Interview with Martin Duffy, IASME’s new IoT Security Assured Scheme Manager

Welcome to IASME Martin, can you tell us about yourself and how you heard about this role?
I’m originally from Cork in Ireland and moved to the UK after University to work in the electronics sector, specifically in the silicon chip industry. I started out as a design engineer working on custom chips, progressing to application support, and on to a variety of technical sales and business development roles. I had some great experiences, including a transfer to Sydney for 3 years managing a distribution network covering Australia and New Zealand for the chip manufacturer STMicroelectronics. My children were very young at the time and when we returned to South Wales, they had a very strong Aussie accents!

Looking back, the year 2000 was about the peak for electronics, at this time the ‘dot.com’ boom ended, and the electronics industry started to be driven by the growth in the market for consumer products, starting with mobile phones. Consumer devices generally are price sensitive, which means lower margins for manufacturers which in turn resulted in industry shrinkage over time, certainly in the UK, and jobs and manufacturing migrated from Europe to the far east.

So last year I had a serious think: 1) what did I want to do career-wise? 2) what am I interested in? 3) where are the jobs in 2020? Answers: Technology and Cyber Security!

I did a full-time Masters degree in Cyber Security at the University of South Wales, finishing in Nov 2020. My dissertation, over the summer of lockdown in 2020, was about security limitations and societal benefits of the smart speaker/internet of things in the context of the modern home … which turned out to be very relevant to my IASME job interview! My only regret was not having approached IASME 12 months earlier so we could have worked together on the project.

The time at university was a very positive experience. Apart from upskilling, it taught me a lot of things about myself – mainly that I still retained the technical aptitude that I had as a 21-year old, which was gratifying. I am happy to be working in the Cyber Security field as I feel I am doing something of value in the world, in my own little way, and that gives me motivation.

I actually heard about IASME through networking. I live in the Vale of Glamorgan, and it was a cyber security consultant in South Wales, who turned out to be an IASME Certifying Body who mentioned IASME to me. I learned about Cyber Essentials the hard way during the Masters: As part of a project, I did a fictitious cyber security review of a company, and I was marked down for NOT including Cyber Essentials as the no.1 recommendation to have for the company – lesson learnt!

What is your role at IASME? 

My main role is as the certification manager for the Internet of Things Security Assured scheme.

IASME’s head of technical strategy, Jamie Randall, was responsible for developing the IoT Security Assured scheme as a vital tool for manufacturers to reassure customers that the device they have purchased has the most important security controls in place. The scheme has been designed specifically to be accessible to smaller organisations, micro-businesses and start-ups, as well as larger, more established manufacturers. It will also enable organisations to demonstrate their commitment to best practice security which includes verifying the security of connected devices in their supply chain.

Jamie ran a very successful pilot scheme, and we have launched the scheme fully now. So far, we have assessed a number of products and signed up and trained 40 assessors. Looking forward, my role will be to support the IoT assessors and to help the scheme grow by looking at new markets.

For more information about the scheme and advice about what to look for when buying an internet-enabled device or how to set up a device securely, you can visit our website.

For more information about the IoT Security Assured scheme, contact Martin at [email protected]