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Exclusive: Gallagher paves the way for innovation in high security

September 15, 2021


Security Journal UK speaks exclusively with Richard Huison, Regional General Manager UK and Europe at Gallagher.

If you were to Google the words “Joe the horse”, in amongst some search results detailing the latest horse racing headlines, you will find a story from the early 1930s about a horse in New Zealand who took too much of a liking to using a car as a scratching post and its owner who came up with an innovative solution to stop it from happening – the invention of electrified fencing.

In fact, the horse’s owner was Bill Gallagher Senior and this story about Joe the horse is the origin of how the Gallagher Group was formed. Fast forward several decades and Gallagher is now one of the leading security solutions providers in the world, specialising in perimeter protection, access control and cybersecurity. The company is still privately owned by the family and Bill’s son, Sir William Gallagher is still very much involved as Company President, with an ambassadorial focus. Today, Gallagher is trusted by governments and organisations around the world to provide robust and efficient security solutions.

Security Journal UK caught up with Richard Huison, Regional General Manager UK and Europe for Gallagher’s security division, to find out what makes the company unique in such a competitive marketplace and why high security solutions should be considered by all organisations, not just governments.

Relentless innovators

Since its inception in 1938, Gallagher has continued to grow and evolve with four divisions: animal management, security, fuel systems and contract manufacturing. Gallagher has just sold its fuel systems business, along with the contract manufacturing arm that goes with it. One key ingredient has kept the company progressing throughout its long history: innovation.

Huison said: “Gallagher are relentless innovators, we never stop coming up with new and creative ideas to provide an outstanding security solution to our customers. The technology we deliver, together with our culture and how we behave is what differentiates us in the industry.”

Gallagher is renowned for the high security nature of its products, exemplified by the fact that the company’s solutions are being utilised by a number of the world’s governments, including by the Five Eyes Alliance.

However, as Huison details, it is not just Gallagher’s fantastic product innovation which makes them an attractive partner to the world’s authorities: “How we behave is just as important as the technology we deliver. We are very discreet and we understand that these clients require absolute confidentiality, these are relationships that we have built up over 15 years or more.

“We have partnered with the Five Eyes nations on a journey over the last 15 years and we have fully understood what problems they are trying to solve.”

After enjoying tremendous success in the government sector for a number of years, Gallagher has now turned its attention to overturning a misconception that high security solutions are just for government agencies.

Huison stated: “It seems like organisations have always automatically assumed that high security was for intelligence gathering agencies and the military. So I made a bold statement at a recent event; why would you want a medium security system?

“I think people are now starting to adopt the attitude of “if it’s good enough for the government to use, then it’s good enough for my business as well.” These solutions are based around the business problems organisations are trying to solve and they also offer a lower total cost of ownership as well as an excellent return on investment. This is why businesses should all be considering high security systems.”

Meeting standards

To be considered for use by a government agency, a security solutions provider has to be able to meet a number of stringent standards and regulations. Gallagher has been able to prove its quality by meeting all of the relevant standards and can even claim to be the only manufacturer that sits across multiple sections in the Catalogue for Security Equipment, produced by the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). Additionally, Gallagher was invited to work with the Cabinet Office in the development and testing of GovPass, a new functional standard developed to provide access control to government department buildings.

One of the reasons Gallagher is continuing to win contracts in this sector is because of its focus on cybersecurity as well as on physical security. Huison explained: “If you were to go back only a few years, the approach to security was very physical i.e. utilising barriers, blockers and fencing to stop a person entering a property.

“If you were to talk to someone in the Ministry of Defence today, they would say that cyber-attacks are just as damaging as physical attacks, if not more so. The battlefield has significantly changed around where those attacks occur and how governments are responding to them.”

He continued: “Organisations have recognised that the rapid increase in connected devices through the Internet of Things has left them exposed and encouraged criminals to attack the weakest part of their network. These organisations are now speaking to manufacturers such as Gallagher and asking how we can help them to combat this threat in the years to come.”

In addition, Huison believes that more education is needed to ensure businesses are fully up to speed with the latest cybersecurity threats: “Cybersecurity is undoubtedly at the top of the list when we consider the threats we are facing. However, a lot of the issues come down to education and having good habits around cybersecurity.

“For example, when we host cybersecurity seminars, we ask the audience if they have connected to the free Wi-Fi and when they look down at their devices it says, “unsecured network”, these are the traps that people fall into.

“Unfortunately, most business decisions boil down to cost but we try to make organisations see that isn’t the best way to go about things. We ask: ‘what is the risk to your business if you were to be attacked?’ Then you can start to understand the huge business value that cybersecure solutions can offer.”

Being authentic

It is clear that Gallagher has cemented its position at the forefront of the global security market with not only world-class technology but also a partnership-driven approach to working with clients.

Huison added: “The solution we offer is one thing but it is our authentic behaviour which sets us apart. For us, it is about being recognised as trusted advisors, where we fully understand what the client is trying to achieve while also making it very clear that the conversations we have never leave the room.

“When we look at how we differentiate ourselves from everybody else, the product is actually the last thing we consider, because if we are already at the table having the conversation, we are pretty confident that the customer has already seen why Gallagher is the choice for them. They just need to make sure they are making the right decision, which is why we will never push a bad solution onto a customer. We want the partnership to last, not just three years but ten to 20 years.”

Looking ahead to how the future of high security may evolve in the UK, Huison is confident that cybersecurity is going to play an even larger role: “We are going to see quite a big leap from the legacy attitude to high security, towards the more modern perspectives of electronic and cyber considerations.

“Government agencies are beginning to use cloud technology a lot more, for example, which means they need to ensure the data is properly protected. There is a lot more risk associated with this approach and that’s part of the reason why we are seeing such a change in attitudes towards high security.”

From its humble beginnings managing Joe the horse, Gallagher has transformed into a global leader in security, offering state-of-the-art and trusted solutions for many of the most powerful governments and organisations in the world. The company’s “customer-first” culture and authentic behaviour have ensured that Gallagher will be operating at the highest end of high security for many years to come.

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This article was originally published in the September edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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