Phil McCoubrey, Capita

Phil has a good eye for detail and a strong desire to demystify security. He spoke to us about his role and why, in cyber security, reputation is everything:

I’m based in Northern Ireland, just outside Belfast. I would say that I am a bit of an information security geek; it’s something that I’m passionate about. I have a keen interest in the ongoing arms race between the evolving threats and technologies and methodologies that exist to address them. It’s part of my job, but a bit of a hobby too.

In my game, reputation is everything. It’s hard won – but it’s also easily lost. And it’s only through hard work and developing trusted relationships with customers and colleagues that it’s built. I believe that my team and I have established a good reputation across the business. This is reflected by the number of discrete projects and areas that we’re collectively involved in.

"I take security to a level that everyone can understand."

I’m not a perfectionist in all walks of life, but when it comes to security, I’m quite pedantic. I have a really professional team around me, which I rely on a lot to get the job done, and they will definitely attest to that.

For me, it’s important to take security to a level that everyone can understand it. With my background in consulting, I’ve learnt how to explain the same topic to different people with various levels of technical understanding. Security is often regarded as a bit of a dark art when isn’t always that complicated. Instead of inhibiting an organisation, it can really help to drive business and facilitate business processes. I like pushing that agenda and showing how I can deliver services that achieve an organisation’s objectives.

Colleagues often come to me with all sorts of questions and challenges. It’s fair to say, without sounding too clichéd, that no two days are the same. My guiding principles are integrity and honesty. The feedback that I get from customers is that I’m open and upfront with them. I enjoy engaging with people, connecting with new customers and showing them what we can do for them. I believe that I’m skilled at explaining the services that we offer and I like it when people actually sit up and listen. It’s a good day when that eureka moment happens with customers.

"Intuition, combined with the ability to assimilate knowledge quickly, is critical in this particular sector."

At Capita, I wear a number of different hats including; team management, service development, presales and the operational delivery of security to customers. We have lots of very clever technical people in the organisation. They understand technology to a very detailed level and it is through these individuals, as well as self-learning, I assimilate the knowledge required to identify potential security challenges.

Internally, I can sense a positive energy from my colleagues and from the organisation at large. We’ve got the right teams and the right senior management in place – not just from a board level but also in the division that I work in and my business unit.

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