CTO Insights January Newsletter

CTO Insights January 2024  

A new year, a new set of technology challenges and opportunities to tackle in 2024. As always with a new year, it’s a chance to look forward. This being IT let’s not look too far forward though! What’s likely to be challenging us in the first part of 2024? 

No escaping the AI beast 

The use of AI will continue to dominate business IT conversations. Microsoft’s co-pilot, OpenAI, Google etc are all continuing to push driving these technologies into every area of our lives. Co-Pilot is a particularly interesting one, with Microsoft already including it as an app in Windows 11, free as part of its Bing Chat service, and of course as an increasing presence across Microsoft 365.   

It’s not just here though. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES2024) AI was front and centre. This included the intriguing Rabbit R1 which is an AI-powered “pocket companion”, imagine a smartphone with an AI interface. Techradar also ran a story from CES about Volkswagen being the latest car manufacturer to build ChatGPT into their cars, although I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that, it shows how AI will continue to become ever more pervasive. 

As IT business leaders we do need to prepare for this and have the appropriate controls in place to protect to ensure we use AI appropriately in both business and personal settings. 

The Cybersecurity threat isn’t going anywhere 

No surprise here as cybersecurity is never going to be done. A friend of, Kirk Ryan, recently posted this blog regarding cybersecurity trends in 2024.  Two tips caught my attention. His “AI Arms Race” pointed towards the cyber security threat posed by AI. How technology such as deepfake presented new threats that in reality are difficult to stop. This is an emerging area business and security leaders need to understand and find ways to identify these threats, much of this will need to be manual, however, as right now it’s hard for technology alone to stop. 

He also discusses “The Great Cloud Caper. Cloud has certainly increased the threat posed by leaked credentials and poorly configured security. While leaked credentials leading to the deletion of cloud infrastructure is thankfully rare, less rare is the threat posed by misconfigured cloud accounts and services, we continue to hear of misconfigured cloud repositories leading to significant data leaks.  

How secure is your cloud infrastructure? This is a question we should all be asking. Certainly, we should be carrying out regular basic security auditing to ensure we don’t have basic misconfigurations. We should ensure we are not over-provisioning guest access to our Teams groups and SharePoint sites or having under-protected, over-elevated accounts that if breached can be used to raise havoc in our cloud environments.  

Managing Costs  

Not surprisingly, we are going to see continued economic pressures on business and IT is a part of that. Whether it’s capital expenditure or operational costs the need for better insights into them is becoming increasingly in demand, especially with cloud spend. Having insights, especially predictive insight, into cloud costs should be a consideration for anyone with any kind of complexity to their cloud environments, especially those with multi-cloud setups. Knowing the best place to run a workload, and understanding how to ensure you are right-sizing them can have a significant impact on overall costs reducing them significantly.  But this is also true on-premises, making sure we are running a right-sized environment can reduce capital and operational costs. It’s a difficult area to manage, but it is, and rightly, going to stay high on the agenda as we move through 2024. 

While no doubt there are other areas of interest, I imagine much of the initial part of 2024 will see us dealing with those three areas. 

Tech Takeaways 

New year, new episodes! In 2024’s first episode, we are discussing alternative networks. These are connectivity providers who live outside of the UK’s traditional BT and Virgin media networks. Alt-nets own their infrastructure and build their services, which opens a range of custom services that can appeal to businesses of all types. Is an Alt-Net something that you could use? Dave Ferry of ITS joins us to explain more. Find the video version here or if you prefer audio it’s here 

CTO Insights  

In episode 2 of CTO Insights, I’m joined by NetApp field CTO, Grant Caley. With 20+ years at storage vendor NetApp, Grant has great experience and he shares a broad set of insights into the data industry. Join me as we explore the future of data ranging from cost optimisation to backup and recovery. 

You can watch the video here or if you prefer listen to the audio version here. 

Thanks for reading CTO Insights, look out for more coming soon. 


CTO Insights December Newsletter – Black Hat Europe Special

CTO Insights December Newsletter – black hat Europe Special 

The end of the year is quickly approaching and of course, your mailbox will be full of lookbacks and look-forwards, so I’ll save you one more by not doing any of that here. Instead, I thought I’d share with you some of my findings from my trip last week to black hat Europe in London (Dec 4th– 7th), now that’s much more fun, isn’t it? 

