Part of the IT Leaders 100 – a list of the most influential IT leaders in the UK
Ian has over 20 years of information and cyber security experience at all levels; is a published author, magazine and journal article writer; and a keynote speaker and thought leader at international conferences on the subject of information & cyber security. He holds various security certifications and memberships and has extensive knowledge and experience of all aspects of information security, from the technical through to strategic and compliance.
Ian is currently director of cyber security for BGL Insurance, one of the country’s largest InsureTech businesses, providing a range of motor, home and life insurance products in partnership with leading financial brands. In the past he has led security at Royal BAM Group and KCOM.
How do you ensure diversity is taken into account in your IT recruitment?
The whole diversity & inclusion debate has become too politicised by agendas that are not necessarily aligned to the business goals and objectives. My job is to protect the business, its employees and customers, and in the context of recruitment I do that very much from a monochrome perspective. I employ people for their experience, abilities, skill, personality, etc. The last two teams I’ve built have been incredibly diverse, not because I deliberately set out to achieve diversity, but that just happens to be the people who were the best fit for what I wanted to achieve.
Which technology are you currently most excited by?
I’m fascinated by robotics and drone technology, particularly when combined with advances in AI. I would say I’m excited by it, but also somewhat nervous as to where it’s all going. I think rise of the machines is highly plausible.
What do you do to unwind?
Given the job I do I never really unwind, but when I’m slightly less wound up than usual, I brew beer.
If you were an animal (other than human), which animal would you be and why?
A cat, because mine spend all day lazing about, sunning themselves and eating without a care in the world
What makes you laugh?
I have quite a dark sense of humour, which has changed over time, but still after over 40 years Monty Python’s Life of Brian will always have me in stitches.
How did you get into IT?
I left school at 16 to become an apprentice at BT. After a few years I ended up in their private services control in Cambridge, co-ordinating the installation of private circuits, which was my first introduction to using computers. At about the same time I brought an ORIC 1 and taught myself to programme it. I was so fascinated by the technology and its potential that I somewhat precociously walked into a local computer dealer and asked for a job – which, by some miracle, they gave me on the spot.