Articles by Richard Huison
COVID-19 has been a thorn in the side of countless companies within the security industry and far beyond. Here, we speak with Richard Huison, Regional General Manager for the UK and Europe at Gallagher Security, who summises his personal experience from these recent months and how Gallagher has adapted in the face of pandemic-induced adversity. How has the COVID-19 crisis impacted Gallagher on a day-to-day basis? Gallagher was actually well placed as a result of work already in progress with a number of visionaries and innovators within our business, such as our CIO Neville Richardson. They are determined to put the business on the front foot, making it more digital and proactive in delivering high speed change and we had already been migrating to Microsoft Teams before COVID-19 first reared its ugly head. It’s part of our philosophy to make our business and the solutions we create as stable, reliable and resilient as possible. Gallagher has adapted to the new way of operating fairly seamlessly, while still working alongside the evolving guidance from governments around the world It means Gallagher has adapted to the new way of operating fairly seamlessly, while still working alongside the evolving guidance from governments around the world. When lockdown was imposed, we set about prioritising our clients’ needs and delivering on our commitments as a critical supplier. The Gallagher leadership team quickly rolled out the means to stay connected, positive and safe as each region went into isolation. Effective communication, both internally and externally, has always been a critical success factor for our business. That hasn’t changed with the more remote and virtual nature of our communication now and, if anything, it’s even more important both for business continuity and for the personal wellbeing of each and every one of our colleagues. We’ve quickly adapted to this new way of working and have even become quite adept at recognising people’s contributions and acknowledging a job well done in new ways, such as using the emojis on Microsoft Teams. Perhaps the most striking example of this is our new European marketing manager Bethan Thompson, who joined Gallagher on 1 April, little over a week after lockdown was imposed in the UK. She has enjoyed the richest and most comprehensive introduction to the business from the safety of her own home armed with just a laptop and Teams. What can be the benefits of having employees working from home? There are many benefits of working remotely with productivity right up the top of the list. By reducing the unproductive time spent commuting and travelling to meetings, we are able to get much more done in a day. Add to this the reduction in stress and improved work-life balance and it makes for an impressive formula of happier, healthier and more motivated colleagues. And it’s still easy to measure results no matter where someone is working. We’ve quickly adapted to this new way of working and have even become quite adept at recognising people’s contributions and acknowledging a job well done To be honest, before COVID, we didn’t disconnect enough, close the laptop, switch off our technology and allow ourselves NOT to respond instantly. But trust is an integral part of our culture at Gallagher and we can easily and effectively continue to champion the right balance and support for the team moving forward. How can employees ensure they keep a healthy work/life balance? Working from home can require some personal discipline around taking regular breaks and disconnecting from technology. I encourage all my colleagues to stay active and get regular exercise during the day. Taking time out allows you to process ideas with greater clarity, to be more creative, to plan your day and use your time more effectively – all of which is part of achieving that balance. And it’s important that we do switch off and close our laptop at the end of the day, which requires some discipline when you work for a business headquartered in New Zealand, where they are 11 hours ahead. It’s good to cultivate hobbies and welcome distractions that you are passionate about, to switch off from work more effectively. Personally, I love to be outside on a long dog walk with no technology. It’s liberating. Are you seeing that businesses are already beginning to think differently about their security? We have to remember why security is important. We all have a different view on how we should maintain business continuity. Yes, properties need a reliable detection and defence solution to resist the opportunist. With the mass migration to work remotely, business leaders are concerned that their IT systems are vulnerable to attack and we read daily about the growth in cyber-attacks. It’s common sense to protect your business with a suitable access control and intrusion detection system and the pandemic has proven to business the value of being truly resilient and able to still operate whatever circumstances ensue. What will be the biggest security challenges facing businesses over the next six months? In that timeframe, I don’t see us returning to how things were prior to the pandemic, so businesses will have to adapt to a new normal. We will have to adopt a more holistic view of security, encompassing safety, security and wellbeing, with our teams at the heart of that. In the new world, how can we maintain our teams’ safety at home, or limit them to certain floor space or introduce rotas for office attendance and keep surfaces virus free while they’re there? We need to be alert to where the next threat will come from and mitigate risk against both cyber and biological threat as we’ve seen a virus in either domain can be devastating. How is Gallagher meeting the evolving demands of the market? To be honest, Gallagher has always been ahead of the curve. We’ve been talking about competencies, compliance and resilience for decades, long before cyber became the buzzword. Everything we do is related to business resilience and continuity and security is baked in to our products and solutions at source, providing confidence and reliability for all of our customers.
