Interview – Tim Stringer – Blue Chip
Interview Tim Stringer
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:00:01] And I am back on Techerati Live. Thank you, everybody, for joining us. It’s been a great day, full of interviews while this next guest invited me to his Christmas party. So I return the favour and have him on the Cloud Security Expo. It is Mr. Tim Stringer from Blue Chip. Welcome.
TIM STRINGER [00:00:19] Thanks Andy, thanks for having me.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:00:23] I know Blue Chip, but do you want us to tell us a little bit about Blue Chip and what you do there?
TIM STRINGER [00:00:27] Absolutely, yeah. Thank you. So we are U.K. centric, we’re a managed service provider. So based in the U.K. We got a lot of customers in the U.K. and EMEA and a few further than that. We have our own data centres and obviously everything that sits in those. So all of this special take key vendors, the connectivity, the Cloud, which really allows us to deliver key critical I.T. services to a multitude of customers out there. Not any one vertical, which especially at the moment in the current challenges we’ve got, we’re seeing a lot of different things out there. Some customers are really challenged. Some are absolutely, you know, going a million miles an hour. So yes we do a lot of different things but underpinning all of that is security. So for us, we’ve got to deliver it securely, swiftly and deliver that assurance to our customers that we’ve got the crown jewels and actually that they’re in good hands now.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:01:22] I mean, I’ve been to one of your data centres, and it really is like Fort Knox, you’ve covered absolutely everything and you have some fantastic credentials, a fantastic case studies. We had Chris Smith on earlier, on one of the panels speaking about these things. But let’s focus on security and Blue Chip, particularly at the moment. We’re in a current situation lockdown. You’ve kind of mentioned it with clients, but how have you been delivering security during this current crisis that we’re in?
TIM STRINGER [00:01:52] Yeah, it’s really interesting. I think the last 3 or 4 months has really turned the world on its head and security as a whole, you know, if you want the clock back to March, February, March time, there was a speed and a need and I think what we saw and the industry saw was actually the facilitation of business had to continue and at some point whether that be a risk decision or whether that be other things that we’re not normally done, people had to work remotely as a tremendous shift to be able to get access and continue to the critical things you and I, you know, take for granted if I’m in the office, you know what I can do and so we saw that across all the industries. I mean, we’re really fortunate from our perspective because we’ve got, you know, a lot of customers that try that, test that and facilitate that regulatory BCP continuity testing that we work with them on so actually, it was it was a prechecked, pretested theory. It just rolled into being evidence. What we’re seeing them now wind the clock forward and people talk around the new normal. I don’t think it’s the new normal. I think it’s just something new from my perspective. You know, we always look back, you know, there’s a reason the rear-view mirror is a little bit smaller than the windscreen infront of you but from a perspective of we know where we are, we know we’ve come from, we take the good bits from that. But actually, we’ve got to move this forward. We have to continue and actually not build risk in, while continue to deliver effective, secure, critical things to customers.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:03:18] You’ve been. It’s really interesting because you’ve been working in you know, every time I try to get someone in Blue Chip to do anything I have to keep getting the security approval from Mr. Tim Stringer. So you are the best person for me to ask this, but you were developing a lot Cloud technology and the things that you’ve been offering and Cloud technology has been like constantly discussed during this lockdown because people suddenly had to just have a remote workforce and the Cloud technology, what types of Cloud technologies have you seen that Blue Chip have particularly seen an increase in recently.
