On the lighter side of things we ask Geoff Schomburgk, Vice President for Australia & New Zealand at security keys global leader, Yubico, what makes him tick.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
From a professional perspective, working on projects to deliver business outcomes for customers across transport, telecommunications and government is hugely rewarding. But more broadly to have played a part in the global development of the technology industry, particularly the evolution of the mobile phone sector is a highlight. I’ll be able to sit back (one day) and regale stories to my grandchildren about life before mobile phones and the Internet. And with pride say that I was part of the generation that built that technology.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
I have a long-held fascination with how things work and solving problems, which led me to study engineering. I started doing mechanical engineering but quickly switched to electrical and electronics. I was never particularly good with high voltage equipment and after a couple of ‘zaps’, I decided a pursuit of electronics would be safer. At the time, significant technological developments were happening each year, technologies such as data communications, the Internet and mobile telephony made technology an exciting industry to be part of. My first job was building a new statewide mobile communications network for the emergency services and I was hooked.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
I have always focused on delivering results and never been a fan of micro-management. So, for me, an outcomes-driven approach comes naturally. Now, working with a virtual team across several continents requires a flexible and trust-based style, but still holding the team accountable for results. With the exceptionally talented team at Yubico, I think that style of working brings out the best in the team. And our results support that.
What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?
Protection and security of data has become increasingly important but even more so in the current COVID-19 adjusted world. It is really disturbing to see an increase in cyberattacks, exploiting the situation and targeting the vulnerable in our community.
Specifically, with over 80% of data breaches caused by stolen user credentials, safe and secure access to our data is a hot topic. We all want that security but in a simple uncomplicated way. The convenience and simplicity of going passwordless is certainly gaining momentum.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
I hop on my bike and go for a ride. Then sit back, have a laugh with friends over a glass of wine.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
In short, Digital Transformation. It has been talked about and hyped up for a while now, but COVID has accelerated changes to our ways of working. We have all adapted to working from home and using video conferencing effectively, to the point where many organisations can now see the benefits of Digital Transformation. But with that comes the challenge of providing a secure work environment beyond the office. So we expect further investment in Digital Transformation and associated cybersecurity protections.
With this technology transformation will come a requirement to invest in new skills and new talent for a changing workforce.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in APAC?
The diversity of business and culture across the APAC region can be a challenge, particularly when implementing new technologies. It is interesting to see how organisations address the same issues, from their differing perspectives yet end up with a positive outcome.
In the current situation, it’s frustrating not being able to travel and meet customers across APAC in person to show them how powerful our YubiKey security keys are for the increased number of remote workers.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
The main changes have been the adoption of new ways of working. I have been working with virtual teams for many years now and this has really accelerated to almost universal remote working brought on by COVID.
With these changes has come an increasing understanding of not just the technical, but also the business impact of safe secure digital work practices.
Particularly I am pleased to see the elevation of cybersecurity beyond the IT department, where C-level executives and Board directors are talking about the risks of cybersecurity practices.
The next 12 months will be an interesting ride as we all adjust to a new post-COVID normal.Click below to share this article