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Life in the Channel: Kingston Technology’s Ann Keefe

The memory product manufacturer’s Regional Director for UK & Ireland talks about Kingston’s commitment to creating the best hardware encrypted products, and how it is supporting its customers throughout this difficult year…

Tell us a bit about your work history in the channel and your current role.
I joined Kingston in 1996 and prior to starting my current role in 2000, I was the team leader for the UK Business Development team. Before joining Kingston, I worked as an account manager for several hardware vendors including Compaq, AST and Datrontech.

I am currently the regional director for UK & Ireland at Kingston Technology. I am responsible for driving the business for all Kingston product lines, HyperX internal component products and for managing the Business Development team for UK & Ireland.

What is Kingston working on at the moment?
Last year we launched the campaign ‘Kingston is Everywhere’. Most people currently use devices in their daily lives which need memory components on them, but they are not aware of how many times they touch Kingston a day. From smartphones, dash cameras, smartwatches, digital cameras to vacuum cleaners and many other touch points, Kingston’s memory products can be found inside many devices and we are aiming to create awareness of that with this campaign.

We now have a full range of superior enterprise-class data center storage solutions in the market to cover different data center clients’ needs. We have worked with data center partners for many years with our DRAM products, so it was a natural progression when we launched our first SATA SSD solutions for data centers.

In 2020 the range expanded with our NVMe SSD drives and we have recently upgraded our SSDs with a higher capacity addition for some of our drives – up to 8TB for our DC500R, DC450R and DC1000M to be able to cope with the higher demand of data storage as Cloud computing continues to grow at unprecedented levels.

This year marks the 2nd anniversary of the implementation of the GDPR in Europe and there is still a long way to go in regards to data security. We have observed that while some companies have applied all the necessary measures to be compliant, others are still engaging in risky practices when dealing with customer data or are still struggling on how to be fully compliant with it.

Meeting all these obligations is leading to a greater demand for encryption, both on SSD and USB. Whether by hardware or software, encryption is a valuable additional solution to an overarching cybersecurity policy.

Kingston is committed to creating hardware encrypted products to protect data at rest and when using devices on the go, such as those built into our own SSDs and USB drives. Education on data security is also part of our agenda.

We continue to produce content aimed to cover topics such as recommended solutions for an easy data security deployment or how to solve mobile workforce security challenges. Whether it’s through our eBooks, webinars or our social media channels, we have experienced a huge interest in how we can help organisations protect themselves from data security threats.

How important is it to Kingston to encourage young people to join the tech industry?
We think it is very important to get young people to join the tech industry. We have strong alliances with local schools where we support them with products and they join us for work experience. We have mentoring schemes in place within different parts of the organisation.

What are some of the most challenging aspects of the storage industry at the moment?
2020 would have been an interesting year anyway but with Coronavirus this was amplified! With the rush to work from home we saw an increase in the requirements of our products for both personal use and within data centers. As the working from home requirements now move from functional to long term, we need to ensure that we are educating partners on security and performance.

Kingston has won a number of awards over the past year – including PCR’s Components Vendor of the Year 2020. What do you think Kingston does differently from its competitors?

At Kingston, we have always put our customers first; our customers know they can trust us for the quality and reliability of our products. Our team of experts provide a free of charge service through Ask an Expert to ensure that Kingston is offering the best solution for the customer’s needs.

What are Kingston’s plans for the rest of the year and beyond?
Our plans are to help support our customers get through a very difficult year, be that our channel partners, corporate end users or data centers. Working from home is here to stay, so we are helping to make this long term by ensuring that systems are efficient and secure. We will also continue to educate customers on the importanceof security and optimising systems to ensure they are operating as efficiently as possible for data centers be that with NVMe or with their existing infrastructure.

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