Judges on Fire: Brian Honan, CEO & Principal Consultant, BH Consulting

In our Judges on Fire series of podcasts, we aim to let you get to know our judges a little better. They also get the chance to share their wisdom and tips about entering the Tech Trailblazers Awards. For our latest outing we are catching up with Brian Honan, CEO & Principal Consultant of BH Consulting, who has been on the judging team of the Tech Trailblazers Awards since the very beginning.

In an interesting conversation, Brian shares his view on what it takes an Enterprise Tech startup to catch the eye of a judge and what to avoid. He also talks about the opportunities that there are in cybersecurity firms to solve the fundamental problem of providing protection without ruining employees’ workflows.

Brian also shares his view on how cybersecurity is like a car. So, over to Rose Ross, Founder of the Tech Trailblazers Awards, as she interviews Brian Honan in our latest Judges on Fire podcast.


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Interview transcript

Rose Ross: Hello everybody and welcome to the Tech Trailblazers Judges on Fire podcast, and my name is Rose Ross, I’m the Chief Trailblazer and founder of the Tech Trailblazers, and I’m delighted to be joined today by Brian Honan, who as one of our star judges has been with us from the beginning, and also is a leading light in the cybersecurity space and runs BH Consulting. Hello Brian, how are you?

Brian Honan: I’m great. Rose, thank you for having me on the podcast.

Rose Ross: Well, it’s a pleasure. We’ve known each other for a long time, but we haven’t seen each other for a little while due to COVID, because InfoSecurity has been all virtual, which just isn’t the same is it?

Brian Honan. No, no. Virtual events are great, because you can attend them from wherever, whenever, but you do lose that personal touch, you do lose that opportunity. It’s not the same dynamics, the same energy as when you bump into somebody in the corridors or between talks and stuff. So yeah, hopefully next year.

Rose Ross: Well, fingers firmly crossed, firmly crossed on that. So, obviously, you’ve been with us for a long time, right from the beginning, which has been absolutely a pleasure. And you’ve spent quite a lot of time obviously looking at the amazing startups, who I’m sure you’ve come across in the past, but I know a lot of them are new to you, when you do come across them as entrants. So, what would be great is for anybody who doesn’t know you, just to get a bit of who is Brian, what do you do, that would be wonderful.

Brian Honan: Okay, well obviously the name’s Brian Honan, I’m CEO of BH Consulting. We’re an independent consulting firm, specialising in cybersecurity and data protection, based in Dublin. We’re 30 people, we have clients all over the world in many different industries. So, it’s an interesting aspect that we have, because we don’t sell software, we don’t sell hardware, but we’re often asked by our clients to help them to select solutions for their cybersecurity, or data protection challenges. So, we get to see a lot of what’s good and what’s bad, and what’s out there in the industry which is, as you said Rose, I’ve been on the judging panel for quite a while.

So, it’s great to bring that experience from our customers and our clients as to the challenges they have, to see what exciting things are coming through by new companies and startups. So yeah, so that’s who I am, but for anybody who wants to find out who I am, just Google me because there’s not many Brian Honans in the world! Not a very common name.

Rose Ross: Search for cybersecurity in Dublin as well.

Brian Honan: Yeah.

Rose Ross: We’ll get you tracked down, no worries, no worries. So, you’ve obviously talked about cybersecurity, and it’s been a very interesting year hasn’t it, from a cybersecurity perspective. A lot of people have faced a lot of challenges, a lot of businesses have faced a lot of challenges. But cybersecurity startups and cybersecurity technology, in certain areas, has had a bit of a boom because of the fact that people are working remotely; there are different challenges for cybersecurity professionals, for businesses, we’ve seen the rise of ransomware and lots of other issues that people have to deal with; the threat landscape has changed, but not for the best. Certainly different challenges, different challenges. So, from a startup perspective, what kind of challenges do you see as being important for them to address? And what are you seeing that’s hot out there, at the moment?

