Meet The Team:
Alan Buckley

Senior Information Technology Architect

Alan Buckley

Senior Information Technology Architect

A recent chat with Alan, Topsec’s Senior IT Architect, showed us why designing with flair is the best way to combine human and machine.

Keenly technical but always advocating for the people using the technology, Alan believes in constantly refining processes. Especially with email not going anywhere soon!

Q. 1

Let's start with your background. Can you tell me a bit about your career and what led you to Topsec?

“I’ve always had a talent for delivering systems with a good value proposition.”

Alan: People used to call it “bang for your buck.” Understanding system requirements and delivering on them, even though you can never achieve 100%—there’s always a trade-off. The 80-20 rule is often applied; spend 80% of the money and get most of the benefit. Chasing that last 20% can be very expensive, so recognising that balance was crucial for me.

I worked for various large organisations in the UK, including central government, IT consultancies and large financial institutions. These roles were fulfilling, but I decided to return to Ireland for family reasons and was introduced to Topsec Cloud Solutions.  The company has a very attractive customer base and serious intent within the information security space, and was very appealing to me.

Q. 2

That's intriguing! How long have you been with Topsec?

Alan: I’ve been with Topsec for six years now. In the tech community, that’s a long time. Two years can feel like a lifetime with the rapid changes in technology. But Topsec is a great company to work for, with good products and intentions.

Q. 3

Beyond your general interest in email security, was there a personal story or defining moment that motivated you to join this field?

Alan: Yes, there was. When I joined Topsec as a cloud architect, the company was transitioning from on-premises to cloud-based architecture. I played a significant role in designing the infrastructure to host our email security application. This migration was liberating for the company, changing the internal conversations to ones focusing on delivering quality services. This transformation really fired up my enthusiasm.

Q. 4

How does the vision of Topsec Cloud Solutions align with your personal values around email security?

Alan: Topsec’s approach to delivering quality, good value services to blue-chip companies in Europe and the UK resonated with me. I’ve always focused on value in my roles, and seeing that reflected in the company’s mission was important. They have a successful model for delivering reliable, secure, cloud-based services, managed through simple, repeatable internal processes—something I find fascinating.

Q. 5

You’ve worked at the intersection of people and technology for a long time. How does this influence your approach to email security?

Alan: Working with large companies,

“I’ve seen how process-based approaches can reduce reliance on individual performance and ensure consistency.”

Processes form the basis for commercial engagement and are inevitably based on people. Security in email, or any tech, impacts people significantly. Phishing and spear-phishing, for example, target individuals to compromise security. It’s not just about encryption; it’s about managing behaviour and expectations.

Q. 6

Can you outline the major shifts and milestones in the email security landscape that have influenced your work?

Alan: Surprisingly, we’re still using email extensively despite predictions of its decline 25-30 years ago. We now have messaging apps, but email remains a constant. The most significant shift is the integration of security throughout the development cycle, from implementation to support.

“Security has become collaborative, involving multiple participants in a service chain.  It can no longer be done in isolation.”

Q. 7

Can you share a memorable incident where you or your team significantly impacted a customer's email security?

Alan: Certainly. One example is when customers experience compromised mailboxes. We’ve had cases where a malicious actor gained access and sent spam. Our defences, like throttling the amount of emails sent within a time span, trigger alerts, allowing us to notify the customer of potential issues.

Another instance is when customer infrastructures are down. We can queue emails until their systems are restored, preventing the loss of important communications. These examples show how we add value and maintain service continuity.

Q. 8

Working in email security can be stressful. How do you maintain your work-life balance?

Alan: I enjoy running, walking, and hill walking, especially in the Dublin Wicklow Mountains. I used to climb more before having children, but now I focus on activities that fit my family life. Walking, in particular, helps clear my mind and makes problems seem smaller.

Q. 9

How does customer feedback influence your work at Topsec?

“Customer liaison has always been an extremely strong part of Topsecs service.  We maintain very direct and high value communication with our customers.”

Alan: Customer feedback has become a central part of our process over the past few years.  With our improved infrastructure and application, we can now respond more effectively to customer needs. This has changed the internal culture for the better, making it healthier and more collaborative.

Q. 8

Looking at the horizon of email security, what emerging trends excite you the most?

Alan: While there’s a lot of hype around AI and new technologies, my focus is on constant refinement and improvement of our existing systems. Security is an ongoing process, and we need to stay vigilant. Implementing ISO 27001 was a significant achievement for us, highlighting our commitment to secure and documented processes.

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