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 this ongoing and growing problem area. Richard Huison has stepped up to the role of general manager for the UK and Europe a year after joining Gallagher from Vanderbilt Industries’ access control-centric brand ACT.
Huison 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. “The cost of a power outage on the grid is £1 million per minute so clients have to be absolutely sure of their cyber resilience and that everything they plug on to their network is secure,” asserted Huison. “That’s a real challenge in an era where kettles and other household appliances are becoming increasingly Wi-Fi-connected. 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 into everything we put on our networks,” stressed Huison.
In his new role, Huison now fills the shoes of career-long Gallagher stalwart Dave Bentley, who has left the business 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 the aformentioned National Grid, which has evolved to be Gallagher’s largest UK client and its biggest worldwide for perimeters, covering a total of 700 sites through different channel partners via the Gallagher Command Centre in two Alarm Receiving Centres.
Strong and natural leader
Gallagher currently employs 1,100 individuals across a global network in ten countries. R&D alone makes up 135 of the workforce, 75 of whom are software developers. Global security boss Kahl Betham confirmed: “Richard is a strong natural authentic leader with great drive and ambition for the future. We’re delighted to have him take on this general manager’s role.”
Huison spent 14 years at Dublin-based ACT, expanding the brand, increasing its market presence and boosting growth by 25% in the UK. That followed on from three years with French security solutions 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 concerns to make secure financial transactions over a non-secure infrastructure.
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.
Huison is a Civil Aviation Authority-approved drone operator.