Hi-5 With A CISO

Ian Parker, Menzies Distribution

By Amit Matat
image March 20, 2021 image 2 MIN READ

Hi-5 brings together InfoSec leaders for peer-to-peer sharing via five short questions and insights.

Ian Parker has been working in the cybersecurity space for over 20 years. He held security information management roles in leading organizations such as Fujitsu UK. Two and a half years ago he was appointed as Chief Information Security Officer at Menzies Distribution.

What is the biggest challenge security leaders face today and how are you looking to tackle it?

One of the biggest challenges we are facing as security leaders is to ensure we balance the needs of the business against the requirements to secure our Infrastructure. The security threat landscape is ever-changing and is constantly throwing up new threats which often impact the most critical of our systems. It’s vital therefore that we work with the business and understand their requirements, whilst ensuring they understand the necessity of securing the organization.

In your view, how important are security awareness programs, and what’s a CISO’s main role in making them effective?

Security awareness programs are absolutely vital to an organization. Your employees are your first line of defense, so ensuring they know the threats and giving them the knowledge and tools to deal with them is an absolute must. Ensuring you partner with a vendor who understands your aims and objectives will make this whole process much easier.

What’s the one thing you’ll never tell an employee who’s made a security error, and how would you suggest handling the situation instead?

The key is to ensure that they understand why what they did was an error or created an issue. The vast majority of issues are caused by errors or mistakes and aren’t about employees acting maliciously, but we have to ensure they understand the issue and get the right guidance and support so that it won’t happen again.

When it comes to recruitment – what approach do you take to attract and keep the best talent, and what would be your best tip for a new hire?

When I’m looking to recruit someone into my teams the very first thing I look for is enthusiasm. If they have experience then that’s a huge added bonus, but they can and will gain experience, and skills, through doing the job. You can’t train enthusiasm. My best tip for a new CISO would be to enjoy themselves. Don’t panic unless someone died! 🙂

Finally (just for fun): if you could have dinner with any renowned figure (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

I would love to have dinner with Lance Armstrong. I’d ask him why he took the path he took and was it worth it?


Founded in 1833, Menzies Distribution operates one of the largest overnight time-critical logistics networks in the UK, providing final mile delivery for over 100 million units each year, and serving customers in the press, travel, and third-party logistics sectors.