Chris Gilbert: Innovating Security into Cloud Tech Leadership

Chris Gilbert | Owner and Founder | Security Pros, LLC
Chris Gilbert | Owner and Founder | Security Pros, LLC

Chris Gilbert, based in Sellersburg, Indiana, United States, is the owner and founder of Security Pros, LLC, leveraging extensive experience from previous roles at Security Pros, LLC. A New Washington High School graduate from 1990 to 1994, Chris Gilbert brings a diverse skill set encompassing risk mitigation, system design, professional services, risk management, security, and more, offering valuable insights to the industry.

The journey into a career in cloud technology wasn’t a predetermined choice for Chris; rather, it unfolded organically over time. His introduction to the security industry traces back to late 1997, and over the years, a fearless mindset toward change has been a defining attribute.

This fearlessness has enabled a steadfast focus on consistently innovating service offerings. The transition to a cloud technology career reflects a commitment to embracing change and advancing the innovative landscape within the market.

Below are highlights of the interview:

As a leader in Cloud Tech, can you share a defining moment in your career that significantly shaped your perspective on cloud technologies and leadership?

In the initial stages of my journey deploying access control systems, I encountered challenges associated with selling software and computers. One persistent issue that posed a threat to the security and integrity of the solutions was the high turnover rate. It became evident that a more dynamic approach was needed to address these concerns. In 2002, I was introduced to the concept of hosted access control.

The profound impact it had on the overall client experience became a transformative factor influencing my decision-making. Witnessing the impact of embracing cloud-based services, I recognized the potential for enhanced efficiency, scalability, and adaptability. This experience played a significant role in steering my trajectory towards the adoption of cloud-based solutions in the realm of access control.

In your role, how do you balance staying at the forefront of technological advancements with maintaining a strategic vision for your team and organization?

We have strategically aligned ourselves with partners and customers who aren’t afraid to push the boundaries of innovation in their products and services. The deliberate choice to collaborate with such forward-thinking groups has not only been a testament to our commitment to staying at the forefront of the industry but has also required us to embrace change regularly.

Adapting our offerings and restructuring our company around these powerful partnerships has been a significant aspect of our journey. While the process is undoubtedly challenging, the overall effect on our team has proven to be significantly less than if we were to undergo a substantial shift in our technology offerings or if we introduced multiple options within the same technological realm.

To synchronize our operations and maximize the benefits of these partnerships, we’ve aligned our teams with our warehouse processes and billing systems around a central framework. This strategy not only streamlines our internal workflows but also enhances our agility in responding to the evolution of technology.

Can you describe your leadership style in the context of leading teams involved in the development and implementation of cloud solutions?

I wholeheartedly endorse a fail-forward approach when it comes to leading teams, particularly in the dynamic realm of cloud technology. We consistently encounter unique challenges at every site or deployment in this field, making adaptability and learning from experiences crucial.

Empowering our teams to conduct thorough internal testing and deep training not only equips them with essential skills but also establishes a robust knowledge base. This foundation becomes instrumental as we navigate through the intricacies of different projects and deployments. Embracing a fail-forward philosophy means viewing setbacks not as roadblocks but as opportunities for growth and refinement.

As the landscape of cloud technologies evolves rapidly, how do you foster a culture of continuous learning and adaptation within your team?

In the world of business, which is no stranger to constant change, a fail-forward approach holds true for virtually any industry. Acknowledging and learning from failures fosters resilience and contributes to the ongoing improvement of processes and strategies. By instilling a culture of continuous learning, we build a team where we can make iterations that allow us to use challenges as steppingstones toward success and stay true to the philosophy of progress and innovation in the cloud technology field.

A crucial element in sustaining ongoing success is the promotion of a culture that, as a team, grasps the impact of cloud-centric solutions on various dimensions, from our business operations and financial outcomes to the personal lives of our team members and their families. This involves deliberately integrating cloud-related discussions into our meetings, strategically weaving them into our everyday operations.

We actively and continually influence the thinking of our team through consistent engagement in team chats and conversations. By fostering an environment where cloud-related topics are discussed and deeply contemplated, we instill a collective awareness of the significance of these solutions. This deep understanding permeates our organizational ethos, making cloud-centric solutions an integral part of our decision-making processes and thereby ensuring a holistic and informed approach to business strategy.

How do you navigate challenges related to security and compliance in the cloud environment, and what measures do you take to ensure data integrity and confidentiality?

When transitioning to cloud-based services, it becomes imperative to have a genuine understanding of the specific restrictions imposed by the vertical markets targeted for service offerings. Within certain markets, there might exist restrictions rooted in outdated policies, firm business practices, or traditional methodologies. Leaders can effectively navigate by educating their team on cloud service advancements, emphasizing security benefits, and addressing drawbacks before pursuing specific verticals.

For opportunities that hold substantial strategic value, such as national or global accounts, a deliberate effort is made to instigate a shift in the collective mentality. This involves investing time and resources to align the team’s understanding with the evolving industry of cloud services and security protocols.

Conversely, for one-off opportunities, we take a more cautious stance, with a layer of education among our team about the intricacies of the cloud landscape. While these opportunities might be approached with caution, the proactive initiatives serve as a foundation for future engagements. Anticipating policy changes down the road, we engage in these opportunities with the foresight that they may face changes, positioning ourselves strategically for conversations in the future.

What, in your opinion, are the key trends or emerging technologies within the realm of Cloud Tech that leaders should be paying attention to in the coming years?

Several key trends demand our attention in the realm of deploying solutions, particularly in the context of video management. One critical aspect is the consideration of bandwidth and its utilization by the client before the solution is even sold. Traditionally, integrators have not always placed a significant focus on this factor, especially when dealing with video deployments. However, the implications of overlooking bandwidth considerations can be significant, impacting the overall success and longevity of deployments for the client.

Another important trend involves the integration and utilization of AI and analytics to enhance video management and make it more impactful for end-users. The strategic incorporation of these technologies can optimize operational costs and contribute positively to overall business operations. It is essential to recognize that deploying solutions that merely reduce operating costs without enhancing business operations might limit our potential for gaining referrals and expanding our businesses, ultimately diminishing their overall value.

In navigating these trends, it becomes imperative for integrators to adopt a well-rounded perspective, ensuring that the solutions deployed not only address immediate technical considerations but also align with the broader business objectives of clients. This helps foster long-term success and value for both parties.

As a leader, how do you foster collaboration between different teams, especially between IT and business units, to ensure the effective integration of cloud technologies into overall business strategies?

The cornerstone of our success lies in the meticulous nature of our discovery process and the thorough risk assessment undertaken during our first meeting with a new client. We need to dig deep into understanding the intricacies of the businesses we aim to assist, educate the customers on the potential impact our solutions may have, and critically evaluate whether our team is the optimal fit for the opportunity at hand. This holistic approach ensures that we not only align with the client’s objectives but also position our team strategically to achieve our goals.

Our track record reflects that success is most pronounced when we place our team in a position where victory is not just possible but highly probable. This involves a commitment to following known requirements and avoiding compromise. On the contrary, deviations into the “grey area,” where people bend established principles, tend to lead to a loss, detrimentally affecting both an integrator and the client.

Effective collaboration, therefore, hinges on clear communication, directing efforts towards a shared direction where all stakeholders stand to gain. This partner mentality forms the bedrock of prosperous relationships, fostering an environment where mutual success is not only sought after but consistently achieved through a commitment to a transparent and mutually beneficial solution.