With nearly 30 years’ experience, Nigel Stanley of Jacobs’ Divergent Solutions unit is a well-recognized thought leader and subject matter expert on operational technology cybersecurity and business risk. His areas of expertise include information security, business risk, threat intelligence, cyber warfare, cyber terrorism, systems engineering, regulations, functional safety, security operations, SCADA and industrial control systems. He has written three books on database and development technologies, and he is a regular speaker at international events and conferences.
Based in the United Kingdom, Nigel works out of the Jacobs London office. He has an Information Security MSc from Royal Holloway, University of London, and he is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
HI, Nigel. Can you tell us a little about your role at Jacobs?
I have been at Jacobs for just over two years as Senior Director of Cybersecurity. Prior to that, I have been working in all things cybersecurity and technology for over 30 years. I originally joined Jacobs’ P&PS team and then moved across to Divergent Solutions when it was formed. This makes for a long-term home in light of the new Jacobs growth strategy. My passion is all things cybersecurity, especially operational technology (OT) cybersecurity which looks at the risk of physical “things” controlled or monitored by computers. With all the smart systems and projects we work on at Jacobs there is no shortage of opportunities for us to grow this side of the business.
Can you tell us about a project you’ve participated in that you’re especially proud of?
I’m proud of most of the projects I get involved in as the work is often addressing real business risk and helping society to be more resilient. Unfortunately, as the work gets more interesting it becomes more sensitive and can’t be talked about. In broad terms the work in critical infrastructure is most engaging and enables me to “do my bit” in protecting how we live our modern lives.
Can you share some career advice you’ve received that was especially memorable?
I know it’s a cliché but, “Never stop learning.” The cyber domain is in a constant state of flux as new threats and challenges emerge. I often find I go away on holiday and return to a whole new set of urgent cyber issues. I’d also say get a good solid engineering education but then think about softer skills – how you interact with people, persuading them and helping them with addressing cyber risk.
“The scale, breadth and depth of projects that we deliver is spectacular, and every one of these projects is now a cybersecurity project. After all, who would build a new city, facility or piece of infrastructure that was anything other than smart and digitally enabled? ”
What are some of the most pressing client challenges that you and your team are working on?
My work is all about managing risk. Helping clients understand cyber risk is a challenge. It is so important as managing this risk enables clients to live, work and grow their businesses in a robust way. The problem is, how do you quantify and budget for a risk that many don’t understand? There is no end of demands on our clients, and helping them get above the noise level to focus on what is really important is key. And it’s not all about doing what the regulations or local laws require; yes, businesses need to comply but then they should think beyond compliance to a cultural change, so cyber risk is looked at in the way that we now manage health and safety issues.
What excites you about Jacobs' strategy, and the work that Divergent Solutions in particular is doing?
Jacobs is a really interesting company to work for. The scale, breadth and depth of projects that we deliver is spectacular, and every one of these projects is now a cybersecurity project. Afterall, who would build a new city, facility or piece of infrastructure that was anything other than smart and digitally enabled? The team at Divergent Solutions is in a great place to grasp these opportunities and help our customers on their respective missions. This is why it is such a cool place to be.
About the interviewee
As Senior Director of Cybersecurity in Divergent Solutions, Nigel works across Jacobs providing insight and solutions for complex projects across data and cyber. With more than 30 years’ experience in cybersecurity Nigel is as enthusiastic today as he was when he first started reverse engineering secure software all those years ago. Nigel is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and is also a professional registration interviewer for the IET, which involves taking candidates through the process of evidencing their skills to become Chartered Engineers.
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