By Charndré Emma Kippie
Carlo Bolzonello, country manager for McAfee in South Africa, is an expert on the complexities of regulations and the POPI Act. Working with McAfee for more than 8 years, Carlo is experienced in Engagement Management, Software Engineering and Network Security. Also part of his expertise is Cloud Computing, which Carlo is quite passionate about.
Carlo feels strongly about systems which companies can implement to streamline their compliance processes, and how they can go about addressing regulation requirements with their teams. For Carlo, it’s all about prioritising action plans and the rollout thereof. We chatted with him as he provided practical steps that businesses can take in the future.
How did your journey at McAfee SA begin?
I originally worked for McAfee as a freelance consultant, and then became a member of staff, providing insights to clients in the Middle East and South Africa.
What is your role at the company and how do you hope to make a positive impact?
I am currently the country manager for McAfee in South Africa, and I’m determined to make a positive impact by helping local people understand what the business is about. I also hope to make a difference for our customers by providing input from the local market to our principals, sharing more information about what our customers need.
My hope is to deliver the most appropriate levels of security to African and South African businesses, and find ways to improve South Africans’ lifestyles by giving back to society in any way that we can.
Please could you tell us a bit about your background – how did you get to this point in your career?
My very first job was working at a computer store that was an early McAfee partner, although until then I’d had no interest in technology. The store did networking installations, and I loved what I did there, working as an apprentice for 18 months.
After that, I moved to work in the technical workshop at Creative Labs, after which I moved to McAfee’s biggest partner in South Africa. I spent 12,5 years there, before eventually joining McAfee itself.
What systems can companies implement, in your opinion, to streamline their compliance processes?
A unified data and threat protection solution like McAfee’s MVision Unified Cloud Edge covers all potential data leak vectors, including endpoint, unsanctioned shadow IT apps, sanctioned apps (including email) and cloud to cloud transfers. It’s managed via a single console, and uses the same DLP technology everywhere.
It’s a framework for implementing a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture, and a safe way to accelerate digital transformation with cloud services, enable cloud and internet access from any device, and allow ultimate workforce productivity.
With the POPIA compliance grace window period nearly closed, businesses that have not yet pivoted to comply with all its requirements – particularly from a security point of view – are likely to attract fines of up to R10 Million per breach from the regulator, or a prison fine of up to ten years. Faced with consequences like that, it surely seems foolhardy for businesses to not consult with experts in protecting businesses from cyberattacks.
How has McAfee SA managed to pivot during the pandemic?
We were always cloud-ready, so it was quite easy to pivot to working remotely – the move to working from home didn’t impact us much.
What advice do you have for businesses when it comes to addressing troubleshooting issues?
Always start with the basics first – they’re most often overlooked. So many people start out by looking for complex issues, when the root cause of the problem could actually be something really simple that’s easy to fix.
Have you read any books or listened to any podcasts that have inspired you and your career thus far?
I’ve just finished reading Discover Your Clifton Strengths by Don Clifton, and also recently finished The 4-hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss.
What is your ‘why’ i.e. Bottom line? And how do you stay motivated?
I love showing customers the value of our products, and building trust with them so that they really do know that I really do recommend the solution that is best for their business. I want them to feel the same passion for our products as I do.
Outside of work, are you involved in any extracurricular activities and/or community outreach projects?
I’m the treasurer on my children’s school’s governing body, which is how I give back to my community. I also love surfing and hiking, and reading adventure fiction.
What inspirational advice do you have to young people in SA looking to join your field of work?
Keep persevering. Don’t hang too much on going to university – rather, learn about as many things as you can, keep asking questions, and never just accept what’s put in front of you without questioning. Keep pushing forward – it’s tough, but you’ve got to pick yourself up and keep going!
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