Interview: Nathan McGregor

Cradlepoint Australia Pty Ltd

Thursday, 30 November, 2023


Interview: Nathan McGregor

Is on-premise officially dead? Where is cloud headed in the year ahead and what are the implications for government?

While not a new concept, distributed organisations continue to grow in number with no sign of slowing down. Globalisation, changing working environments, a general acceptance of working ‘on-the-go’ as the primary way to work across many industries, and the evolution of consumer demands, has meant that hybrid hosting and cloud computing is increasingly the norm. We’re also seeing increasing utilisation of cellular connectivity across organisations.

The emergence of 5G as a primary WAN technology and the growth of cloud computing creates new opportunities for organisations and governments but also brings a larger threat vector. Government departments will need to implement tight security controls, like Zero Trust Network Access technology that prevents lateral movements, limits user access to ‘just enough’, verifies before trusting, and never stops monitoring.

Machine learning, AI and automation grabbed all the headlines last year — what separates the hype from reality in terms of useful application?

Mordor Intelligence1 predicts the smart mining market will triple by 2025, when it’s expected that 25% of mines will have adopted autonomous operations and half of all mines will connect their employees to improve safety and raise productivity. A main driver: the rising adoption of wireless monitoring and centralised solutions by large mining organisations. Wireless networks are the true backbone that connect the devices and enable data sharing.

AI will also become one with the network, impacting all organisational operations. We’ll begin to see the benefits of AI being integrated into all applications related to the network, bolstering network predictability, troubleshooting, security and more. Organisations will need to ensure AI transparency and security practices are adequate in order to make the most of it.

Privacy, data security and the exceptional customer experience… can they coexist?

According to Techmonitor2, there was a 98% spike in cyber attacks on IoT devices within the last quarter of 2022. To defend against the growing number of bad actors within the growing 5G landscape, Gartner’s SASE framework is an attractive option. While many of its principles are for protecting users, the zero-trust network access principle in SASE also provides a great foundation where the network plays a major role in protecting IoT devices. Using cloud-based management allows an easier approach to network configuration, identifying resources and setting up access policies for each device. This is especially important on networks with both IoT devices and users.

In an ideal world, what would government, innovators and the tech industry successfully deliver in 2024?

In countries like Singapore, the main international airport (Changi) is a hub of automation, making the travelling experience for passengers more efficient. Applications like digital facial recognition for passport control, digital queue management with check-in booking, seamless digital parking voucher redemption programs, and IoT-based intelligent mapping out to the cleaning team to prioritise areas for cleaning based on real-time flight data and passenger traffic, are the norm. Given our culture of innovation and available 5G telecommunications infrastructure, it would be great to see parts of Australian industry take a similar approach to digitalisation.

1. Mordor Intelligence 2023, Smart Mining Market Size & Share Analysis - Growth Trends & Forecasts (2023 - 2028), <<https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/smart-mining-market>>

2. Morrison R 202 Hackers increasingly targeting Internet of Things devices, Techmonitor, <<https://techmonitor.ai/technology/cybersecurity/hackers-targeting-internet-of-things-devices>>

Nathan has over 20 years of leadership experience in the telecommunications and IT industry working for prominent companies. He has successfully led technology businesses across APAC delivering networking, IoT, and analytics solutions across all industries. Nathan joined Cradlepoint in 2021 from Cisco Meraki, where he spent more than two years as Australia and New Zealand Country Manager.

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