Is IT The Real Game Changer?

By John Quirk, Vice President of Network Operations & Manny Landron, Chief Information Security Officer, IAT Insurance Group

John Quirk, Vice President of Network Operations, IAT Insurance GroupWhat according to you are the current market trends that are shaping IT services?

It’s no surprise that cloud-based subscription and hosting offerings are shaping the IT Services industry. The ability to take advantage of these new offerings are often hindered by a lack of internal expertise required to support them, as well as the lock-in to legacy technology (e.g. capital investment, contracts). New offerings and technology capabilities are rapidly becoming available and even companies with a large IT staff cannot keep their workforce trained fast enough, so there will be a big push to a new hybrid IT support model where you have a mix of internal IT staff with supplemental managed services. – John Quirk.

There is an emphasis on detection response in addition to the prevention of the threats. Many security providers and vendors are focusing on the endpoint; though these solutions may seem compelling, few are holistic in their approach. Many organizations are not able to keep up with the pace at which data is generated, which is yet another challenge that we face these days. – Manny Landron

Could you elaborate on the business outcomes from an organization point of view and the ways in which you would deliver it?

Traditional IT services focus on providing the hardware, software and the services to deliver a particular solution but often do not look at your organization’s ability to support the new solution. Once deployed, there is a financial incentive for IT providers to keep you locked-in to these solutions to maintain their revenue from maintenance contracts, additional licenses, hardware upgrades and additional delivery services. There needs to be accountability from IT providers beyond the delivery of a point solution and they need to consider your organization’s ability to support the technology while designing a solution against lock-in. – John Quirk

Manny Landron, Chief Information Security Officer, IAT Insurance GroupMany managed service providers do provide a certain level of service concerning cybersecurity triage and alerting. But still, few provide you with the capability to effectively respond. They’re not going to walk you through and offer you guidance on how to react with specific events. But at the end of the day, we need to commoditize that response and leverage any third party that promises to provide, managed security services to help guide that response. – Manny Landron                      

What according to you are the major challenges that organizational CISOs face?

I think the biggest challenge is to understand what your staffing model is going to look like to support the capabilities you want to bring in. New capabilities can be introduced very quickly, and companies don’t necessarily have staff that understands them at an enterprise level to support at the production enterprise level. So to me, the challenge is how to figure out what the right staffing model is, how we build that partnership with a strategic partner, and how they will guide us as we make this transition.We want to bring the best solutions to our environment, but at the same time support them in a reasonable model from a cost perspective and a partner perspective. – Manny Landron

What advice would you like to give to your peers who are in the same industry?

There needs to be a shift in your relationship with IT providers from a pure “IT Delivery” model to a “Strategic Partner” model. The shift needs to focus on helping you plan for the integration and consumption of these services, build the right hybrid support model and protect your organization from technology lock-in. You also need to understand the total cost to deliver your various infrastructure capabilities including the IT support costs. Review your contracts and when they come up for renewal, validate you want to continue with this solution and avoid the three to five-year lock-in if you can (even if they try to incentivize you with lower annual cost) – that time frame is a lifetime from a technology perspective. – John Quirk.

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