Interview – Allan Behrens – Taxal
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:00:01] Hello and welcome to Techerati Live we are on our Security edition with The Cloud and Cybersecurity Expo. And my name is Andrew McLean. I’ll be joining you for the final hour of interviews before the, I don’t want to say save the best for last. But the panel at the end. We were having our final panel on cybersecurity. So we have we’ve had so many fantastic guests this morning and this afternoon, some fantastic presenters. Unfortunately, you now got me but everybody’s watching in America. Good morning. Good morning. We’ve been going all day, so be sure you catch up on the replay. So it is my absolute pleasure to be joined by my guest today. A someone I’ve interviewed before usually has a bit more of an interesting background, but he’s opted for the safe option today as Mr. Allan Behrens from Taxal. Alan, welcome.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:00:58] Good morning. Good afternoon. Depending where you are.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:01:02] So, Allan, I know alot about you. But as this is short interview, I’m gonna ask you, what is Taxal Data and what do you do?
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:01:11] We’re industry analysts and we look at the interface between technology and manufacturing companies primarily. Very interesting stuff. I love manufacturing. And, you know, we try and keep abreast of what the technology does for people. Very difficult, certainly in current times.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:01:31] Well, I mean, Allan, you know more about manufacturing and in industrial, particularly industrial IoT he than anyone I know. So let’s talk about security around that. What are the other big points of security that manufacturing is currently talking about, looking at?
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:01:50] Well, there are a number of different issues. I mean, the first is manufacturing is very different to domains like finance and the like. There’s a lot of very heavy data that’s that’s around not only that’s being used, certainly the design phase of products and those sort of environments, but also in the manufacturing side. So the manufacturing side obviously, certainly within the COVID environment, I don’t think that much has changed outside of the fact that this social distancing and you need state special precautions. So on the design side, the people that are not, you know, not factory base, there is a has been quite a change. And this has got some serious ramifications on companies. Larger companies have I.T. departments. I need to bear this in mind. Larger I.T. organisations, the organisations that have big I.T. installations, have got people to manage people offsite. Smaller companies haven’t, right? So when you get these people with design files, which may be a gigabyte speed going off sides, can you imagine the implications not just in the performance but also in security? And I think that’s concerning a lot of companies.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:03:06] Yeah, I mean, I imagine it is. And imagine it’s a huge, huge thing. I mean, has this all kind of changed because of this current situation that we’re in?
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:03:17] Well, I think it’s caused a lot of people off guard. I think in general, I think what’s happening with COVID is that it’s caused a lot of companies off guard. A lot of people are having to move to digital or certain aspects of digital much faster than they ever would have wished in the past. Manufacturing is not the most of I.T. dynamic industries. I regret to inform you there’s a lot of heavy metal, a lot of cutting, drilling and the like. And the I.T. See departments similarly not as potentially open to or haven’t been as open to things like Cloud or dynamic collaboration over digital means. As other people. So this really has caused a lot of people off guard. It’s brought forward a lot of change within those companies. And I personally think change for good. What they do need is some support to help them feel comfortable and have the technologies to be secure. And we’re talking about security in this instance. And to see what actually will give them good return in short timescales. You talked about IoT, IoT t is a great way of remotely sensing actuating, etc. to various technologies. You know, and in the world of manufacturing and products as we know them. Can you imagine a lot of the products that are out there in the world don’t have these sort of sensors or actuators and they’re not secure? Well, they don’t need to be secure. There’s probably no sensors in activators on them. So there is something that’s happening here. It is really a huge dynamic. It’s changing. I think manufacturing for the good towards more digital era. Mm hmm.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:04:59] I mean, we’ve spoken before all this lockdown business started about manufacturing, digital transformation, whatever the buzzwords are that go around it. But it was really much about change. About changing these things in the projects. Yeah. Security kept coming up. We need to make changes in the security. Has this whole thing just, I think you’ve pretty much said this, but this whole thing’s pushed it into the forefront like we need to make some changes. And in some instances of these changes been rapid and maybe not in a great way. Rapid.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:05:31] Well, yeah. So, the answer is yes and yes. So very rapid and probably more rapid than the companies have got the ability to manage securely. When I say security, you don’t know that something’s insecure. You know, when you’re incompetently conscious or incompetent or unconsciously incompetent, I think is the word you have.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:05:56] We don’t have all the information to hand. Yes.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:05:59] You don’t know what’s wrong. You don’t know if you’ve got a problem, especially a game, especially the smaller companies who don’t have people to oversee the interrelationships between the remote workers and their sites. There’s also at the same time as all of us, there’s been this huge change in the supply chain environment. There’s a lot of people who haven’t been able to get good. So, they’re trying to be in sourcing from new suppliers who tend to trust that they haven’t had as much time as they normally would do to audits the technologies they use or the communications mechanisms that are in place. So, yeah, it’s ‘blocked” for a lot of things, not necessarily for the good. They’re trying to catch up really quickly. I.T. companies can help them. But again, it is quite difficult. When everybody’s remote.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:06:50] No, I mean, there absolutely is. There’s been a huge wave of people suddenly haven’t worked from home and they’ve dusting off laptops that they had like in a garage and trying to get it in. All the I.T. and security people have been tearing their hair out, if they have any. And it’s I mean, I must be a nightmare for security in some ways, but for something like manufacturing where it’s. I don’t I say traditional, but when it’s a little bit of a slow-moving tanker to turn. This must be a rapid tretbar. Do you think that this because this has pushed manufacturing in this direction when this is all over and we’re all back to normal? Fingers crossed very soon. Do you think the industry will be the better for it?
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:07:38] Oh, without a doubt. I mean, I am a great supporter of digitising manufacturing and getting people to trust the technology. It’s been a real big issue, you know, and this is why it’s they’ve been slow to change. They are traditional, I think is a word. I wouldn’t say slower. I’d say traditional. And getting them to trust the software, getting them to trust Cloud computing in the first instance was, has always been a challenge. We just are overcoming the hurdle of that before this pandemic struck. And the most you know, and I’ve done surveys on this, the most important aspects of why don’t you trust Cloud? As an example, is because of the security aspects, right? I mean, there is this additional challenge of the volumes of data that needs to transact between locations or people in their sites because they are not Cloud oriented yet. I mean, it is just it is really only getting to the cusp. This is brought forward all those plans. This is put people’s minds on Cloud, security, you know, remote operation IoT, industrial IoT. How they can operate new mechanisms of workflow. It is exciting. I think they’re going to benefit out of it, to be honest.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:09:01] Well, it’s certainly going to be a very interesting transition. It’s going to be very interesting to see the security implications of that. I’d love to talk longer. You know, I would but these interviews are rather short, so I’m just going to wrap up and say thank you so much. Allan Behrens from Taxal. And thanks for your insight.
ALLAN BEHRENS [00:09:20] Thanks very much.
ANDREW MCLEAN [00:09:22] That was Allan Behrens from the Taxal talking about manufacturing and industry. Please, everybody makes a comment below and like and ask us any questions, even if it’s just to tell me to be quiet. We’re going to take a quick break and I will be back with you. This next guest, I’ll tell you in the intro, back a bit.