Brian Honan: Yeah, well I think you put your finger on the key issue there Rose, is that the pandemic has brought many challenges to businesses. Now, I’d argue, ransomware has been a problem that’s been around a long time, what ransomware has done is that it’s really highlighted how poor organisations have been in securing their environments. If ransomware can get into your systems and lock up your business, well then so can any other malicious piece of software, and everything else. Except previous to this onslaught of ransomware, any other malware that we’ve tried to deal with previously has been quite silent and quite hidden. It’s been stealing information, it’s been stealing credit card data, so it hasn’t had the same business impact.

So, therefore ransomware in a way has been – if I can say it’s a cloud with a silver lining, it has brought cybersecurity right up to the board’s attention, and even to government and policymakers’ attention in ways that previous cyber-attacks hasn’t happened in the past.

But saying that, I think the pandemic has brought many challenges to businesses. So, you and I are now doing this interview, I’m recording this on Zoom. Two years ago, nobody knew who Zoom were, but the pandemic gave Zoom the opportunity, they saw the opportunity of remote working, collaboration, etc. that’s where the gap was, and that’s where Zoom, to pardon the pun, they Zoomed up the stock market and in size.

And in the cybersecurity space, we saw companies like Cloudflare offer free remote working collaboration tools. So, I think if you’re a cybersecurity startup, have a look now and think, okay what is the business landscape going to be like in the next 6, 12, 18 months? What are the challenges from a cybersecurity point of view that those businesses are going to face? And I think a lot of that is going to be, we’re not going to go back to full-time office working again, we’re going to have this hybrid mix. So, how do businesses secure their data and their systems in a hybrid environment? And that’s going to be a big challenge I think that many businesses are going to face over the coming years.

Rose Ross: Absolutely. And from that perspective, obviously digital transformation, there’s been another thing apart from video conferencing, and it was as you say, it was not like Zoom, but it was, ‘Zoo who, what? What is it? What is that? You want to meet me on Zoom?’ And now everybody’s like Zooming everybody.

Brian Honan: It’s become a verb now.

Rose Ross: Yeah exactly, we’re going to Zoom! So, yes, digital transformation, and I know we’ve talked in the past about cloud and security, because cloud gives you access to things. But it needs to be easy for people to be able to use it in their day-to-day lives, but it also needs to be secure, and we all know that security often creates a layer of two-factor authentication. I’m the worst for getting annoyed with things, I just want to get in and use it – what’s this password again, validating and everything. So, users are the worst nightmare when it comes to security because they’re the ones are almost hacking their own system to try and get around everything. Right?

Brian Honan: Because they want to get the job done.

Rose Ross: Yeah. And it’s frustrating, isn’t it? It’s like, oh – I just want to get on and do this! Because you know you’re okay, but the system doesn’t know you’re okay. I mean do you still see that that’s going to be an important part of it? Because nobody can really look at enterprise security for your systems without considering that element.

Brian Honan: Yeah, again the pandemic brought to the fore, cloud computing and remote working. So, companies had the choice of either increasing their remote working platforms, be they VPNs, remote gateways, etc. or migrating to the cloud. And for many businesses, the rush to survive and keep the business going, they most likely got systems working.

They may not have gotten working security though that is the sting in the tail, because they may have just… ‘Let’s get to the cloud, get it working, make sure it’s working’. Now, retrospectively, people are going to have to go back and make sure those platforms are secure, or maybe the remote working environments are secure. And that’s going to bring a lot of challenges, because I hear what you’re saying about security being a pain in the proverbials and, ‘Why do I have to remember this password?’ And this is where we fail as an industry, and this is where I believe Tech Trailblazers and those startups can help us here.

We need to be designing technology around the user, not the user around the technology. We need to make sure our security systems keep people secure. I’ve often compared cybersecurity as it is today to how car safety was in 1910s, 1920s, back then you’d no seatbelts, no crumple zones, if you had a car crash, you’re…!

Rose Ross: Well, you unfortunately learn to fly through the windscreen.

So, from that perspective, what you were saying was that we need to have innovative approaches to basically wrapping users – the security around them, rather than giving it as a hurdle for them to keep jumping over.

Brian Honan: Exactly. Yeah. As a user I just want to do my job, I just want to get work done. I don’t want to have to learn about cyber security; that’s not my job. My job is to run payroll, my job is to process sales orders, my job is to do reports, it’s not to figure out how to keep the system secure, that’s somebody else’s job and it should be that way.

