Wai Kit Cheah Podcast Transcript

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Headshot of Senior Director Wai Kit Cheah

Wai Kit Cheah Podcast Transcript

Wai Kit Cheah joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of the Digital Executive Podcast.

Brian Thomas: Welcome to the Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Wai Kit Cheah. Wai Kit Cheah serves as the Senior Director of Product Management and Practices at Lumen Technologies in the Asia Pacific region. A role that highlights his extensive experience in cybersecurity and digital transformation with a career spanning over three decades.

Why kit has significantly contributed to the IT/OT operations, risk and compliance and AI and automation sectors. His tenure at Lumen technologies is marked by his leadership in developing the company’s cybersecurity strategy and overseeing the architecture of security operation centers in Asia Pacific.

Well, good afternoon, Wai Kit, welcome to the show.

Wai Kit Cheah: Thank you for having me.

Brian Thomas: Absolutely. I appreciate you making the time jumping on this amazing podcast. We’ve got amazing guests like yourself sharing their story around their career, their technology, and their company. So, thank you again. Wai Kit, we’re going to jump right into this podcast.

We’ve got some questions here for you. You’ve got quite the career in technology. You’re an entrepreneur, an architect, and senior executive. Now you’re the Senior Director of Product Management and Practices at Lumen Technologies. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?

Wai Kit Cheah: Well, I’m a fixer, a problem solver. I truly enjoy coming up with solutions, solving All sorts of challenges that whether it’s business, technology, processes, or even risks. Right? So that’s me. I’m a fixer. And I think what really inspires me is the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve taken away a problem, a pain from someone and helping them to have a sleepless no, a peaceful night. Thank you. That’s me.

Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. And I think we all feel much, feel like there’s a purpose or we’re fulfilled when we’re serving others and solving problems that others have, whether it’s a client, a coworker, family member. Right. So that’s awesome. Appreciate that. I love that fixer. Love that term. I think you and I share the same sentiments in this business.

So, Wai Kit beyond investing in higher order services in the cloud, do you have any other Recommendations for companies looking to get out of their on-premise mindset when transitioning to the cloud.

Wai Kit Cheah: I feel that today many organizations are still burdened by a lot of what we call technical debts, right?

Legacy application workloads that they have difficulty in modernizing. And like someone once told me, you know, moving an application workload that It’s a burden to the organization from on prem to the cloud, virtualizing it and bringing it to the cloud is like shifting a pile of trash from one point A to point B.

It doesn’t really help the organization, the business much. My recommendation is always look at. The overall architecture and the objective and intent of the the cloud migration. What do you want to achieve out of it? And look at how can we re architect, re platform, re host some of those application workloads that the business rely on and leverage as much as possible on.

Native services where there is serverless and I think that’s where the ROI can be maximized from such cloud investments.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. And I appreciate that as a CIO, I’ve been in this space a long-time unpacking. Some of this is very helpful. You know, a lot of times people are stuck in that legacy mindset, or maybe they don’t have the budget to move or do that transition.

But sharing some of that is very helpful to myself and the audience as well. So, thank you. And why kit since the pandemic we’ve. Have this hybrid and remote workers all over the globe. As you know, how do you help keep customers secure across locations and devices?

Wai Kit Cheah: Well, like it or not, I think many organizations are going to stick with that hybrid work model for some time to come. It creates a different setting. One with employees working from anywhere. It has expanded. The attack surface for organizations. So, in the old days where your office function is, uh, you know, a wall fortress, that parameter that wall fortress no longer exists. That parameter has now expanded beyond that corporate network.

So how do we actually secure a employee, a user’s access to data, to cloud services and how we are helping that. Is to help them move into a journey towards SASE and towards Zero Trust network architecture. So, verifying remote users, what are the approved devices that they can connect from to which cloud services based on their roles, based on the time of day and making sure that those access are approved and authorized and always verifying using Zero Trust principles.

I think that’s what we are, we would, we are helping our clients today.

Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. And, you know, we’ve seen such a proliferation of technology, but also cyber criminals and activity and when the pandemic came about, that just kind of opened the door because, as you mentioned, you’re kind of expanding your footprint outside of your traditional company walls, right?

Or outside those firewalls. So, appreciate the share. I appreciate what you are all doing. And I agree with adopting that zero trust. Mindset is so key to keeping everybody safe and secure these days. So why kit last question of the day, you’re obviously leveraging some new and emerging technologies in your tech stack. Is there anything in particular you’d like to share with us today?

Wai Kit Cheah: You probably have heard a lot of hype and Interests and around Gen AI, right? AI has been around for years, but it’s only in the recent year or two that it really has progressed a lot. I feel that many people confuse AI and treat it as a one generic bucket.

If we can break it down into different areas, one is automation. And for many years now in, in Lumen, for example, we leverage automation in a lot of the things that we do. Almost 80 percent of security events in our SOC today doesn’t touch a human hand, right? So, we automate the playbooks and that’s something that we have been leveraging on.

But AI use cases are important. So, understanding how do you apply Gen AI. In your business context, specifically in which business process, what data does it consume? And how do you use it securely and safely without, without affecting any potential risks to your assets? Right? So that’s something that we are looking at internally as well as helping our clients to explore and yeah.

Explore how they can actually leverage on such technology to help their business. So that’s an interesting time ahead. I’m excited with what we can do with what’s, uh, available in the market now. It’s just trying to align the business with the technology. That’s the key ingredient to making it successful.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. And you’re absolutely right. We’re at a pivotal moment in history. I believe with generative AI where; you know this may make or break us in my mind. There’s a lot of things that still need to be fixed. There needs to be a lot of more. I would say governance around some of the technology because again, there are people that are you know signaling the alarm bells on doing this ethically, which I agree.

Thank you. But I really appreciate your insights and what you’re doing to help your customers. And Wai Kit, thank you for joining from Singapore tonight, by the way. I love this stuff. It was such a pleasure having you on and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

Wai Kit Cheah: Thank you so much.

Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Wai Kit Cheah Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.

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