Host: Jeremy Cherny interviews Pat Riley, President and CEO of New Horizons of Wisconsin
“We’ve grown to be Wisconsin’s largest provider of technology training and skill improvement. We work with clients on everything from end user training in Microsoft Word all the way to cloud computing and cybersecurity, IoT, blockchain and AI – and then everything in between. We also work with people who are looking to convert their career paths and want to get into computer learning.”
Have you seen an increase in people wanting a career shift with everything that COVID has brought?
There’s two things that I think are really driving that. The first is our ability to bring live instruction into people’s homes – everything we do is live. We deliver our training either in-person, which we’re doing very little of these days, but we also do what we call Online Live. This way people can interact via video, they can raise their hand, ask questions and get face-to-face interaction with an instructor. It’s an incredible experience and a huge differentiator for us. The second part is just the growth of technology. The two hottest areas to be in right now are healthcare and technology. So we’ve got the ability to deliver into people’s homes a live experience and we’ve got the growth of the industry as well.
Why and how is security important for your business?
So we have a lot of people come to our facilities to take certification exams. Those are very important and can be worth $20,000 in compensation based on a person’s level within certain companies. In addition to that, these certifications are generally very difficult, so we have to have certain things in place to make sure no one is cheating or anything along those lines. We also have a lot of data on our students and the companies that we work with, so security is extremely important there as well. We work with a hybrid cloud solution to ensure that everything anyone shares with us is and stays secure.
How do you address security awareness training for your team?
I think the biggest thing is the relationships that we have with the vendors that are delivering the actual component of security – so we have relationships with everybody. We’re a Microsoft gold partner, VMware partner, Cisco partner, Google AWS, Redhead partner, the list goes on and on. So we’re actually getting information first hand directly from these companies and, a lot of time, have access to information even before products are on the marketplace. The second part, is that we are very aware of the marketplace itself – specifically what’s important to particular customers. We are really client-centered and offer our clients what will best fit their needs.
Since you’re seeing these things ahead of time, is there anything you can tell us about the future of information security?
I think one of the trends we’re seeing is a movement of cybersecurity from being a hardware solution to being a software solution. A lot of companies are moving away from cybersecurity as a hardware solution to making it into a software solution. The other thing that we’re seeing a lot of is the creation of incident response teams. Cybersecurity touches every part of the business so these teams are made up of all kinds of people – lawyers, communications departments – and they’re building these teams to be ready in case there’s an incident.
What’s your favorite tech movie or show?
I just got done watching Altered Carbon on Netflix – I was bored at the time and didn’t have a show I was watching so I thought why not. It’s very Blade Runner-ish. It’s about a dystopian future where you can live forever by having your life force be on this little disc, and when your body runs out they can pull out the disc and upload it to what they call a sleeve, which is just a human body. It’s a pretty interesting show – people living forever and accumulating a lot of wealth, and there’s a murder that the main character has to solve. Once I started watching I got hooked, and I thought it was really good.