Gallagher Security, a division of Gallagher Group, a privately-owned New Zealand company, is a global presence in integrated access control, intruder alarm and perimeter security solutions. Gallagher entered the global security industry in the 1990s with the purchase of security access control business Cardax. In the last several decades, the company has leveraged its experience in electric fence technology to develop a variety of innovative solutions used to protect some of the world's most high-consequence assets and locations. Solving business problems Among Gallagher’s recent innovations is the Security Health Check, a software utility that enables customers to run an automated check on their Gallagher Command Centre security system. To get an update on the company, we interviewed Richard Huison, Gallagher’s Regional Manager for the U.K. and Europe, who says he has a passion for technology and solving business problems. Huison says working in the industry for more than 20 years has shown him you can never stop evolving and adapting. Q: What are Gallagher's points of differentiation versus competitors? Huison: Gallagher’s strengths are in solving business problems outside of the normal access control and intrusion detection solutions. Enforcing company policy through compliance and competency is what really matters to business continuity. Using Gallagher Command Centre to oversee the security, health and safety and compliance brings true business value to the client who benefits from reduced costs and risk to the success of their growth and strategy. Q: What is the biggest challenge for customers in the security market, and how does Gallagher help to meet that challenge? Huison: A great solution fit is key. Where most fail is choosing a solution that does not meet the needs of the client in 10 to even 20 years’ time. As businesses evolve and grow, so must the security solution. In a recent conversation, a client had to replace a 300-door access control system that was no longer supported. ‘Why Gallagher?’ they asked. The answer: ‘If you had chosen Gallagher 10 years ago, we would not be having this conversation.’ Ensuing the system you choose is legacy-compliant is king. Gallagher’s brand is well known for protecting Critical National Infrastructure Q: Please describe Gallagher's geographic presence in the UK and Europe. Huison: Gallagher’s brand is well known for protecting Critical National Infrastructure. They choose to adopt our solutions because we meet the highest levels of resilience against cyber-attacks. Our ability to modernise legacy systems ensures the maximum return on investment with minimal disruption to business continuity. Gallagher solutions cover a broad mix of verticals, with strengths in high security, education and large corporate entities. Our Channel Partner network is continually growing so more clients can benefit from the diverse and powerful Gallagher Command Centre software. Q: Describe how Gallagher is typically integrated into larger systems. Huison: Our systems offer the flexibility of being standalone or globally networked via our Multi-Server environment. Most integration happens logically where data is pushing into our Command Centre database. The single point of truth allows for minimal data errors and efficiencies around manual input. The total cost of ownership is greatly reduced in allowing the system to work for the client and not the other way round. Over and above this, Integration into other solutions brings that rich data back to one software front end. Q: What is Gallagher's biggest challenge and how will the company seek to meet that challenge? Huison: Our biggest and continual opportunity is being a relentless innovator. We are not short of ideas and how we are bucking the trends with our solutions. Broadcasting these messages is not always easy in the digital age. This is why Gallagher is investing heavily in more shows, publications and specific vertical conferences globally. Q: What is the market's biggest misconception about Gallagher? Huison: Our brand is known for perimeter solutions with our monitored Pulse Fence. What many forget is we have a very powerful access control and integrated intrusion detection solution that meets Government standards around the world. We are unique in that all three can be controlled via one software platform that is cyber-resilient and infinitely configurable to suit many verticals. Q: What is your message to the security market? Huison: Many see Gallagher as only suitable for large and complex sites. I openly challenge our audience, speak to us and you may find we can provide an Enterprise Level solution that is delivered on budget and provide an outstanding return on investment for the client. Our pedigree of 80 years shows we never stop innovating and building that trusted advisor status with many lifelong clients.
