A Day In The Life: Mark Bailey, Head of Security

A Day In The Life: Mark Bailey, Head of Security

Find out more about Mark's role and his career to date

Written by Mark Bailey, Head of Security at VIRTUS Published Thursday, 11 November 2021 09:17

Name: Mark Bailey
Job Role: Head of Security

 

  1. Tell us a little about what your day to day job involves – Who do you interact with? What are your key objectives each day/long term? 

 

As VIRTUS’ Head of Security, a day in my working life is never the same and is always extremely rewarding.

VIRTUS has rightly built a reputation for successfully providing data centre solutions that largely encompass space, power, cooling and security, so it’s vital that in my role I ensure that we never suffer an avoidable serious security breach due to process failure.

It is impossible for any organisation to realistically stipulate that they are “100% secure”, but at VIRTUS I am confident that we have identified all current and potential business threats and have embedded thoroughly tested mitigation plans in place to effectively counter subsequent risks.

Of course - there are daily challenges to face and questions to answer, sometimes from our many customers, seeking security advice or guidance, and I will admit that the occasional question does cause lack of sleep on rare occasions – but never for too long!

In terms what an average day may look like, my first daily activity is to ensure my direct reports - Andrew and Rakesh - are fulfilled, busy and have an achievable plan for the day ahead. VIRTUS has grown so rapidly that teamwork and collaboration like this is essential to keep all our Security at the highest levels.

Our dedicated security support team work closely with VIRTUS to maintain our exemplary and high security standards, thus helping us to ensure that VIRTUS’ Security is seen as a major business differentiator. Security must always be clearly seen as a business enabler and not a disabler.

I spend a lot of time consulting with our clients to ensure they are aware of current and emerging UK security threats, working collaboratively and sharing mitigation ideas.

I also ensure that all Security staff are regularly tested by myself, Andrew and Rakesh, jointly with the onsite security management team. Such tests include penetration tests, producing false identification, opening external fire gates with tools (I will admit I can pick locks!) to test officers’ response times and assessing officers’ technical security systems, and CCTV and access control abilities tests.

I often use the phrase “security never sleeps”, thankfully not true, but I do mean I never, ever relax whilst on a VIRTUS site as I am always constantly checking our security standards and processes. 

One such example when I join a foot patrol I will gently ask - not bombard there is a subtle difference(!) -  “Where is the nearest fire extinguisher?” “Whose car is that?” “Who is the most recent VIRTUS joiner? Or “who is the VIRTUS CEO?” to check the officer’s situational awareness and VIRTUS knowledge.

So I walk and listen a lot, talk often, but I am always alert and seeking any security anomalies or concerns in an amicable and approachable manner. Another area I’ll often be involved in is liaising closely with our construction partners, ensuring that we install practical and cost effective physical security solutions for our new datacentres.

 

  1. What’s your career background like? Any previous roles that you really enjoyed? What are some of your key career highlights so far?

 

In no particular order, my career highlights include:

  • Spending time advising the US House of Representatives on information security counter measures
  • Being part of the team that compiled and implemented a range of security standards across HMG
  • Responsible for managing and distributing network encryption keys for the whole MoD worldwide
  • I was the first ever Information Security Officer in the Palace of Westminster, reporting directly to Black Rod and the Serjeant at Arms. Later on my daughter was christened in the Member’s chapel.
  • I was also EMEA Security Lead for PwC, where I learnt that one needs to fully understand a local country’s business and personnel threats prior to trying to implement a UK/US security policy!

 

  1. What’s life like outside of work for you? Are you a keen sports fan/participant? What’s your dream weekend activity? Any other notable achievements you’d like to mention outside of work?

 

I am a qualified shotgun and archery coach, enjoying life in the sunshine wherever possible. 

As an approved member of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) I voluntarily visit schools throughout Buckinghamshire and Berkshire improving young people’s cyber security knowledge.

 

  1. Give everyone your top recommendation of either a TV show, podcast or film that they have to catch!

 

For a favourite film, it has to be Finding Nemo!