Coming back to my car analogy, when I leave the office and when I jump in my car, I don’t need to understand how the engine works, I don’t need to understand how the seatbelt works or the airbags work. I just know they’re there, and they will be there to protect me if I make a mistake. Same with our IT environments and cybersecurity solutions, they need to be more user-centric, and the user interface and how we use them need to be easier to understand as well. So, I think there’s a lot of opportunities for the right solution out there to really make a lot of money if they get it right.

Rose Ross: Yeah, definitely, definitely. So, we need some kind of invisible shield effectively around the users, that you don’t see it, it’s just there to protect you.

Brian Honan: Correct.

Rose Ross: And stop you doing things, but not stop you working and being productive, and not getting frustrated with systems and then trying to work out how you can get around the security elements of it.

Brian Honan: Absolutely.

Rose Ross: Not that I’ve ever done that of course.

Brian Honan: No, but again, and I’m beating this analogy to death here now, Rose, but I’m going ask you a question now, okay? My turn to ask a question.

Rose Ross: No, I’m sorry. When did this become you asking me questions! Let me speak to my agent please, this is not happening!

Brian Honan: I’m Irish, we don’t follow the rules you know.

Rose Ross: Right, well I will take the amendments if required. But anyway, go for it. I’m not gonna to answer you truthfully, just telling you that now.

Brian Honan: What do the brakes on your car do?

Rose Ross: They stop the car.

Brian Honan: No they don’t, they make your car go faster.

Rose Ross: Oh, I see.

Brian Honan: If you’ve no brakes on your car, how fast could you drive your car?

Rose Ross: Well, I wouldn’t get in it!

Brian Honan: Absolutely and that’s the way security needs to be viewed upon. Earlier on, you were going on about security getting in the way and stopping us doing work. But security done right and done properly, allows us to do things in a safe, secure way, and get to our business destinations in a safe manner.

Rose Ross: Mm, okay. I interviewed Logan Andrew Green from GigaOm for the Tech on Fire stuff that we’re doing with those guys, which is kind of looking into the future. He specialises really in the IoT space, and obviously that’s been a big security concern for a lot of people. Do you see that as being something you’ll be interested in seeing whether there’s any innovation in that space, that will be useful for clients and useful for the world?

Brian Honan: Absolutely. When we think about IoT, it makes you think about, oh, that’s my smart home, that’s my light bulb, or whatever. But IoT is getting everywhere, it’s going to be smart metres, it’s going to be your car, it’s going to be every device we use. From a business point of view, it’s going to be, if you’re a manufacturer, companies are going to be or are changing their manufacturing lines from being maybe manual type processor, old-fashioned conveyor belt systems, maybe to high tech computerised IoT stuff that can do Just-in-Time assembly, tied back into your warehouse to do supply chain management, to order the parts you need based on availability. And all these are going to be integrated.

That means that the attack surface for many organisations is going to increase, and there’s a lot more risk going to be introduced because the traditional environment is where you keep your IoT or your Industrial Systems separate from your business network. But that in reality doesn’t happen, and in the future they’re going to have to talk to each other. Because if you do want your production line to be able to automatically order the parts you need for that big order you just got in from sales, well, you’re gonna have to integrate those systems together to do all that. But obviously, what we need to do is keep those secure and keep them working.

Rose Ross: So, we’re talking about an awful lot of aspects and about automation, that’s another element of cybersecurity and lots of parts of the tech landscape. You’ve talked about the attack surface, but clearly these things all hang together. I mean, are you seeing that as being an important thing for people to consider, or an important part of what we’re going to see in the startup space over the next few years?

Brian Honan: Absolutely. The problem we’re having now is that we’re getting so many devices and so many things connected together, that we’re going to have to monitor and react to issues with them, but we don’t have enough humans to do that. If you look at any of the reports coming out about the cybersecurity field, one of the big issues is the skills gap. That’s a different debate for a different podcast, I’m sure Rose, because surprise-surprise I have some contrarian views on that.

Rose Ross: Brian has some views on that as well! Go figure. When do you ever sleep, that’s what I want to know.

