At ITC, customer success is a top priority: we strive to provide the best possible outcome for our customers. In this series of Q & As, we travel behind the scenes and meet some of the people at ITC who are always improving the customer experience and making the world a safer place to do business.
We are proud of our team’s experience and commitment to providing our customers with high-quality services. In this blog we talk to Alan Armstrong, a Senior Cloud Security and Identity Consultant at ITC. Following Alan’s appointment as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), this Q & A will delve into Alan’s career, extraordinary knowledge, and how Alan’s MVP position benefits our customers.
Q. What inspired you to pursue a career in cloud security and identity, and how did you end up at ITC?
I’ve always had a fascination with technology and how things function. As the industry migrated to the cloud, I found myself evolving with this transformative technology, particularly in the area of cloud security. I thrive on being on the cutting edge of technology, and the ever-changing world of cloud security and identity is exactly where I want to be.
Being able to assist customers in securing their environments allows me to contribute to a safer future for the next generation and the services on which they will rely.
Q. Can you share some highlights of your professional journey and the milestones that led you to become a Senior Cloud Security and Identity Consultant at ITC?
My journey began with an apprenticeship at my local government. I started at the IT help desk and eventually went on to internal teams, where I assisted people directly. I eventually joined the platform team, where I was responsible for the deployment and configuration of internal systems. During this time, my interest in security expanded, and I worked for the local government for a decade. After that, I moved on to a Microsoft partner and began consulting on Microsoft security products. After a few years there, I moved on to ITC Secure as a Senior Consultant.
Moving from the local authority to the Microsoft partner was a key milestone for me, as I had the opportunity to assist multiple customers with their challenges and deploy various Microsoft products.
Q. Congratulations on being awarded the Microsoft MVP status! Could you explain what it means to be an MVP and the significance it holds for both you and ITC’s customers?
Being recognised as a Microsoft MVP in security emphasises my commitment to assisting the technical community, our customers, and staying up to date on Microsoft’s latest and greatest technology. This designation identifies me as a trusted expert in implementing and architecting Microsoft security products to meet the needs of organisations.
It means that ITC’s customers have access to my knowledge and experience when building the most secure and comprehensive security stack. Our customers are more confident because they know they are working with a company who has been recognised and trusted by Microsoft.
Q. As an MVP, how do you plan to leverage your expertise to benefit our customers at ITC?
I strive to share my knowledge and experience with the technical community and our customers in various ways. One significant avenue is through the podcast I co-host called “Let’s Talk Azure!”. I also utilise customer meetings and sessions to impart my expertise. The podcast not only reaches the technical community but also serves as a platform for sharing experiences and knowledge. Additionally, I participate in public speaking events and presentations to disseminate valuable insights.
Q. Cloud security and identity are hot topics these days. What unique insights and skills do you bring to the table that set you apart in this field?
From a Microsoft technology perspective, I possess extensive knowledge and experience in deploying these technologies in a best practice and secure manner within organisations. It’s not just about turning on the technology; it’s also about understanding the processes around it and implementing robust monitoring as a managed service.
Having spent six years in the Microsoft security space, I have witnessed the development of these services and their journey to where they are today. This knowledge gives me a unique perspective on how these technologies can help organisations, filling gaps and providing valuable solutions.
Q. Could you shed some light on your approach to ensuring robust cloud security and IAM measures for ITC’s customers? How do you stay ahead of emerging threats and ensure data protection?
Ensuring robust cloud security and identity measures requires understanding where an organisation is in its cloud journey. In a world where everything was on-premises, security relied heavily on the network perimeter. In today’s cloud-first environment, that perimeter no longer exists, and new principles such as Zero Trust need to be adopted. This ensures that everyone accessing organisational data is verified, rather than being assumed to be trusted.
To stay ahead of emerging threats, I stay informed about new features that Microsoft releases and ensure our customers utilise them appropriately. Participating in various private community programs hosted by Microsoft gives me early access to upcoming features. It also allows me to influence and shape these features based on customer and community requirements, maximising their potential to protect and secure organisations.
Q. As an expert in your field, how do you envision the future of cloud security and IAM, and how will it impact our customers’ businesses?
With increasing connectivity and access from anywhere, cloud security and IAM will continue to evolve to protect against new threats while ensuring users’ productivity. Microsoft’s significant investment in this space means there’s never a dull moment, with new features constantly emerging to safeguard more workloads in the cloud. The introduction of the Zero Trust methodology into organisations further enhances security.
The future of cloud security and IAM will empower our customers’ businesses by providing them with advanced tools and technologies to protect their data and infrastructure effectively.
Q. Building trust is crucial when it comes to security. How will your MVP status strengthen our customers’ confidence in ITC’s cloud security and IAM offerings?
My MVP status, recognised by Microsoft, highlights my knowledge of deployment best practices and my ability to give back to the technical community. Within ITC, this knowledge is available to both our customers and the teams within our organisation, ensuring comprehensive support during customer engagements. Customers can trust that ITC’s cloud security and IAM offerings are backed by recognised expertise and a commitment to excellence.
Q. In addition to technical expertise, effective communication and collaboration are key for success in any role. How do you ensure seamless cooperation with other teams at ITC to provide holistic solutions to our customers?
Effective communication is paramount when deploying multiple products involving multiple teams. Whenever the cloud security and identity practices engage with other parts of the organisation, such as managed services, collaboration and communication between teams are key. My team and I consistently communicate with other teams to ensure smooth and coordinated deployments for our customers.
Q. Lastly, we’d love to know a bit about you beyond your professional life. What are some of your hobbies or interests that help you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
Outside of work, most of my time is dedicated to my partner and two daughters. They occupy a significant portion of my life. Apart from that, I enjoy playing online games and occasionally host LAN parties throughout the year. Additionally, I co-host the “Let’s Talk Azure!” podcast with my close friend, Sam. Together, we delve into Microsoft security and Azure technologies, further exploring my passion for the field.