Global Insight

Jon Goldstone – Head of Systems and Technology

Please describe your role:

I look after and am responsible for every aspect of IT at Contamac. A very varied role considering the plethora of IT equipment and reliance on the various systems and software required to run the manufacturing, operations and all the other individual departmental requirements.

I came in as a SAP consultant to implement SAP across the business, and a large part of what I do is still look after the SAP system, but now I also manage the internal IT department and our external support team, TechWyse, who look after all of the above, all the while keeping us safe from cyber-attacks and potential harm and ensuring business continuity.

What is your professional history?

After studying Software Systems at University, I have worked in various roles, from Systems Analyst to IT Project Manager for an NHS (National Health Service) Trust. I spent a few years running my own business (another story for another day) before I moved back to IT when I became IT manager for a fashion footwear manufacturer. This led me to become a SAP Implementation Consultant which I did for about 7 years before starting with Contamac.

So, I came here with extensive IT, SAP, and commercial experience which I think made this role ideal.

What do you enjoy most about working at Contamac and in our Industry?

I love the fact we make a complete product from start to finish here in Saffron Walden and export it around the world. When I talk to friends and family about what we do, I find myself talking with pride that we’re a British manufacturer selling amazing products around the world which benefit the lives of countless people.

How has SAP been utilised to improve processes at Contamac?

As a huge advocate for SAP, I could talk about this for hours! I think it has improved every aspect of the business, from the visibility of requirements and resource planning, to operating smoothly and effectively, to getting good products out the door on time, and giving real-time insights into the performance of the company. In turn, key stakeholders can make informed decisions which have a significant impact on the success of this company.

What challenges does the evolution of AI (Artificial Intelligence) bring to workplace cyber security?

Interesting question… and one which is a hot topic in both the media and the cyber security world. The honest answer is that no one really knows how much AI will change this landscape. However, there is already evidence that phishing emails are becoming more sophisticated and, therefore, harder to tell if they’re genuine or malicious. AI is clever in analysing and determining what seems to be working (successfully tricking people) and what doesn’t – and therefore adapts its mechanism to trick more people. So, the answer is not a good one – AI is going to make cyber security even more of an issue for companies, which is why we’re taking so many steps and making so much investment to help us keep one step ahead of the game.

What are your top 3 tips for cyber security?

The 3 golden rules of cyber security for work or home/personal are:

1 – Vigilance

By that, I mean stay alert for anything which looks suspicious. Typically, this will be emails which come in with links or attachments, or a website which is asking you questions or to input some data, but it could even be a phone call.

2 – Don’t take risks

If you’re not 100% sure that something or someone is genuine, then be suspicious, and question why this is being asked.

3 – Take precautions

The obvious ones are to keep passwords safe, don’t share them, make them unique and random. Where possible, use Multi-Factor Authentication (sometimes called 2-factor authentication) which is when you need an app or second device to log you in.

This MFA (Multi Factor Authentication) approach has been proven to be the single most effective way to keep people, systems, and file safe – but it’s not impossible to be hacked or got around so you still need to take care.

What do you like doing outside of work?

Other than being a father to 3 small(ish) children, I don’t have much time for anything else – but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

And if my back would allow it, I loved playing football and tennis, but sadly haven’t been able to play for a while.

And back in the day I loved travelling – having spent over 2 years in places like India and South East Asia, as well as almost a year in Uganda and a year in Israel

If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs – such as food and water – were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

I feel like I should say a Swiss army knife, but that would indicate a level of knowledge that I would know what to do with it. So, I’ll play it safe and go with a solar-charged, satellite-connected smart phone, and a lighter. Why a lighter? Well, have you ever tried lighting a fire without a lighter or matches? I have and I would get cold very quickly!!

If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Sushi. Which is lucky because being stuck on a deserted island, I feel that’s the best I could hope for.