Brian Honan: We need to automate these, because if we’re getting thousands of alerts per minute, or events happening per minute, or things going on, we won’t be able to react in time to stop them. Take a ransomware attack; you need to be able to detect and respond within milliseconds, and you don’t have that from a human point of view, so you do need good automation in your security tools, and your security platforms, so they work. And the big challenge with a lot of that as well is, of course, we’ve got so many different solutions and platforms that some of them don’t even talk to each other. So, there’s lots of challenges to be met there.

Rose Ross: Yeah, so we’re getting smarter, but we’re also potentially getting dumber. That’s the problem, isn’t it?

Brian Honan: Yeah. To take a line from a U2 song, we’re ‘Running to a standstill’.

Rose Ross: Well yeah, information overload, and I think we’ve all suffered that in our personal lives, you’ve got social media, you’ve got everything like that; but obviously for an enterprise, it’s exactly the same and even worse, depending on what your business is, what you’re dealing with, you’ve talked about manufacturing, we’re talking about all sorts. Some people’s business is their information, you’ve got ticketing systems, you’ve got all sorts of various things, which the way that they rely now on internet access, the way they now rely on the tech systems behind them, and from a competitive advantage perspective, you want them all to work together seamlessly, frictionless, integration, everything’s boom-boom-boom. There we go, special effects as well!

But of course, to get that kind of speed you need to be able to then deal with any issues from a security perspective, that’s all got to be You can’t have that speed of interaction, the speed and the seamlessness, without it being done almost like an entrusted environment.

Brian Honan: Correct, yeah.

Rose Ross: So, that’s exciting. Let’s talk about the awards a little bit more in-depth. You’ve probably looked at hundreds of entries. I don’t think we were wearing glasses at the beginning 10 years ago, were we? It’s all that poring over the entries.

What makes them stand out to you, because obviously you take the time to look into it, but how can people make it a bit easier for themselves to stand out?

Brian Honan: Ah…

Rose Ross: Oh, now he’s going on something!

Brian Honan: The easiest thing I can say to somebody is, plain and simple language. Please don’t have your marketing person or your PR person write your entry.

Rose Ross: Oh, goodness me, what a thing to say!

Brian Honan: But also, don’t have your technical person write your entry either. Have a balance between both, if it’s been read by a human as somebody who doesn’t understand your business, you get across what it is you do, quite quickly and simply.

If I have to try and decipher the phrases you’re using, the language you’re using, and there’s a lot of superfluous stuff on top of what you’re actually doing, like, ‘Leading edge technology’, what does that mean? Tell me not just what your product does, but what is the problem you’re going to solve for me? That’s the simple thing I want. I’ve read quite a few, and they’ve been, ‘We are the innovative market leader in such-and-such a field in cybersecurity, and we’re going to use gigaflops of data to reengineer the environment’. I’m going, okay, but what does that really mean for my business? What problem are you solving for me?

And my rule of thumb actually is, Rose, and I’ve never said this before; but if I have to go to your website outside of your entry to try and figure out what exactly you do, you’re not off to a good start in my book!

Rose Ross: There we go, nil point! No, no not nil point, but let’s say that’s not going to get you a lot of favours there.

Brian Honan: No.

Rose Ross: Well, I think it’s an important thing, isn’t it? And I do think that in the tech industry, we suffer from the same issue with language as you do in the medical profession, which obviously has got a lot better. Our bedside manner isn’t great sometimes, let’s be fair.

Brian Honan: Yeah.

Rose Ross: We get tied up in buzzwords.

Brian Honan: Correct, yeah.

Rose Ross: We use technical terminology, which basically to somebody who’s just got the problem; this system is sick, what is the problem? Can you diagnose it, and can you help us fix it? A load of buzzwords isn’t gonna help. And I think because we all get so absorbed into our own organisation, that’s part of the issue. So, those buzzwords – they’re not buzzwords anymore, they’re just words.

Brian Honan: Yeah, and as a judge, think about it, you have to sell your entry to a judge. If I’m looking for a solution for a client for a specific problem, I can Google certain terms, and I may come across your website, and then I can read your website. But I know the context of what your company does based on my Google search, or my Bing search, or whatever – we have to be fair to other technology providers. But if I’m reading your entry in Tech Trailblazers, I don’t know anything about you. So, as you said, don’t hit me with buzzwords, or technology speak or anything else; make it plain and simple so I know it’s… ‘Oh, this company does that. Perfect’. And then I have the context, and then I can go through it.

