they continue to develop. The HP Privacy Camera is a great tool for the SMB space. HP Sure Click is a great means of mitigating perhaps that lack of education around staff being able to identify a potentially malicious file or website – if the sure click box pops up, you can adopt a blanket approach across the board and not permit any staff members to ever click yes. And HP Sure Sense is another fantastic tool that you can leverage from HP devices – having that ability to identify and thwart zero-day attacks with the help of AI and machine learning, they’re great tools to have.
Q. It’s evident the challenges facing organisations and IT teams creates a constant tug-of-war to get things right from a technology standpoint, especially in terms of security – how does CodeBlue’s security services help to appease these challenges and demands that we’ve been discussing?
Peter: The day-to-day support of users can get left behind with everything an IT team is tasked with doing in the digital economy. And that’s a big part of what CodeBlue is about, we help organisations take care of the day-to-day. From endpoint security, to the datacentre and cloud, we deliver the peace of mind that all those individual vectors are being protected as best they can.
It’s a changing world, and it feels like those malicious actors that we’ve been discussing are getting more mature, the threats are becoming more complex and harder to detect. It’s a matter of addressing how to put in place the technologies that position your business best for continued success – and that’s what we at CodeBlue pride ourselves on aiding.