Blog | TLC Connect 2023 – Our Key Takeaways

Josh Porter
Speaker interviews

November’s TLC Connect summits marked a pivotal moment for us at Rela8 Group and the Technology Leaders Club. When COVID hit in 2020, we pivoted away from summits and moved into virtual events so we could continue to keep our community connected. As the world began to open up again, we began our return to in-person events with private dinners, Wembley events, track days, TLC Reconnect, and more. Slowly but surely, we have been working our way back to summits and this month we finally saw that goal realised.

Our TLC Connect Summits brought together thought leaders, innovators, and experts from across our CISO and CDO community to delve into the latest challenges in artificial intelligence, hurdles around environmental sustainability, cultural transformation, and the tools shaping tomorrow’s landscape. As with all Rela8 Group’s Technology Networking Events, Connect provided a unique platform for our community of CISOs and CDOs to connect, share insights, and collaborate, and the response has surpassed all our expectations. Here are some key takeaways from the day that we’d like to share.

Insightful Sessions on AI

It simply can’t be avoided. AI was without a doubt the star of the show for both our CISO and CDO community. Sessions ranged from speculative – is AI the future of the industry? To hesitant – are we ready to embrace AI? To practical – how can we unleash the power of AI for our organisations? It was clear that whether or not everyone was already on the path to AI, everyone was at least seriously considering the impact of AI on their industry. The key element of every conversation was the regulatory challenge and using AI responsibly and ethically.

AI is definitely here to stay. Responsible innovation and making sure your solutions are trustworthy needs to be embedded within your organisation. It’s not a checkbox, it has to be a practice or a framework. Moving forward, I think we’ll still be having a lot of ethical conversations and discussing how we actually shape the regulation as well going forward

Prathiba Krishna, AI & Ethics Lead @ SAS UKI
AI Summit Panel TLC Connect
Our community were eager to sink their teeth into AI discussions

Navigating the Landscape of Sustainability

While AI dominated the interest of our attendees, conversations around sustainability provided the community with some critical insights. With a number of sessions focusing on driving value for the business, it was Pedro Cosa and his session on sustainability that dared to ask – what is the cost of all this technology?

Everybody is talking about using AI, 5G, etc. but I think there is a price that comes with it that maybe hiding in a dark corner and is something that people aren’t really thinking about. It really hits home when you look at stats from MIT that reveal that the data industry generates a larger carbon footprint than the airline industry.

Pedro Cosa, Executive Data Leader

The conversation was free flowing and hugely important for our community. It’s clear that nobody is an expert on these environmental challenges, but the conversations started by providing an open forum for our leaders to raise awareness and discuss approaches to it, made this session one of our favourites from the event.

Cultural Transformation in the Digital Age

Culture is a critical factor in the success of any organisation, particularly in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Over the course of our TLC Connect Summits, we held sessions dedicated to the cultural aspects of digital transformation, with experts sharing strategies for fostering innovation, agility, and adaptability within teams. Attendees gained valuable insights into creating a culture that embraces change and positions organisations for long-term success as well as strategies for tackling burnout and overcoming the skills gap plaguing the tech industry.

Let’s focus on building relationships. Let’s focus on understanding the business. Let’s focus on the key drivers that are going to push our company to be the most successful they can be, all while being secure, which is already in the back of our minds.

Tamlynn Deacon, Head of Information and Cyber Security, Digital @ HBK

It’s a huge industry problem in general and some of the hiring requirements to get people into the industry can be very difficult. We spoke a lot about the soft skills required and how people fixate on the more traditional technical skills when we can look for this talent that’s out there right beneath our noses and people that are willing, keen, and eager to learn and obviously have that foundational emotional intelligence where we can then teach the technical skills that are required.

Dan Overton, EMEA Information Security Officer/UK DPO @ Lockheed Martin
Dan Overton pictured here running his breakout session titled “Finding the right people: Avoiding employee churn and building your team”

Exploring the Tools of Tomorrow

From advancements in cyber security to the latest in data analytics, participants gained a firsthand look at the tools that will drive technological innovation in the coming years. The sessions provided a roadmap for CISOs and CDOs to navigate the evolving tech landscape and make informed decisions about adopting the tools that best align with their organisational goals. Experts throughout the day were putting their heads together to anticipate the future of the security and data industries, and one thing was clear, nobody knows exactly what is coming! However, there were plenty of excellent suggestions.

I think the next big thing is going to be threat intelligence to be honest.  I feel like we’re at a point where the DR is going to become what the antivirus was a few years ago – the bare minimum. So, I think we’re going to get to a point where DR is the bare minimum and the next thing, we’re doing is touring the country telling people this is why you need threat intelligence.

Harrison Craigie, Pre-Sales Engineer @ ESET

Everyone is probably going to say gen AI, but I think we may be in the midst of the implementation problem that I think AI is going to bring to organisations. I think at the moment we are in the wild west of gen AI where we are just trying to use it to solve everything, and hopefully in a year’s time we will be focusing on the business value that we can drive. Otherwise, I think data management, data culture, and how we get people to use data will always be on people’s agendas.

Andy Mott, EMEA & APAC Head of Partner Solutions Architecture and Data Mesh Practice Lead @ Starburst

I think attack surface management is going to become bigger and I also think the security posture validation is going to become more and more important. You see a lot of stuff done with pen testing that’s point in time, but a lot of this is about how do you address continually things like attack surface, how do you continually validate based on the nature of how businesses operate today, in that they are transforming rapidly, and things are changing by the hour, not daily, weekly, monthly.

Dan Gadd, Sales Engineering Manager, EMEA @ Randori

Looking Ahead

Beyond the insightful sessions, the TLC Connect Summits offered an unparalleled opportunity for networking and collaboration. Attendees had the chance to connect with peers from their industry, share experiences, challenges, and importantly, keys to success. The collaborative spirit fostered at the summits laid the groundwork for future partnerships and alliances, reinforcing the sense of camaraderie among our already tight knit community.

The TLC Connect Summits in November were a resounding success, bringing together leaders in the tech industry to explore the forefront of our ever-evolving industry. Attendees left with a wealth of insights, new connections, and a renewed sense of purpose in driving innovation within their organisations. As the curtains close on the TLC Connect Summits for this year, the excitement for the future is palpable. The success of these events has paved the way for even more impactful gatherings in the coming year as we take our TLC Connect summits to a much bigger stage – TLC Connect Global.

We look forward to seeing how these conversations grow and develop alongside our community in the coming year – hope to see you at an event soon.

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