“I can recall an epic failure…”
Every Monday we fire five questions at a senior technology sector leader. Today we’re pleased to be joined by Paul Farrington, EMEA CTO at application security firm Veracode.
Paul – What’s the Biggest Challenge for your Clients?
Without a doubt the biggest challenge we see is directly linked to why Veracode was founded in the first place – to help customer make software more secure.
Even nowadays, it’s quite uncommon that an application is free of any vulnerabilities. Less than one in five applications pass a common security standard, called the OWASP Top 10. What this means is developers have to make a conscious effort to create secure code – which for most, is easier said than done as it’s not an inherent mind-set. Because of this, we’re seeing security debt (unresolved flaws) mounting, leaving many applications wide open to attack.
Technology that Excites you the Most?
AI is a technology that I’m both excited and cautious about.
Unfortunately, there are many unintended consequences of AI, and it’s likely we’ll need to develop legal frameworks to protect users from its unintended consequences.
What I am excited excited by, however, is the transformation happening due to containerisation and orchestration technologies like Docker and Kubernetes. These approaches are helping democratise how developers interact with infrastructure and make it drastically easier to build and scale software.
Naturally, my children spring to mind first. But in business, it’s exciting when you launch a new product, service or land that big new contract. The joy you receive from those moments tends to be brief, because you are always moving on to the next objective.
By far my proudest achievements have been the impacts I’ve made on other people’s careers. It’s incredibly rewarding to see colleagues gain self-confidence and grow as leaders. Compared to business milestones, these successes tend to endure as you see your colleagues go on to be promoted or help start new ventures.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you produce the best proposal, pitch for a contract or articulate the most eloquent solution to a problem that you will prevail. I can think of times when we forgot that humans decide and that you need to ensure that you’ve counted your votes, to keep people engaged and onside with what you wish to achieve.
I can recall an epic failure selling to a financial services firm around five years ago. We had had a fantastic solution, ticked all the boxes, but failed to realise that the game had already been played and won by the competition because they had consolidated their political position by addressing a much bigger corporate problem. A lesson learned well since.
In Another Life I’d Be…
I always found people very interesting, so I took psychology and human biology classes at University and ended up with an honours in Physiology.
So, I guess if the allure of the tech bubble never happened, I’d likely be people watching or working in medicine.