And I suppose maybe that’s why I was a bit harsh on the marketing people, you’re not trying to market or sell to the judge, you’re trying to communicate to the judge what the problem is you’re solving.

Rose Ross: So keep it simple.

Brian: Keep it simple.

Rose Ross: So, throughout your career, I’m pretty sure you’re in the Hall of Fame for InfosecurityEurope.

Brian Honan: Yeah.

Rose Ross: You’ve had numerous accolades, you’re incredibly well respected, you do lots of speaking. And now obviously over Zoom, primarily! So, now you’re expert in that too, a Zoomer! But in the early part of your career, did you have people who were because I very much get the impression you were very helpful to people, as they go through their careers. You obviously have younger people working with you, people who’ve maybe changed careers who are working at BH. But was there anybody who was important to you when you first started out in cybersecurity?

Brian Honan: Yeah, there were two people very important to me, one was a gentleman called Eugene Schultz, Eugene, or Gene as he’s better known, was a fellow editor on the SANS NewsBites, so I’ve been on the SANS NewsBite editor board for quite a number of years, and Gene was on it as well. Gene often gave me some very good insights into cybersecurity industry in the world and how things are happening. Gene was from the US, so it was good to get viewpoints from the other side of the Atlantic because as Europeans and Irish, we approached cybersecurity differently than the Americans do. So, it’s good to get that.

And another man, he was an advisor for me for a while in a previous role, and he gave me a great piece of advice that I think would be very useful for all the potential Trailblazers out there who listen to this; is that when you’re starting a new business, make sure there’s a niche in the market for your business. But more importantly, make sure there’s a market in that niche.

Rose Ross: A lot of niching and a lot of marketing there.

Brian Honan: There’s a lot of marketing, but I thought was a very good thing, because when I set up BH Consulting back in 2004, I was saying it needs to be an independent consulting firm, because I felt back then that anytime anybody had a problem with cybersecurity, or needed help with cybersecurity, they were going to their IT reseller who would say, ‘Oh, yes, your problem is you need a firewall. And by the way, we have a firewall for sale.’

Whereas there wasn’t that independent advisor, and I said, that was where I was coming to. And he goes, ‘That sounds interesting, but will people pay for it?’ So, he gave me that phrase, ‘Make sure there’s a niche in the market for what you’re selling, but also that there’s a big enough market in that niche that you’re going to make money out of it.’ So, 20 years later we’re nearly an overnight success!

Rose Ross: There we go, overnight sensation here Brian…

Brian Honan: 20 years later!

Rose Ross: …on the Tech Trailblazers Judges on Fire podcast, you heard it here first, you heard it here first.

So, obviously those were important. And having been in the industry for a long time, there’s an awful lot of important work, but you talked about the skills gap, and one of the ways that people are looking to address that, is to ensure that people from all backgrounds, encouraging diversity in the sector. And certainly, we’re seeing an awful lot of women involved in it, a lot of people from different ethnic backgrounds, less people who’ve had to have gone to university to move forward in this. Do you think we’re making the right kind of level of progress? And what do you think is the solution for that problem if that is still a problem. I have to be a bit controversial.

Brian Honan: It is still a problem, because even now if you go and look at any adverts for jobs in cybersecurity, particularly entry level jobs, there is a lot of, ‘Must have a computer degree’. I don’t have a computer degree. Rose, if BH Consulting was to fail tomorrow and I was to apply for a job in cybersecurity…

Rose Ross: You wouldn’t have a chance mate!

Brian Honan: I’ll give you another story. I helped a university here in Dublin develop a Masters in cybersecurity course. I got the material for them; I went with them before the Irish Education bodies that authorise degree courses and defended their application. I was invited to speak, to be one of the lecturers and I said I absolutely would love to do that. They said, the only formality, you need to send your CV into the HR department, and well, I didn’t even get a first interview because they turned round and said, ‘You don’t have a computer degree. You can’t teach this course that you’ve designed, you’ve developed and you’ve helped us to put in place’. So, we still have that mentality…

Rose Ross: Therein lies the rub.