Global access control and perimeter security solutions provider, Gallagher Security is recruiting new channel partners to distribute and install its product range – and is using a major new exhibition to step up the hunt. Signing new channel partners Gallagher Security (Europe) will devote its stand (SE163) at The Security Event from 9-11 April 2019 at The NEC Birmingham to sign up new channel partners with a compelling pitch. New general manager, Richard Huison believes Gallagher offers the security industry at least 10% more value with an enterprise-level solution that is future-proofed ahead of the business curve. Importance of Cybersecurity Gallagher is in the top five UK manufacturers of access control solutions and cites industry standards such as Open Supervised Device Protocol" He says, “For the end user, from small business to multinational, we offer resilience and the confidence that what they are putting on their network will combat the ever-growing cyber threat. For our channel partners, this translates to annual management contracts and retaining clients for longer if they lead with Gallagher.” Richard adds, “Gallagher is in the top five UK manufacturers of access control solutions and cites industry standards such as Open Supervised Device Protocol, on which Gallagher is ‘miles ahead’.” Critical national infrastructure security Countering the cyber threat has been a key plank of Huison’s strategy since stepping up to the helm at Gallagher, which is a long term CPNI-approved supplier to the Home Office and critical national infrastructure clients such as the National Grid. Gallagher Security’s focus is on keeping client businesses and their people safe and offering business continuity and efficiency to ensure core operations run smoothly. The Security Event is a free-to-attend exhibition for the commercial and residential security market with 100 of the world’s leading security brands, a programme of 40 seminars and workshops for its more than 6,000 visitors.
The growing cyber threat is the target for the new man at the helm of Gallagher Security (Europe), whose vision is to equip companies and authorities to combat it. Richard Huison has stepped up to General Manager for UK & Europe, a year after joining Gallagher from Vanderbilt Industries access control brand ACT. He believes Gallagher is perfectly placed to counter the cyber threat as a long term CPNI-approved supplier to the Home Office and critical national infrastructure clients such as the National Grid. Securing the Grid from cyber threat Given the cost to businesses and nation states of falling prey, we have to be sure that security is increasingly baked in to everything we put on our networks"Huison says: “The cost of a power outage on the Grid is £1m per minute so they have to be absolutely sure of their cyber resilience and that everything they plug on to their network is secure. That’s a real challenge in an era where kettles and other household appliances are becoming increasingly wifi-connected, so a hacker switching them all on at the same time could bring down the Grid.” He cites the recent decision to limit Chinese giant Huawei’s involvement in 5G in the UK as evidence of how seriously Government takes the threat and wonders if mass network failures at mobile providers Vodafone and O2 Telefonica have a more sinister cause. “Given the cost to businesses and nation states of falling prey, we have to be sure that security is increasingly baked in to everything we put on our networks,” he says. Filling the shoes of Dave Bentley Huison fills the shoes of career-long Gallagher stalwart Dave Bentley, who has left after 24 years for an entirely new challenge – to run a holiday camp in France. Bentley was the first on site in the UK at customers like Severn Trent Water, EDF, United Utilities and National Grid, which has evolved to be Gallagher’s largest UK client and its biggest worldwide for perimeter, covering a total of 700 sites via different channel partners via the Gallagher Command Centre in two Alarm Receiving Centres. One of Huison's last projects in this role was the development of the Rapier 2000 fire command system where optical cryptos initiated the launch Gallagher employs 1,100 people across a global network in ten countries. Research and development alone makes up 135 of the workforce, 75 of whom are software developers. Global security boss Kahl Betham says: “Richard is a strong natural authentic leader with great drive and ambition for the future. We are delighted to have Richard taking on this GM role.” Security expert for the government Huison spent 14 years at Dublin-based ACT, expanding the brand, increasing their market presence and boosting growth by 25% in the UK. That followed three years with French security manufacturer CDVi. His career in the security industry started with a government contractor making voice and data cryptos and scramblers for the military and government departments. The technology was also adopted by banks and utilities to make secure financial transactions over a non-secure infrastructure. One of his last projects in this role was the development of the Rapier 2000 fire command system where optical cryptos initiated the launch. Out of work, Huison is a qualified commercial diver and a CAA-approved drone operator, both linked to the security and infrastructure industries.
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