Stewart Parkin, Chief Technology Officer, EMEA, Assured Data Protection, picks the tools he uses every day and couldn’t do his job without
1 MS Authenticator
As a security conscious Managed Service Provider, security is at the very heart of everything that we do, and the foundations of that lie in MFA and SSO. So, without this little application on my phone, I’d have no access to email, internal systems, or client systems. While of course these aren’t the only security measures in place, the number of times and places I now must reauthenticate, enter a code, validate a login, really acts as a constant reminder that without these zero trust methods and approaches just how damaging a compromised account, in the wrong hands could be.
Thank goodness for the transition to the phone app and away from a key ring full of RSA and TOTP fobs that I used to need to carry around with me though!
Even pre-COVID, my laptop and phone are always by my side, and if my girlfriend has given me ‘the eyes’ for taking a laptop to a party, I can usually squeeze an iPad into the back of the car without her noticing. On the move, my phone is rarely out of my hand, unless driving of course! The fear of falling behind on emails, Slack, support tickets or not being able to support our customers at the drop of a hat really does keep me awake at night.
The rapid expansion of the fifth item on this list has allowed me to start a gradual reduction in the carrying of a laptop at all times, however. And ironically, COVID and working from home more has made me try to have a definitive end to the day.
I’ve been an avid user of Slack for close to six years now, since the business
was first formed, when we created two companies in the UK and US respectively, both working hand in hand.
Slack was the go-to tool for collaboration at that time, Teams seemed nothing more than a development project, and Skype felt far too much like MSN messenger. (Giving away my age somewhat here). Slack was chosen, and we have never, ever, looked back. It provides communication and interactions that are virtually impossible in any other forum.
It has enabled a traditionally, work from the office, management team to become comfortable and thrive within a flexible, work from where and when you want work force spread across multiple countries and time-zones.
The speed of development this language gave me in the early days is the reason that I still ‘dabble’ in scripting today. At university I was taught Java, Python and C, we did a full year course on both Java and C, with a small ‘sub-module’ on Python lasting roughly two weeks. During those two weeks, I was able to create a more complete and functioning program than either Java or C in a year!
That ability to prototype concepts and theories that circulate around my head at 3am on Thursday morning, without having to create a 1000s of lines or code or involve the already busy development team, is what keeps me on course and in the realms of the possible.
I’d say the number of hours that I’ve saved, and the company has, by being able to programmatically script some of the operations that we’ve had to use over the last six years of ADP, is easily into the tens of thousands of hours collectively across the company.
5 The Team
As clichéd as this may sound, the team is everything. Each member of ADP brings their own qualities to the table, and by doing so, can overachieve in almost every facet of their role. I firmly believe we have some of the most talented industry specialists in the country, and potentially the world, in this company, and it is an absolute honour to work alongside each and every one of them.