The sessions 

As it turned out I didn’t get a chance to do as many sessions as I would have liked, but the ones I did were interesting.  

The threat of DeepFakes 

I’ve spoken with a few industry experts on this topic this year and it’s going to be a huge challenge. This year has seen the commoditisation of Generative AI. This has created opportunities for businesses to find new ways to innovate, but it has also introduced new ways to innovate for cybercriminals. If you think about some of the uses of this tech, we already see from Instagram to Zoom, the ability to, in real-time, add filters, change the look of someone, and add backgrounds, all in an app at the click of a button. Cybercriminals are similarly using these accessible tools to carry out more innovative attacks. For example, companies such as resemble.ai which allow for speech creation are being used to try to carry out attacks against either voice security or to try to con an individual into engaging in a conversation. This type of attack is very difficult to recognise and stop and shows the scale of the challenge. There is little by way of technology that can tackle this currently, so awareness and education are crucial in trying to tackle it, knowing it’s a risk and looking at how to recognise it is essential. One good but of advice here was to remember some of the basics of cybersecurity if you are not expecting it then treat it as suspicious. 

As a little addition to this, I grabbed this screenshot of something that raised a smile. It shows how creative criminals can be! Here using fake fingers to come up with an AI defence in court, technology eh! 

Threat trends 

It’s always interesting to understand where threats are coming from. Threats continue to develop across a broad spectrum of areas. There were a few interesting statistics I picked up during my time at the event, that should help to provide us with some focus on future threat vectors. 

API-based attacks – There has been a doubling of cyber-attacks on APIs in the past 12 months. This makes sense as you look at our increased demand for integration and automation between platforms. In many instances, we no longer consider solutions if they don’t “publish their APIs”. However, that presents a potentially significant risk, with unsecured APIs are great route for a cyber attacker. Luckily this is an increasing number of API security tools available in the market, and their adoption can deliver high value. But it is not yet a table stake for many as we review our security options. 

Ransomware – continues to dominate, with some shocking statistics shared from various vendors, this included a 143% growth in zero-day attack victims and a 42% increase in attacks on manufacturing. A rapidly evolving space to try to tackle this challenge is network micro-segmentation. This is usually based on software-defined policies with extremely granular controls allowing for context-based segmentation. This has two potential benefits, firstly it builds new security boundaries into your network environment, and in the event of an attack, it can more effectively reduce the “blast” from an attack, by limiting how much lateral movement an attacker can gain from a compromised machine. 

DDoS attack growth – this was an interesting area, almost like welcoming back an old friend, while basic as an attack method it can be hugely effective in reducing access to systems and services. Threat actors have recognised this with growth in DDoS attacks across a variety of sectors including manufacturing and financial services. Stopping these attacks can be difficult, but there are technology shifts to help try to reduce the impact of DOS attacks. This includes architecturally building DNS resilience with Edge Platforms and cloud services. Also the development of scrubbing technology both at the edge and across cloud apps and infrastructure. 

The threat landscape does continue to change, and it is important as CTOs that we try to stay ahead of potential threats and the mitigation steps we can take. Events like Black Hat are always useful in that way and can be a good source of education and an effective way to evaluate a range of the leading vendors in the space. 

Beyond Black Hat

The second of our CTO Insights videos is now available for you to enjoy. This time my guest is NetApp Field CTO, Grant Caley. Grant has over 20 years in the data and storage industry, with much of that time spent at NetApp. During our 25-minute chat, we talk about a wide range of modern data challenges and how, some of our more traditional approaches to dealing with them, are more than valid today. Grant shares insight on data management, optimisation, data platform integration, and the important part that your data storage plays in your business security.  

Grant’s a great guy to chat with and offers some insightful views of the evolving world of data. 

The full video is available on our YouTube channel or if you prefer it in four bit-sized chunks, then we have that too, you’ll find part one here. If you’d like to checkout our range of Tech Takeaway podcasts, you can see those here.

