To launch our new blog series aimed at finding out more about the people behind e2e-assure we spoke to Duncan Wright, Cyber Consultant. Duncan has worked at e2e since the very early days, joining as employee #16 in 2016 and has had an extremely interesting life and career to date, which we explore in this blog.
Life before cybersecurity
Duncan spoke openly about his background, which has allowed him to gain an incredible wealth of life and work experiences that eclipses most people’s worldliness.
“I had an extremely privileged upbringing, attending private schools and spending the holidays sailing around exotic locations” he starts.
At this point you’d be forgiven for thinking that Duncan’s journey to e2e-assure is a straightforward, traditional procession from college to university and then into the world of work, working his way up in the world of cyber.
However, shortly after school Duncan found himself in a position most don’t consider themselves ever being in; Duncan spent a number of years in homeless hostels and forgoing the opportunities of university afforded to his peers, was determined not to become another statistic.
He spent a year working in shipyards and on commercial shipping which culminated in him moving into sail training before taking a Deckhand position on superyachts across the globe. Returning to the UK following a relationship ultimatum (“It’s me or the sea!”), Duncan worked several jobs including long-distance courier driving and settled down to start a family.
Entering the world of IT
Duncan had always had an interest in IT and even cyber security (before it was a thing) and found his career take him into the world of 1st line support at an Internet Service Provider (ISP) before progressing to 2nd & 3rd line support with several large organisations.
“The Internet was still very much the ‘wild west’ at this point, I remember being fascinated in what would become cyber security, in particular the developing attack surfaces that a new breed of cyber criminals were prepared to leverage”, he reflects.
After a while, Duncan decided he wanted to run his own business and for twelve years had a successful IT company, focusing on network installation and VoIP (Voice-over-Internet-Protocol) solutions which gave him a great insight into infrastructure and good customer service.
During this time, Duncan was awarded a scholarship to the SANS Institute Cyber Academy and at the end of this exciting but intense period of learning, he attended an employer fayre where he met e2e’s CEO and founder Rob Demain and Head of R&D, James Fox. At this time, e2e-assure was the new kid on the block and took on six employees straight away from the SANS Institute.
Duncan was also offered a job and decided to wrap up his business first before joining e2e as an Infrastructure Engineer in 2016.
Life at e2e-assure
Duncan spent his first four years at e2e-assure in the Infrastructure team progressing from Junior to Lead Infrastructure Engineer and supporting the company’s rapid growth and onboarding of new technologies and innovative practices during this exciting time.
In 2020 a role in the Cyber Consultants team became available and Duncan decided that the time was right for his next challenge, taking himself out of his comfort zone. It’s fair to say that life as a Cyber Consultant at e2e-assure is varied, covering elements of analysis and engineering, reviewing the threat landscape including looking at what the next big threats will be and a lot of collaboration with other departments, in particular the Security Operation Centre (SOC) that is the core of e2e-assure’s services.
“One of our main goals is to make life easier for the SOC and by extension, customers”, Duncan explains. “This means developing use cases and designing playbooks, both generic and specific to customer landscapes and identifying which of our customers may be impacted by known vulnerabilities, breaches and threats”, he continues.
Why are you still here?
This question wasn’t asked in quite as an aggressive way as you may read it, but Duncan is very open in why he has stayed at e2e-assure for beyond the industry-acknowledged position lifespan of two and a half years. He references a few different elements, starting with the people; “I like the people that I work for and with” he says from the off.
Listening to Duncan speak, it’s evident that he believes in the direction the organisation is going in, “I have a great deal of confidence in what Rob and the team do, both technically and in a corporate sense.”
He also talks about the working conditions, with the mutual trust that his manager and wider team have, knowing that the work will get done without micro-managing, something he puts down to the culture of the organisation being one that has always looked after its employees. Another element that Duncan likes about working at e2e-assure is the generous R&D time allowance, which can be for specific accreditations or generic in cyber; right now, Duncan is finishing up his revision for the SANS GCIA (Intrusion Analyst) exam.
Outside of cybersecurity
Away from work, Duncan is a volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officer with HM Coastguard and spends any other free time tinkering with electronics, a growing collection of Land Rovers, enjoys organic gardening and is an avid sea fisherman. In pre-COVID times Duncan enjoyed touring the vineyards of the Black Forest, adding to his wine collection and hopes to resume this as life returns to normal!
It’s clear from talking to Duncan that he’s had an extremely varied and different route to the world of cybersecurity including experiences that hugely benefit e2e’s customers as part of a diverse team supporting them.