Brian Honan: Therein lies the rub. And I do think even from a cybersecurity point of view, we still figure you have to be technical to get into this field. You don’t have to be technical; you have to be passionate; you can teach somebody the technology. We still have a lot of machismo or macho attitudes within the industry, we see that. You go to… well we can’t at the moment, but you got to a cybersecurity conference…

Rose Ross: When you were able to still do that.

Brian Honan: We were using words like war, and test, there’s a lot of very aggressive words being used, and a lot of vendors will set the standards to be very militaristic-like and aggressive-like, it’s not a very inclusive environment when we do that, and it’s still very male dominated. We need to better educate the males out there to be more open and receptive to people, and to stand against pressures in all shapes and forms, and to be there to stand against it. And we need to be more open to the other viewpoints and other backgrounds. You don’t have to be an elite hacker to be a cybersecurity professional, you can come from many different backgrounds.

Cybersecurity is not just about computers, it’s about people, and at the end of the day what we’re trying to do in cybersecurity is protect data and protect information, which ultimately if you want to take it to the extra level is protecting people. So, if peoples’ information gets in the wrong hands, that could lead to bad consequences. So, it’s a people industry, it’s not a tech industry, and we need to be more receptive, more open, and talk to our HR departments about what type of people we’re looking for, and have the language we use in job offers to be more open and inclusive, and not to be as restrictive as it is.

So, I told you this is a topic for another podcast!

Rose Ross: We will have to have another one! Well, on a more personal basis to round things upa bit more light-heartedly, seeing as we’ve got quite deep. I think the diversity element of it is a really important part of it. And as you say to anything that we’re trying to achieve here there’s people, processes, and technology, and the bits and the bytes effectively, if you take it as three things, just one of those things. But one of the questions here, and I’m really curious as to what you might answer to this! Which superhero would you be and why?

Brian Honan: Which superhero would I be, and why?

Rose Ross: Changing the tack here and getting you on the defensive. Seeing as you went and asked me a question, I’ll give you the really tough ones at the end.

Brian Honan: [Pause] That’s a tough one, you know.

Rose Ross: Maybe, what superpower you’d like because I feel it’s hard to define you as one of the already existing superheroes, to be fair Brian.

Brian Honan: I was thinking more like Supermouse, or something like that, somebody unexpected.

Rose Ross: Yeah, that’s definitely unexpected!

Brian Honan: Yeah, exactly. We can be small but we can have a big impact, and humour always carries you through to the end of the day as well.

Rose Ross: It can be very important, particularly when you’re being asked difficult questions on a podcast!

Brian Honan: Exactly.

Rose Ross: Moving quickly on from that one then.

Brian Honan: Or you’re in the middle of a major cybersecurity incident and people are stressed out.

Rose Ross: Oh dear, well I hope that’s not the case. So, onto slightly lighter things, well I suppose it was probably quite light with the superhero question, but sports – is it something that you enjoy watching/playing?

Brian Honan: Oh, yes, yes, absolutely.

Rose Ross: And what sport would that be?

Brian Honan: Oh, sport would be obviously soccer, here now we’ve got hurly, and we’ve got JA football, golf…

Rose Ross: Do you mean the no rules football?

Brian Honan: No, we have rules, just not many.

Rose Ross: There’s rules, there’s a ball and you run around with it, and then pass to people…

Brian Honan: We follow them sometimes.

Rose Ross: Didn’t they say, “more like guidelines”?

Brian Honan: Guidelines, yes! I like most sports; I like Formula 1 racing. Now, unfortunately in my stage in life, football, hurley, rugby and soccer are things I can’t play anymore because I’m getting a bit older, and so golf is the one that’s…

Rose Ross: Oh, golf. I’ve just started playing golf actually. So, I’m with you on that, A golf bat, a bit of golf bat for me. You’ll see me there rangering all over the place. Yeah, it’s good fun, well I think it’s just to keep active and anything that involves outdoor space right now is a good thing isn’t it.

Brian Honan: It is, and anything to get you away from the computer and the phone these days is good.