Merry Christmas  

That leaves me with just one thing to say at this time of year and that is to wish you all a Merry Christmas and enjoy the Christmas break, if you are lucky enough to get one. While the world of technology never really stops, this is at least a chance to pause, enjoy time with those closest to you and set yourself up to tackle 2024 head on. 

Enjoy the holidays and CTO Insights will be back in the new year. 

CTO Insights November Newsletter

Welcome to this latest CTO Insights November newsletter, it has been a hectic time recently so please excuse the extended gap between editions. I’m sure you are keen to know what’s been catching my attention since we last spoke? 

Something new

Welcome to this latest CTO Insights November newsletter, it has been a hectic time recently so please excuse the extended gap between editions. I’m sure you are keen to know what’s been catching my attention since we last spoke

As a CTO I’m always looking for new crazy ideas to share information, and here’s one of them, our new CTO Insights videos! This series of videos sees me chat with an industry expert about a particular topic. First is Jon Hope, Senior Technologist at Sophos. Jon joined me for a wide ranging chat about the current state of cyber security and what the future holds. 

The overall chat is around 30 minutes, but to make life a little easier I’ve broken it down into bite size 5 minute videos. 

The first two of these (alongside the longer version) are available for you now. 

In part one we discuss the recently released Sophos Ransomware Threat report and what it means for CTO/CISOs and whether paying ransoms is ever the right thing to do. 

You’ll find part one here. 

In part two, we discuss the inevitability of attacks, how attacks have modified into double and triple “dip” attacks and what to do about them. We also discuss incident response plans and why it’s essential to have them.  

I’d love your feedback on the format and what topics you’d like me to cover in future videos. 

Looking after your security team

Back in mid-September I attended a Future of Cybersecurity event in Manchester. There was the usual mix of vendors and presentations. But two in particularly caught my attention as they discussed Cybersecurity wellbeing. The sessions shared a couple of troubling facts.  

  • Gartner reported 25% of Cyber Security Leaders will change careers by 2025 due to burnout. 
  • Forrester reported that of IT security staff 66% of them felt they were suffering stress and of those a further 50% were taking medication to help. 

Those statistics are not things we can accept, and we cannot shrug our shoulders and hope it gets better. Even from the most basic of business views, it is untenable as over stressed staff are more likely to make mistakes and when it comes to cybersecurity it is mistakes that threat actors prey on.  

How do we remove stress from our team? I imagine there is no easy answer and I’m not going to try to give one, but I did find a couple of good tips in this Watchguard Blog. 

End user education – Education can help reduce threats and incidents and therefore the burden on your security teams. 

Automation – Automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks so the team can stay focused on the priority areas. 

Consolidation – Reducing the amount of technology vendors in your security suite, this can help both reduce risks caused by gaps between tools and also improve operations by allowing more to be achieved within a single platform. 

There’s a couple of other additions I’d consider. 

Managed Services and AI – Managed solutions such as MDR can help greatly reduce the burden on security teams, providing them with experienced security team on hand 24×7. It’s also worth looking at how vendors are using AI to reduce time consuming tasks and help prioritise risk and threats. 

Security Culture – Build as positive a security culture as you can, make sure both your staff and your security teams feel that they are taken seriously, listened too and supported and if the worst happens, there will be no scapegoating. Security is too complex to expect perfection, so let’s not apply pressure by thinking that it is. 

Your Copilot to the future 

Welcome to this latest CTO Insights November newsletter, it has been a hectic time recently so please excuse the extended gap between editions. I’m sure you are keen to know what’s been catching my attention since we last spoke

Back in October I attended Microsoft’s Envision conference in London. Which brought out the Microsoft “big guns” none bigger than CEO Satya Nadella (Seen here with UK CEO Clare Barclay). The event was focused on Microsoft’s Copilot technology. Copilot is the product name for its integration of generative AI throughout its Cloud Platforms. This ranges from the generally accessible Bing Chat service, which provides you with GPT 4 powered integration with its search engine, through to its subscription add on services like integrating data sets for building learning model and its soon to be available Security Copilot. 

