By@SimonCocking , delighted to bring you this interview with Irish rugby legend and now tech dynamo Mike Ross Commercial director for
@ WizudaGDPR . Former rugby player for Leinster and Ireland, general tech nerd and BBQ enthusiast. Contact [email protected]
What is your background briefly?
I grew up on a dairy farm in north Cork and went to St Colman’s College in Fermoy. Afterwards I went to UCC where I received a BSc in Plant and Microbial Biotechnology. I worked in a laboratory for a couple of years before making the switch to playing rugby full time, first with Harlequins in London and then Leinster where I finished my career in June.
How did this background bring you to what you do now?
I think a science degree is a very strong foundation for many different careers, as it teaches you to think in a certain way. I’ve always had a strong interest in tech, usually being the person my family and friends call upon for tech support! I build my own computers and am an early adopter. Moving into the tech world seemed a natural fit after my rugby career, and my current role utilises both my technical background and the soft skills I developed from over a decade of top flight professional rugby.
Why did you move to Wizuda & what is your role there?
Wizuda were actually the first company I interviewed with when I made the decision to end my rugby career. Culture is especially important to me after spending years in a very high achieving team, and I felt at home immediately in Wizuda’s environment. My role is commercial director, so I’m in charge of going out and getting business and helping the company move forward and being part of a close-knit team. I quite enjoy it as I like being out and about and meeting people. I also like problem solving, and I’ve been seeing at first hand the challenges businesses and people are facing in achieving GDPR compliance. Knowing where your data is and where it’s going is a significant part of this, and I firmly believe that Wizuda’s products can solve these issues.
— Wizuda (@WizudaGDPR) August 25, 2017
1 min pitch for what you are doing now?
Wizuda is the gold standard in data transfer compliance for GDPR. Wizuda is versatile – we can both complement or replace your current system/processes. We are a step that you can embark on immediately, regardless of your stage in the GDPR journey.
What is Wizuda’s offering?
Wizuda offer solutions to simplify the path to GDPR compliant data transfers. We have two main products, Compliant File Sharing (CFS) and Compliant Data Transfer (CDT). CFS is used by all employees in your company to share files internally and externally. It replaces sending attachments over email which is inherently insecure, or sending via physical means such as USB or disc based media.
CDT is for the transfers that are typically passed to IT to manage, these are usually more scheduled recurring transfers which are often subject to Service Level Agreements and failure to meet those can often affect the bottom line. Guaranteed delivery is crucial in such cases, one of many examples is where orders need to be processed within a 24 hour window or the sale is lost.
Both products have built in GDPR compliant features including full audit logs, authorisation workflows, impact assessments, anonymisation/pseudonymisation and data minimisation, as well as evidence based reporting that is required for data protection audits.
— Mike Ross (@MikeRoss03) August 8, 2017
Tell us about the importance of compliant data transfer as a step toward GDPR compliance?
If you don’t have full real-time visibility and control over where your data is going or if your business is sending personal or commercially sensitive data over email, then your business is potentially exposed to encountering data breaches and failing a data protection audit. We must also remember that being GDPR compliant is an ongoing requirement post May 2018 and businesses need permanent fixes in place, the more automated these are the better. Many businesses have grown organically over time with a host of legacy systems which are often disjointed and fail to provide central visibility. It’s a golden opportunity for businesses to take back control over their data.
What tech trends are you excited about that could enable Wizuda and business in general to operate more efficiently?
I think there’s huge potential in the areas of machine learning and AI to help businesses organise and manage their data. At the moment, many companies have lots of unstructured data in various forms such as emails and documents which can be very hard to analyse and use effectively. The growth in these areas has a lot of promise, but of course we will need to be careful about how it is used.
— Mike Ross (@MikeRoss03) June 6, 2017
What are the pros and cons of working in tech versus being a professional athlete?
The pros are that I get my weekends back! Being a professional rugby player takes over your life, everything you do is viewed through the lens of how it will affect your training or playing performance. Working in tech comes with its own pressures, but I’m not going to open the paper on a Sunday morning and find myself marked out of 10.
The cons are that I do miss the guys I played with. I made some friendships for life playing rugby and I’ll stay in touch with them, but once you’re out of that environment things are different. I’ll also miss the thrill of running onto the pitch at a packed Aviva or RDS and hearing the roar of the crowd.