TIM STRINGER [00:03:57] The key high level bits are, you know, the virtualisation, the ability to expand very quickly in the shifting dynamic nature. You know, as I say, 3, 4 months ago, we saw the data and the patterns that people would be accessing so the amount of IP traffic was in and out of certain points the network and enterprises, overnight that shifted. So actually, you know what? Everyone’s at home and our friends on the Internet. With that comes challenges. But that’s what the Internet was built for. You know what that’s actually really putting it to some good use. The key bit is for us, the security professionals is actually making sure that we can do that in a safe manner. So that, you know, we feel comfortable and confident when reporting up to the exaction the board and also to our customers to say, actually, yeah, we’re flexible where we’re building and creating, continuing that value. We’re not bringing risk in and we’re not bringing in additional challenges or threats or risks into your business because of that.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:04:49] It’s interesting, I actually spoke to one of your client. I won’t say who, one of your client recently was a financial institution and singing your praisesbut it’s going to lead me to my next question, which is more of a generalised topic around the different types of Clouds that people have been adopting so let’s say that people have been going on private Cloud, public Clouds, hybrid Clouds. What stuff have you been doing to secure these in some ways, very public type of Clouds?
TIM STRINGER [00:05:22] Yeah, I mean, the methodology is obviously very, very similar so when we talk private Cloud, it’s, you know, entities, enterprises that have a flexible approach, that the public Cloud are the big aggregators and the disruptors that we all know about. And how we actually can interface seamlessly into that. There’s you know, people will always talk on a shared responsibility matrix or a shared responsibility model. And the key but there’s the assumption that everything’s okay. So as well as it’s scalable and fast and quick and responsive, the provider, whoever the provider is, is doing all of this for you and making sure that it’s done. We know that historically and that assumption is a terrible thing that gap, as can often lead to challenge. The validity on the clarity urge to who’s doing what responsibility, where it lies, gives the organisations and people the peace of mind that actually their data and the most important thing that brings that business with it keeps them going and secure is actually in good hands. And I think that’s an ongoing thing. You know that the speed and pace of change is phenomenal with Cloud. And you talk around hybrid, public, private. I look at them all together as one because it does not one size fits all. But the ideology and the way people deal with it should be the same. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in a public Cloud or private Cloud. Your information is one of the most important things you’ve got once it’s gone. You don’t get that back. So the ability to prove you’ve got it, that it’s safe and it remains so is absoloutely key.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:06:48] Fantastic. Well, Tim, I could ask you so many other questions. Unfortunately. I’ve got one left for you today. I’m afraid these are short. Let’s talk about after lockdown. When things go back to normal and everything’s happy again. Well, whatever that looks like, the new normal is sometimes the buzz word that’s coming out. I believe that you guys have kind of been beavering a way to adapt and enhance security for what happens after all of this is. Could you give us any insight into that?
TIM STRINGER [00:07:23] Yeah, a little bit. I mean, I think as I said briefly before, we’ve been looking at almost you know, historically, the valley preservation and the value creation, what does that actually look like? You know, people are remote at the minute. I think we’ll see a shift in due course. When and how and how much. Who knows? You know, we’re all mostly working from home. And the few of us that are in the office now and again are seeing that. But actually, there are different ways of conducting business. And we were all on video today. You know and the adoption of that has gone through the roof. But still, it has to be secure the way we make customers interact, deal, negotiate and win business as well is changing. And I think the ability of those really sensitive conversations to prove that actually they’re not being intercepted, are not being listened to, they’re not being replayed or people joining that shouldn’t join all of those elements. But the key but for us is obviously from a business perspective. We’ve still got our core critical DC’s which hold the crown jewels. It’s how we get into those and how uses efficiently get what they need without as i said adding risk that’s one of our key elements.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:08:33] I had heard stories of you guys working over Easter to get projects and new clients coming on board and saying, we want to do this now. We hadn’t planned it before, but we need to do it in a secure way so it’s been a very interesting time. A very, very interesting time.
TIM STRINGER [00:08:50] Yes, it’s been really good.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:08:54] I also wanna say Tim that I think you do win the award for the best background today because you set up a cool window just looking at the forests. We’re all thoroughly jealous. Yeah. So, Mr. Tim Stringer, you’ve been an absolute star. Thank you so much for joining us today. And I’m sure we’ll speak again soon.
TIM STRINGER [00:09:16] Thank you for having me, Thanks Andy.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:09:19] That was Tim Stringer now from Blue Chip. The man is very much around security, he has achieved some fantastic things in all the time that I’ve known a great man.