Copilot is interesting, as it is likley to be the first fully enterprise managed, large scale AI that many businesses will see. It will be baked into everyday tasks, from content creation to summarising long documents and Teams meetings. It is this, in a common everyday application like Microsoft 365, which is likley to bring business AI to the masses. I’m fascinated to see how this will be adopted and were it will lead to both innovation and better understanding of risks. We recently did a Tech Takeaways Episode – Exploring the Horizon with Microsoft Copilot discussing a little more about Copilot and its potential impact. 

I’d be interested to hear from others about your thoughts and plans for Copilot, so do please share them. 

That’s all for this edition of the newsletter, I have a couple of week’s of travel coming up, with a little holiday in Denmark before setting off to London for BlackHat Europe, so if you are going to be at the event, let me know. 

Look out for the next CTO Insight Newsletter coming soon.  

CTO Insights September Newsletter

CTO Insights September Newsletter 

Incredibly it is already September, and Britain’s long hot summer is starting to head off towards the sunset! But the warm glow of CTO Insights remains. So, settle in for some of the things that have caught my attention over the last few weeks 

How do you engage with your organisation? 

One thing that people in IT don’t consider often enough, in my opinion, is the importance of engaging with an organisation. Asking questions to help better understand what the organisation needs from its IT team, in order to function better and be more successful. Too often we find ourselves, delivering IT solutions that were not asked for and we are then surprised when we get “push-back” to its adoption. It is important to remember that IT is there to empower and enable an organisation, rather than to launch “cool” IT solutions upon it.  

Recently I had a fantastic chat with an IT Director of a large manufacturing company who provided me some great insight into this very challenge and his approach to overcoming it. His approach was interesting and not something I’ve come across before. To ensure they properly asked the business what it was they needed for IT they employed an Engagement Manager. The role was specifically to have open discussions across the entire business and understand what is needed to deliver new capabilities, efficiencies and services. Interestingly the role also focussed on asking whether they had any applications they’d found that would help them more effectively do their jobs. That’s a refreshing approach, asking people who are experts in their roles about tools they may find useful, is a smart idea and not one that we naturally adopt in IT, but one we certainly should. 

It got me thinking about what tips others have for effectively engaging with their organisation. So, if you’ve got some tips, I’d love to hear them so send them over to me or pop them in the comments. 

Is MDR (Managed Detection and Response) now the only answer? 

A couple of recent articles caught my attention and have me wondering whether the answer to many organisations’ cybersecurity needs external support is. I do say that as CTO of a company that can offer such services, but bear with me! 

Recently I saw this article over at Cybermagazine.com which discussed a state of cybersecurity report from security automation company Swimlane. The article quoted Swimlane’s findings that 33% of companies surveyed felt they would NEVER have a fully staffed cybersecurity team. This was also paired with UK research that suggested that 51% of companies have a basic cyber skills gap.  

If what we are saying is that we have an ever-evolving cybersecurity threat, paired with organisations who lack the resources they need, this is only likely to have one outcome. What then is the answer? 

The answer maybe within another announcement that caught my attention and that was Microsoft’s announcement of its own MDR service, providing managed SOC (Security Operations Centre) capabilities to augment its security platforms. The use of managed services continues to grow and Microsoft are the latest leading vendor adding human beings to their technology to support customers.  

As the cybersecurity threat landscape becomes more complex and resources scarcer, maybe it is time to consider MDR. To provide a little more on the topic, I recently published the article “As Microsoft joins the party, is it time to try MDR? ”  over at GigaOm. Have a read and see what you think. 

Network as a service – future of enterprise networking 

The world of the CTO is not all about cybersecurity of course. There are a range of other things IT leaders need to consider as they look to modernise and transform the way IT and technology is used within an organisation to allow them to remain competitive in their market. 

One such topic is covered in this article from a colleague of mine over at GigaOm, Andrew Green. Andrew recently posted an interesting article looking at Networking-as-a-service and how this can be used to drive enterprise network innovation. It is not an area that I’ve ever considered and I’m not sure networking innovation is high on people’s list. But Andrew makes a great case for why perhaps it should be. Have a read here. 

Come and join us at our IT Leaders Forum 

For those of you in and around Liverpool on September 20th we are running one of our regular IT Leaders Forums. These events bring together local IT leaders with their peers and global IT vendors to share ideas and provide feedback on business challenges and vendor strategy. These are usually lively and interesting affairs, and you are welcome to join us. 

