David O Sullivan
Head of IT – Aurivo
Aurivo is a global agribusiness with exciting consumer brands and a diverse portfolio across dairy ingredients, consumer foods and health & nutrition, retail and lifestyle stores, animal nutrition and livestock marts.
How many years are you working in the IT industry?
34 years – since 1988
What was your first job in this area?
I was an AS/400 Analyst/Programmer working with Waterford Crystal, programming in RPG, busy on transformation projects such as order scheduling improvements and on a BPCS ERP project.
What is the best piece of advice anyone has given you in your IT career?
The technology industry is essentially a fashion industry beset with inflated marketing claims, so beware of oversold technologies and solutions. It is up to you to carry out enough due diligence to ensure that technology you are buying is suited to your requirements.
What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date in your career?
I am proudest of my role in leading the IT team in the Waterford Crystal Division through the insolvency of Waterford Wedgwood PLC through to leading technology transformation in the newly created Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton (WWRD).It was a very challenging period for us all, but it was a great learning experience for me personally. I am delighted that many members of my old team continue to play leading roles in IT in Fiskars globally, the company that bought WWRD in 2015.
What do you believe will shape or shift the IT industry most in the next 12 months?
I think cybersecurity, zero trust (ZTNA), incident response, etc. will continue to be front and centre for the IT industry.
Tell us your best practices for approaching cybersecurity in your organisation?
We have a layered approach to cybersecurity. We focus on network monitoring to ensure visibility of our networks, infrastructure reliability to ensure we are not needlessly distracted by preventable issues, cyber awareness training for users, least privilege and zero trust access for all systems, centralisation and protection of our most valuable data, robust data backup strategies, highly functional management tools that improve the visibility of our estate and act as early warning systems for potential problems and strategic partnerships with external organisations such as Trend and Enterprise Defence.
When it comes to cyber security,what key advice would you give to your
peers looking to implement a cybersecurity strategy for their organisation?
There are many products and resources that are useful including endpoint and
server protection, extended detection and response, patching platforms, monitoring and forensics platforms such as GigaFlow, but an engaged, educated and motivated team is critical to effective cyber-defence.
If you could have any three cybersecurity products/resources for
your department, what would you choose?
Information and communications technology is central to the mission of all
modern organisations. Technology is to business as the skeleton and muscles are to the body. Don’t skimp on IT. Definitely don’t skimp on cybersecurity as its core to safeguarding your ability to trade. Regarding cyberattacks, it’s best to assume that you will be hit at some point. It is critical to ensure that there is a tested incident response and recovery plan and supporting infrastructure and systems to enable recovery from the inevitable.