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CIO50 2021 #26-50: Paul Spain, Gorilla Technology

  • Name Paul Spain
  • Title CEO
  • Company Gorilla Technology
  • Commenced role 2001
  • Reporting Line CEO
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Technology Function 11 staff
  • Paul Spain says that Gorilla Technology works with SMEs across a range of sectors, acting in the capacity as their outsourced IT department. This involves everything from strategic technology leadership (CIO, CDO and CISO functions) through to IT help desk. The service includes making technology decisions, informing boards and senior leadership, purchasing and deploying strategic technology solutions, a range of cyber security related activities along with IT troubleshooting.

    Focus on cybersecurity

    A major area of innovation in the past two years has been an increased focus on cybersecurity, as global cyber criminals are increasingly attacking New Zealand organisations. Most recently Gorilla Technology has developed a matrix for clients which instantly shows them areas where they may need to put in further resources to increase cyber resilience, and we work with them to shore up their defences in these areas.

    “CERT NZ’s latest quarterly report notes that the average number of incident reports it receives per quarter Is 1,624 and the average direct financial loss per quarter is $4 million. We are very pleased to report that none of our clients have been materially affected by cybercrime, but that doesn’t mean they or we can relax! Keeping cybercrime at bay happens through partnership and in unity or Kotahitanga with our client organisations,” Spain says.

    Gorilla Technology has developed a cyber security information pack specifically for business owners and boards. Spain is increasingly reporting to client’s boards on cyber security, explaining what the threats are and encouraging them to see that cybersecurity is an organisational risk, and as such requires the same care and attention from them as they give to health and safety risks.

    “This is a hugely important initiative as defeating cybercriminals, and ensuring SMEs don’t become victims, is to a large extent about changing the culture and behaviours of an organisation,” Spain says.

    “SME owner’s staff, especially when they are working from home during COVID-19 lockdowns, won’t be able to understand the importance of being vigilant against phishing emails etc, if they don’t get that strong message from their managers.”

    Communicating tech to New Zealanders

    In addition to being chief executive and founder of Gorilla Technology, Spain’s job title includes ‘Futurist’. This is because he encourages people to think beyond tactical decisions to being more strategic when it comes to creating value through technology use.

    In addition to ensuring that individuals, SMEs and large organisations don’t lose money to global cyber criminals, Spain says he hugely passionate about seeing Aotearoa New Zealand grow economically and in so doing reduce poverty and provide more opportunities for young people. He really believes technology is the way to do this.

    For the past ten years Spain has run the NZ Tech Podcast, which is now over 550 episodes. It’s where he talks to a range of interesting people in the local and global tech sector, from IT and telco leaders through to tech start-ups, and even the odd tech journalist!

    Spain also regularly appears in the mainstream media to commentate on different aspects of tech innovation, cyber security and business. This includes appearances on TVNZ, Three, RNZ and NewsTalk ZB plus commentary and articles for mainstream publications such as Stuff. It is not unusual for Spain to communicate with an audience in excess of 100,000 people in any given month.

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