Our next event brings to Liverpool Sophos, where we are going to be joined by Jon Hope, Senior Technologist and Peter Mackenzie, Director of Incident Response. They will be sharing insights into the current threat landscape and Peter will be sharing practical advice on how to respond to an incident and build incident response plans. This is a great opportunity to raise your cybersecurity concerns, share your experience or just chat with true subject matter experts. 

If you are in town and want to join us, then find out more details here Events – Gardner Systems 

That’s all from this edition of CTO Insights. If you have ideas or would like to have a chat, then contact me at cto@gardnersystems.co.uk find me on LinkedIn or Twitter and Threads @techstringy or book a chat via my meeting link 


CTO Insights August Newsletter

CTO Insights August Newsletter

August has rolled around and while nobody had told the British weather that it’s summer, let’s see if we can provide some CTO summer vibes for you to enjoy. 

IT Sustainability 

The idea of sustainability continues to be a prime conversation topic whether it’s politicians, media, the public or the boardroom and the desk of the CTO. What does sustainability mean for businesses? In reality, is much too broad a topic for a simple answer. But as IT pros we need to understand it and that starts with breaking it down into identifiable and measurable chunks. 

One such area is the impact of poorly managed and controlled data storage on sustainability. It’s an intriguing idea and one covered in this piece that an industry friend of mine Matt Watts, from NetApp, wrote for Tech Radar, Technology sector’s hidden issue: a landfill of data | TechRadar. It’s a good read and highlights an area in which we can make a difference. 

Microsoft flexing their cybersecurity muscles 

For those of you who keep an eye on Microsoft, It won’t have slipped your attention that they continue to rapidly develop their security portfolio. This has included a recent raft of announcements around their three security brands Defender, Purview and Entra. As I mentioned in the previous newsletter, Entra is Microsoft’s identity and access portfolio and this includes the rebranding of Azure Active Directory to Entra ID. But it is much more than that, to help people pick through these latest Entra announcements I’ve written this blog for my friends over at GigaOM and thought you may find it useful too Microsoft takes Entra to the edge – GigaOm. 

Microsoft’s announcement did not stop there. Another one that caught my attention was their move into the Managed Detection and Response (MDR) space. MDR is something that is gathering a lot of momentum in many organisations I speak with, as they try to augment their overburdened security teams. MDR is potentially an ideal solution, and It’s no surprise to see Microsoft launch their own MDR service to complement its Defender platform. To find out more here’s a Microsoft launch blog Microsoft Defender Experts for XDR | Microsoft Security. For the next newsletter I’m currently working on a more detailed blog looking at the MDR space in general, so stay tuned.

Security Incidents  

Cybersecurity incidents are not going away and to highlight this, a couple of recent Cyber Security incidents caught my attention. First up was the incident that impacted Capita, as reported here by Techerati. What this article provides is an insight into the real-world costs of a ransomware incident. The breach at Capita is reported to come with a likely price tag in the region of £15m-£20m. This is before any potential regularity punishment. The costs of a cyber incident are real and should be included when assessing risk to our organisations. 

The UK elections watchdog has also revealed that it has been the victim of a complex attack, as reported here by the BBC. Data was accessed which included names and addresses and it mentioned that control systems were also accessed. This is a good example of the statement “assume breach”. It’s a good approach to take when considering security, we just cannot assume that everything on the inside of our network is okay and should have carte blanche access. We must secure all of our systems and continually monitor access to ensure that any unauthorised access does not get to access our most sensitive information. 

CTO tips 

Finally, this came from a suggestion from one of my industry friends and newsletter readers, Phoebe Goh, from NetApp, who asked for some good tips for CTOs and senior execs. As someone new to the CTO role myself and doing this at a company that hadn’t previously had a CTO, I thought what a good idea because gaining tips from experienced CTOs has been invaluable to me. So I’ve put together three things that I took from conversations with other CTOs in terms of the role and what a good CTO should strive to do. Particular thanks to Howard Holton for these. 

What is the CTOs role?  

There will be more things here, but at a high level, the following makes sense to me. 

