Never Forget the 80-20 Rule - Q and A with Derrick Bates

Derrick Bates
Derrick Bates

What was your first job? I was an Apprentice Civil Engineer in Glasgow at Crouch and Hogg.

What do you think most people imagine your job as? Most don't know but often think I just maintain the anti-virus software. Being NHS one bus driver calls me ‘Doc.' Go figure.

If you were to describe yourself as a household object, what would it be? A Fridge, cold but full of good things. Or a kettle, boiling with good ideas.

What would your last meal be? My wife's Tatie Pot!

If the battle between IT security pros and cyber threats were to be embodied in comic book characters, what classic super hero/nemesis match-up do you think would be most fitting? Batman facing the Joker. An ordinary guy with special skills facing a dangerous guy who thinks what he does is funny.

If you had to have an occupation other than the one you're doing, what would you do? Helicopter pilot.

Have you ever heard a good joke about IT security? Nick Helm's password joke. "I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." Won best joke at the Edinburgh Festival.

What is the most important personality trait for a successful cyber security professional? Tightly controlled paranoia.

What technology did you used to rely on, and are now happy is obsolete? Paper tape with holes in it, used for loading algorithms into encryption machines.

What is the best career advice you ever received? On my first day in the Army, I was 15 and facing an enormous 6' 6” Aberdonian sergeant. He said, “If you only ever remember one thing, remember this, if in doubt, ask!”


Derrick Bates is the Chief Information Security Officer and a member of the Senior Management Team for the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.

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