We caught up with Fortinet’s Head of UK and Ireland, Paul Anderson, to find out what makes him tick…
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
It may be a cliché, but my daughter never ceases to amaze me. Our job as parents is to encourage our kids to reach for the stars while keeping their feet on the ground and I try to apply that same principle with my team at work, supporting them so they too can become superstars.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
At heart, I’m an engineer. When I first started working in engineering, we were just beginning to apply computing and technology to design and manufacturing. I developed an increasing interest in technology and that led me to developing a career within that space.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
For me, the most important thing is to empower the people around you and help them grow and be the best they can. I always tell my managers that you need to get in the boat with your team, meaning that you need to stand side by side with them, be inclusive and collaborative with them. The other thing I’ve learnt over the years is to make tough decisions quickly and follow my gut feeling.
What do you think will emerge as the technology trend of 2019 and why?
With the advent of 5G, more and more computing will start happening at the edge instead of in the data centre or the cloud. Therefore, organisations are going to start focusing more on that edge and will focus more on the technologies that can help them secure and manage edge devices.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
Addressing the skills gap within the cybersecurity space is a continuing challenge. According to an ISACA workforce development survey, 59% of organisations have unfilled cybersecurity positions, with Frost & Sullivan forecasting a shortfall of 1.5 million by 2020. This growing security challenge is reaching a critical point. Failure to address it now has the potential to disrupt the emerging global digital economy. Governments, organisations and educational institutions need to work together – and invest in training – to address this skills gap.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside of the office?
I’m passionate about motorcycles. I find riding and racing my bike is a great way to completely take myself away from work. Nothing clears your head like riding a motorcycle fast and concentrating on staying alive.
If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?
I don’t think I’d change anything. Where I am in life – which I think is a very good place – is a result of all of my previous decisions. Every decision I’ve made has been a learning exercise which has contributed to getting me to where I am now.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in Europe?
Going beyond Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation – which any company working with the EU needs to comply with – regional regulation and compliance laws must also be taken into account. For example, when it comes to hiring decisions, the process is usually different in Germany than it is in the UK because employment laws are different.
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?
My role in itself hasn’t changed over the past year – but a lot around it has. Over the past 12 months I’ve been focused on helping to reshape the business with the goal of gaining market share. There have been changes in management, we’ve hired quite a few people and we’ve been busy growing the business so that we can accelerate that growth and take a leadership position against our main competitors. This is something we want to continue doing – and which will keep me busy in the months ahead.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry?
You have to invest in people to ensure you acquire the right talent for your team. You can never be successful if you don’t have a strong group of people around you. Empower them to make the right decisions and they’ll help carry you to the top.