  • Define the tech stack – what should your technology stack look like to meet business/customer needs? 
  • Where do we invest? – What technologies should we be investing in to make sure we maintain our edge over our competition? 
  • What are the emerging technologies we should be looking at? – What’s next for our business, what are the technologies that are around the corner that we should, at the very least, understand? 

What should a CTO strive to do? 

Not only, what is the role, but for someone trying to do a good job as a CTO what should we strive to do? (I’m very much still working on this!) 

  • Be available – be a person that colleagues and customers can talk to about technology – it’s important to be able to do this at all levels, not just talk “techie” but speak in a language that makes sense to those asking. 
  • Formulate ideas around Technology quickly – While this doesn’t mean you should be an expert in all areas, it does mean, being aware of technology and being able to have an idea of how that technology can impact your business – being able to articulate, what it is and where we could use it in our business. 
  • And where you don’t have an idea about a technology – then be able to understand the impact that technology can have and what that may mean for your organisation. 

Be visible. 

It was the idea of being visible that led to this newsletter.  A newsletter can be a great way of sharing ideas and inviting conversations with your organisation, partners and customers. And hopefully, that’s what we can do here with CTO insights. 

If you’re new to the role or looking at ways to develop then hopefully some of these ideas will help. Of course, I’m pretty sure, others will have their own thoughts and I’d love to hear them, so we can share them more broadly. 

That’s all from this edition of CTO Insights. If you have ideas or would like to have a chat then contact me at cto@gardnersystems.co.uk find me on LinkedIn or Twitter and Threads @techstringy or book a chat via my meeting link 

CTO Insights Newsletter Edition 1

Welcome to our first CTO Insights newsletter. The aim is to provide you with some insights into what I’m seeing from our customers, vendors and the general IT trends in the key technology areas that are challenging us all as CTOs in our businesses. 

In this first newsletter, I thought I’d go obvious with a couple of interesting articles and information across two of the hottest technology topics cybersecurity and generative AI (and I promise ChatGPT is not writing this newsletter). 

Generative AI 

The incredible popularity of ChatGPT (until the recent release of Threads, the quickest consumer technology to reach 100 million users, taking just two months, seven quicker than Tik Tok (Incredibly Threads did this in just six days!)) has taken the AI conversation from academic to one right into the heart of day-to-day use and of course day to day business. 

I recently recorded a Tech Takeaways podcast with our COO, Jason Fitzgerald, on this very topic as we discussed the ins and outs of the technology. What it means and importantly what the risks and potential rewards are, feel free to watch or listen here 

What does all this mean for us as a CTO and our business? 

When preparing for the podcast, I found a couple of useful resources that I wanted to share that provides a good overview into the rapidly evolving world of GenAI 

Firstly, is this article for McKinsey What every CEO should know about generative AI | McKinsey. The article discusses what we mean by Gen AI specifically. Some of the use cases you will see across an organisation and some of the responsibilities, this is particularly useful for a CTO, we have before introducing such tech to our business. 

For those who’d rather listen than read, I also find this podcast from an old friend of mine Yadin Porter de Leon who is at VMware, where he talks with Paul Roetzer, CEO of Marketing AI Institute, again, about the possibilities and potential risk. Including an interesting discussion on the impact on people. Find it here Generative AI: What CIOs Need to Know – with Paul Roetzer, CEO of Marketing AI Institute – CIO Exchange (vmware.com). They should provide you with a good overview of the space and what to consider. 

Gen AI is not going to go away; this is going to become an integral part of day-to-day business and life. As CTOs, it’s important to develop a position on the topic for our organisations, that doesn’t necessarily mean being an expert, but it is important to understand how we can use this to drive our business better and what we should be wary of. 

Cyber Security 

Always at the top of the priority list is cybersecurity, it’s of course a problem that continues to evolve, with threats and attack approaches continually changing (see above!) Tackling cybersecurity requires us to continually evolve our understanding of the problem and our approach to tackling it. 

With that in mind, I recently presented alongside Sophos at an event in Liverpool where we were outlining the latest trends. I Was joined by Sophos Technologist Jon Hope who also shared the latest Sophos Ransomware report (you can get a copy of that here – 2023 Ransomware Report: Sophos State of Ransomware).  

I also put together a blog post sharing some thoughts from the event you’ll find it here. 

