This week finds  Peter Carlisle in Milan. As VP of Global Sales for Entrust’s data protection solutions, Peter racks up the miles while navigating a host of divergent cultures and gaining insight about global customer challenges..

Entrust: Peter, where in the world are you?

Peter Carlisle in sunglasses and a scarf

PC: Milan, Italy

Entrust: What do you enjoy the most about visiting Milan?

PC: Milan always strikes me as a city that would be good to live in. It has its major landmarks, such as the magnificent cathedral or “Duomo” as it is known, the Sforza Castle and Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”. It’s also a stone’s throw from the beautiful Lake Como and the skiing resorts of the Italian Alps. Yet it is the day-to-day life of the city that makes it such a great place to visit, as there are delights to stumble on around every corner. The Brera district is a fantastic place to wander with its cobbled streets, independent fashion stores and restaurants. The canal side paths of the Naviglio Grande also make a great area for a relaxed stroll. Shopping for clothes or shoes is great fun in Milan given the vast choice and high quality – worth spending time (and money) on!

Sforza Castle

Entrust: What are some localized challenges customers are facing?

PC: Italy is a major player in both agriculture and manufacturing. It is Europe’s biggest producer of rice, fruits, vegetables and wine. It is the largest global exporter of luxury goods, the second largest manufacturer in Europe and the seventh largest worldwide.

However, almost 70% of the workforce are employed in the services sector with tourism being the largest component of this. Italy, unsurprisingly, is one of the world’s most visited countries. There remains a significant “small business” culture in Italy with the majority of manufacturing companies having fewer than 50 employees.

The economy overall has faced challenges over the last 10 years and has slipped into recession again for the third time in this period at the end of 2018. The Italian government remains at odds with Brussels over their plans to increase the budget deficit way beyond EU guidelines with a major spending program to be implemented.

Entrust: Can you tell us a little more about some of the regional compliance regulations affecting customers?

PC: As an EU country, Italy is governed by the GDPR which was introduced in 2018.

Entrust: What type of advice have you given local customers?

PC: Manufacturing has its own unique set of data security challenges. Intellectual property, for example being a key issue as well as import/export and supply chain management. The bureaucracy which is prevalent in Italian culture also generates plenty of documentation and record keeping activity which adds further to the data security workload.

Owing to the prevalence of small businesses there is much work to do for the verticals that provide supporting services to the manufacturing sector such as finance and telecommunications to make sure that they have secure, GDPR compliant data protection policies to protect their customers.

Given that encryption has been repeatedly called out as one of the very best tools to ensure GDPR compliance, Entrust is in a great position to provide meaningful help and support in this area.

Entrust: When visiting Milan, is there a specific food or beverage you always seek out?

Italian cheese chop counter with employees

PC: Well, let’s start with a refreshing Aperol Spritz at Terrazza Aperol overlooking the Duomo. Boccondivino is a fun place for dinner. There is no menu, but the staff will simply feed you with a series of delicious courses based around local cheeses and hams, with plenty of different wines. The Brera district is great for restaurants and Nabucco and Osteria di Brera are two of my favourites. Risotto Milanese with ossobuco, cotoletta, minestrone & gorgonzola are all great foods to eat in Milan.

Entrust: If you wrote a song about Milan for your blues band, what would you call it?

Fancy Italian shoes

Given the number of wonderful shoe shops in Milan and my love of a nice pair – I could have a go at something like “Cool Shoes Blues”.

If you’d like to learn even more about Peter, please visit his LinkedIn page.