Paul was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, then enlisted in the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Technician. Paul left the RAF and joined the Al Yamamah project in Saudi Arabia, where he worked as a crew chief – coordinating maintenance activities and training Saudi technicians on Tornado Fighter Jets before, during and after the Gulf War.

A lifelong interest in how things work took a new direction when he acquired a discarded IBM 64k four colour PC. The PC sparked an interest in computing and it was not long before Paul had become the PC subject matter expert amongst his friends and he found himself in high demand resolving issues with friend’s PC’s.

An ungrateful lot who blamed anything wrong with the computer on me even months after having helped resolve a previous issue.

The release of the video game DOOM by ID software triggered Paul’s interest in networking. Initially he linked up with his friends on the compound in Saudi Arabia via phone lines and modems but the limitations soon had him running lengths of thin coax (10base2) between the villas.

His interest in networking turned into a career as Paul pursued MCSE certification whilst waiting for his visa to emigrate to Australia. He landed his first networking job as a support engineer for Cisco in their Sydney TAC (Technical Assistance Centre). Paul quickly advanced through the ranks to become the Technical Team leader for the Security team in the APJ office of the Cisco Global TAC.

Paul has been part of the Forsythes Technology team since 2007 and is our Director of Security Services. Paul holds multiple network and security qualifications including a Master’s Degree in Information Security Systems from Charles Sturt University, Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE – Security), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and other network and security vendor certifications.

Paul has a number of “hob-dictions” (when a hobby becomes an addiction) including mountain biking (and occasionally supporting the local emergency room), music – he is a keen guitarist and played in a band for a number of years, and he has recently started flying drones.

When putting together this profile, we asked Paul the following serious questions about security.

What security threat are you most concerned about for 2017?

The ongoing ransomware threat especially as more IoT devices come online providing increased attack vectors.

What should organisations be doing?

The most common attack now is encryption of company data and holding it to ransom, however there is myriad of possible attack vectors we cannot even imagine yet. The best defences are increasing awareness and ensuring default security settings are changed devices. This is, however, only a small part of the war. I expect the main issue to arise with hospitals and energy suppliers, for example, where they could be held to ransom with the threat of damage to the systems. Firmware updates, security settings and authentication mechanisms are part of the arsenal to fight the threat but possibly even client certificate services for all devices. Not a trivial admin burden, but organisations need to consider the possible impact of these threats and put appropriate measures in place.

What technology or technology area are you most excited about and why?

Virtual Networking, Data Centre Convergence and as always, Wireless.

Digital business, mobility, social media, Big Data, and the advent of cloud computing offer new ways for IT to help organisations innovate and gain competitive advantage. We are living in a time where most individuals and organisations are always connected and these technologies are the building blocks for making it possible.  I’m very excited to see how our customers use these pieces to make something amazing for their organisations.

Get in touch if you’d like to have a chat with Paul and the team about your IT Security.