Rose Ross: Very good, very good indeed. So, just to round things off, we’re looking at inventions of the future. So, are you thinking that there’s anything exciting you’re looking forward to, or you think should be coming down inventor alley in the very near future, which will maybe make your life easier?

Brian Honan: If you had a time machine, that would make life easier because you could go back and rebut all the mistakes you’ve made or…

Rose Ross: You haven’t made mistakes Brian, you’ve just had a few learning experiences just like me. I have a couple of lessons a day, it’s a bit like the doctor orders five lessons a day, not bits of fruit or vegetables.

Brian Honan: I look at my kids and I go, ‘Wow, what are your lives gonna be in the next 10, 20, 30 years?” And with all the challenges that are coming down, climate change, globalisation, and how is that going to impact their lives. Hopefully, please hopefully, technology and inventions will help us deal with many-many of those challenges. Because if I look back to when I was their age… I showed my 13 year old son a video on YouTube the other night of how I used to connect to the internet back in the 1990s using a modem, and he was laughing…

Rose Ross: No concept, no concept.

Brian Honan: He had no concept, he didn’t even know what a telephone was, or a dial tone because they’re so used to mobile phones. And the car analogy actually came from a conversation I had my father a while ago, he was talking about when he was a kid and cars back then didn’t have safety belts, and he joked, they didn’t even have heaters. One person where he grew up as a kid in the 1940s, cut a hole in the floor of the car and into the exhaust pipe. So, in the wintertime the fumes from the exhaust pipe would come in to the car heat to everybody. Now, when you look back you go, ‘Oh my God!’

Rose Ross: That’s not really very safe!

Brian Honan: Yeah, but back then it was.

Rose Ross: Yeah just don’t fall asleep in it, and keep a window cracked open, right.

Brian Honan: They kept themselves warm but they got carbon monoxide poisoning. But how we progress as humans and how technology, I’m excited about all of that and how all that can happen. If you look at Star Trek, some of the stuff in Star Trek in the 1960s and 70s, we’re using them now, like sliding doors and mobile talking devices, we didn’t have those back in the 70s, we do now.

Where is all that going? There’s a lot of excitement happening, obviously, we need to make sure it’s secure as well.

Rose Ross: That’s your job and the startups that are coming in.

Brian Honan: Exactly. Well hopefully startups will take over those roles because there’s only so much mileage left on the clock here, you know!

Rose Ross: I’m not ruling you out just yet Brian, none of this ‘you can’t play sports anymore’, and now are just destined You have to be pretty fit to play golf to be fair. I find that quite strenuous, and it’s a good long walk too.

Brian Honan: True.

Rose Ross: Well, it’s fabulous to have you on board again. This is our 10th outing, so we can consider ourselves officially veterans of the awards. And we’re looking forward to finding out more. There is a little something that probably by the time that this is aired will be public knowledge, but we are going to have an awards evening.

Brian Honan: Cool.

Rose Ross: And surprisingly there will be a bit of Zooming involved. Clearly we can’t actually meet up. But it is a lovely thing because obviously being global, we’ve always struggled to work out could we do something like that. And now it’s such a part of the new normal that people do log in to see things, we thought why not; let’s join the masses and have a virtual evening together. So, more on that soon.

But yeah, brilliant. Thanks so much for joining us Brian. I’m a little bit worried that you’re now swanning around doing a podcast, when in reality the rest of the team are running around sorting out this cyber-attack. So, I’m hoping that that was a joke.

Brian Honan: Oh, no, sorry, I didn’t mean that there’s no cyber attack.

Rose Ross: It isn’t really happening right now! Because I thought, you’re very calm if that’s the case. Everybody here has got it all handled, so we’re fine.

Brian Honan: If you have a good team, you’ve a good team.

Rose Ross: Exactly right, exactly right.

So, thanks very much for joining us today, everybody. I’ve been here with Brian Honan for BH Consulting, who is our long-standing judge in cybersecurity, so he’s looking forward to receiving and looking through your submissions this year.

We are the Tech Trailblazers and this is the Judges on Fire podcast. If you want to find out more about us, you can visit us online at www.techtrailblazers.com. Follow us on Twitter @techtrailblaze or find us on LinkedIn.

Thank you very much for your time, and thank you, Brian.

Brian Honan: Thank you Rose.