While we are talking about events. I also attended Infosec Europe in London at the end of June. These are always interesting events and chances to hear from subject experts and by chatting with vendors to gain an understanding of strategic direction and trends in the cybersecurity space.  

It’s a big event and even across the two days I was there it was impossible to visit everyone, but I was lucky enough to get personal briefings from 8 different vendors as well. If you went to Infosec I’d like to hear your thoughts on what you saw, but if not – here’s a blog post I wrote with some of my key takeaways 

Cybersecurity is a multi-layered complex problem and needs us to consider security implications from core to edge. It’s about people, process and technology and balancing those three elements to ensure our security posture is strong and meets the needs of our organization. There’s no surprise that it’s likely to be a regular feature of future newsletters. 

And Finally 

Two bits of Microsoft news. Firstly, it recently made a number of announcements regarding its Entra platform. Entra is the name for Microsoft’s Identity security and access control tools. I’ll share more about this in the next newsletter, as there’s some interesting things in there. One thing I did want to share was the rebranding of Azure Active Directory to Entra ID. It does make sense in terms of the bigger picture of what they are doing, but thought It was worth giving a heads up, so if you see the name Entra ID and wonder what it is, then now you know. (BTW this does not impact Active Directory, just its Azure equivalent). 

Secondly, is the impending end of support coming on Windows 2012 R2, October 10th is the end data and then it will no longer receive updates, including security, bug fixes or technical support. So, if you are still running Windows 2012R2 in your environment, now’s the time to change. More details here from Microsoft.

For now, thanks for taking the time to read this. If there is anything you’d like me to cover, you can drop me a note at cto@gardnersystems.co.uk find me on LinkedIn or Twitter and Threads  @techstringy. 

If you’d like to book in a call, you can also do this here

CTO Insights Newsletter: Intro

Welcome to the Gardner CTO Insights Newsletter

Welcome to our new CTO Newsletter, straight from the desk of our CTO, Paul Stringfellow, to yours. We aim to bring you concise summaries, expert opinions, and thought-provoking articles covering emerging technologies, industry trends, and best practices. And to provide you with a go-to source for the latest updates in enterprise IT.

Why a newsletter and why now?

Gardner Systems has been going through some rapid changes this year and one of those has been the evolution of roles for some of our team. This has included Paul’s move to CTO. Paul is well placed amongst the Gardner team with his experience and a broad range of industry contacts to help Gardner stay on the leading edge of technology and our customers understand how technology can help them in these challenging business times.

One of the things he has been keen to do is start to develop our CTO and IT leader community. This newsletter is part of that move, finding a way to efficiently keep our customers informed of technology trends, innovations, and best practices, as well as ways to engage and keep in touch.

What it will include?

As a CTO, your role demands staying on top of the latest technological advancements that can drive digital transformation, enhance operational efficiency, and enable business growth. Whether it’s cloud computing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data analytics, or any other crucial aspect of enterprise technology we want to provide you with insights and analysis that can help you make informed decisions, identify opportunities, and overcome challenges.

An Intro to our CTO

Many of you would have met Paul during his time at Gardner’s. But for those that haven’t here’s a little about our new CTO. Paul studied Computing at Liverpool John Moore’s University. He got his first IT role at a pharmaceutical company in Liverpool, where he first met the Gardner Systems Team. He joined Gardner’s not long after and has worked across the business, from technical support to systems architect and today as CTO.

Paul has been one of the public faces of Gardner for some time, presenting at many of our events as well as at local and national business community and vendor events. In recent years, Paul’s experience also attracted U.S. IT analyst firm GigaOm with whom he now consults and carries out research, mainly focused on people-centric and data-centric security. These offer further Insights and relationships that can Paul can use to bring more value to Gardner customers.

These are exciting times at Gardner and Paul and the team is looking forward to continuing to offer great service to our customers, but also to be a local trusted source of advice and help for anyone who needs it. We hope you’ll find our newsletter a useful and valuable resource to help you in your role as a local IT leader. Alongside our newsletter, Gardner offers a range of other resources that can help you, including events and the Tech Takeaways podcast.

Also, If you’d like to meet with Paul to understand more about his role and what is happening at Gardner’s, book a call with him here.

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