Forty years at the cutting edge of log management, has left Assuria’s Nick Connor with an abiding love of the field
Nick Connor has worked in IT for more than 40 years and is currently putting his experience to use at IT security firm Assuria. He thinks that consumerisation of IT is one of the industry’s biggest challenge, but he’s not one to shy away from demanding projects. That isn’t surprising when you consider that he wanted to be fighter pilot as a child!
Who do you work for, how long have you been in IT and what are your areas of expertise?
Nick Connor, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Assuria. We are a leading provider of IT security, log management and security information and event management software. My career began in 1966 so I bring more than 40 years of broad information technology experience, technical, marketing and managerial experience to Assuria. Since the mid 1990s I have focused on IT security in marketing and product management positions. I enjoy analysing and understanding business problems and applying business technologies to solve these.
Do you have a particular favourite project that you’ve worked on?
I am very lucky in that I get to work with some exciting companies in varied and interesting sectors but unfortunately they’re often classified environments! I enjoy the challenge of the classified environment though, classified projects tend to be more high risk, often have demanding timescales and come with technical uncertainties but we pride ourselves on our bespoke solutions and novel applications of technology.
What technology were you involved with ten years ago?
I was already involved in log and event management software and configuration assessment ten years ago. Although it wasn’t called SIEM at the time. Log management wasn’t very well established and centralising log data was quite a novel concept. Although logs had been around for a long time, people were just starting to appreciate the value of the data within these logs. They were typically collected and held in separate silos, for example network admins would have control of network logs, we began bringing the data together.
What do you expect to be using in ten years time?
People increasingly want actionable information. I expect the log management industry to continue to move beyond the collation of basic log data and building intelligence from data. I think it will become the norm for log data to be enriched with data from other sources, for example looking up IP addresses,or combining it with vulnerability and configuration data to get a fuller picture of how systems and data are being misused or security is being compromised
What’s your favourite technology ever made?
Advances in storage technology have been incredible, they have changed how data is used and have enabled a lot of other technologies. The iPod/iPhone/iPad are great examples of how much information individuals can carry around with them in such a small package!
What do you think is the greatest challenge for an IT company or department today?
Keeping up with rapid changes and developments in technology has always been and will continue to be a problem. This is exacerbated by the rapid consumerisation of IT. Today IT departments face the ongoing challenge of staff bringing their own devices into the workplace whilst maintaining appropriate and necessary control and not compromising security.
Are you for the cloud, or are you a cloud sceptic?
I am for what the cloud does. Most people are using the cloud even if they don’t realise it, Hotmail and Gmail are great examples of this. I find the current hype quite strange though, as the ‘cloud’ is just a modern incarnation of old technology. It’s hard to be a sceptic as there are so many pros to cloud computing, but it does create interesting problems. IT managers who have a hotch potch of cloud services, hosted machine and on-site hardware may struggle with pulling their total IT environment (in-house, hosted, private cloud and public cloud) together and assessing and managing the overall risks.
What’s your budget outlook going forward?
Planning for growth whilst preparing for costs, we would like to see our budget grow but know we need to be careful with costs in this economic environment.
Who is your tech hero and who is your tech villain?
Steve Jobs in both cases. He’s definitely an inspiration.
And finally, what did you want to be when you were a child?
Like most boys a fireman or a train driver
but really I wanted to be fighter pilot.
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