Acronis seals cyber protection partnership with Fulham FC

Acronis, a global and visionary cyber protection company, today announced a three-year partnership with London´s oldest professional football club, Fulham FC. will support Acronis as its ‘Strategic #Cyberfit’ delivery partner providing its cutting-edge cyber protection solutions and cloud backup service to the club.

Under the Strategic #Cyberfit delivery partner, Acronis will provide Premier League side Fulham FC with a full suite of cyber protection solutions.

Arturs Banks, Head of IT of Fulham FC, said “We are very pleased to be working with Acronis and EveryCloud UK, and we look forward to incorporating them into our cloud backup and file security infrastructure. Their support and expertise will be invaluable to Fulham FC and the Fulham FC Foundation as we continue to prioritise data and cyber security at the club.”

Ronan McCurtin, VP of Sales Europe, Israel and Turkey, Acronis, said “We are proud to be partnering with Fulham FC, a club that understands the importance of keeping their data protected. With we have the right partner who will support us in providing the team with a full suite of Acronis cyber protection solutions to protect the team’s data assets and optimise data workflow, facilitating the team performing at its best both on and off the pitch.”

Paul Richards, Director of Technology,, added “ is delighted to partner with Fulham FC alongside our partner Acronis to deliver a complete suite of Cyber Protection services. Our proven track record of working with Acronis will enable Fulham FC to further protect their data, systems and infrastructure with the reliability and performance of Acronis’ products and services. Even the strongest defence needs backup.”

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#MIWIC2022: Nadia Kadhim, Naq Cyber

Organised by Eskenzi PR in media partnership with the IT Security Guru, the Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Awards aim to shed light on the remarkable women in our industry. The following is a feature on one of 2022’s Top 20 women selected by an esteemed panel of judges. Presented in a Q&A format, the nominee’s answers are written in their own words with minor edits made by the editor for readability and where relevant, supplemented with additional commentary by their nominator.

This year, the awards are sponsored by Beazley, BT, KPMG and KnowBe4.

Nadia Kadhim, Co-founder and CEO of Naq Cyber

What does your job role entail?

As a founder and CEO, I wear many different hats. I am an ambassador, orchestrator, operator (aka firefighter), commander and strategist. But first and foremost, I ensure that Naq has the resources to carry out its vision and fulfil its mission, namely to become the SME compliance and security provider in Europe. 

How did you get into the cybersecurity industry?

Straight out of University, I started a job in a small family company, where as the only lawyer on staff, I was tasked with implementing GDPR. Having never done anything in the privacy sector, it took me a little while (and a lot of coffee) to read and understand the GDPR. After three years, having implemented the privacy legislation into the organisation, having advised local government on its ins and outs, and having implemented cybersecurity measures as part of the compliance program, I felt that the whole process had been too time-consuming and frankly, too boring. When I met my co-founder Chris, who was a cybersecurity expert, our conversations turned quickly to making compliance and cybersecurity a lot easier, quicker and cheaper for small organisations like the one I had been working at. And voilá, two years later, I am co-running a cybersecurity and compliance startup that puts security and compliance on autopilot! 

What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman in the tech/cyber industry and how did you overcome it?

I like to think about the topic of “women in cyber” more in terms of opportunities rather than challenges. It is a great opportunity to inspire all kinds of people, including but not limited to women, to join the industry, to change the face of cyber (one face at a time) and to stand out from the crowd. Diversity in tech makes for better products, better companies and better people, so I love that I can be a role-model in an industry which I never thought I would be a part of.

What are your top three greatest accomplishments you have achieved during your career so far?

Having left my first job to start a company is pretty up there, especially coming from a background which is not the most common breeding ground for entrepreneurs. 

I have had the privilege of joining prestigious programs like the NCSC cyber accelerator and Google for Startups, which has not only had a tremendous impact on my success as a CEO and on our company, but has also brought me into contact with some of the greatest minds in cyber. 

And finally, I am confident that the greatest accomplishment is yet to come, and I can’t wait to see what it will be! 

What are you doing to support other women, and/or to increase diversity, in the tech/cyber industry?

We are recruiting right now, and it has been amazing to hear feedback from some of the female candidates. They expressed their excitement at working at a company where the management team is 66% female (and not to mention BAME). I think leading by example is the single most powerful thing we as companies and leaders can do to inspire other people and increase diversity in the tech industry. We will continue to recruit all kinds of people, and aim to become the most diverse startup in Europe. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to girls/women looking to enter the cybersecurity industry?

I would like to change this question to “What is one piece of advice you would give to girls/women?” because I wish I had gotten and internalised this piece of advice a lot earlier in my career: Do not compare your inside to other people’s outside. 

Though it affects everybody, women are especially prone to imposter syndrome and we tend to compare our insecure selves to others who seem in control, all the time. But I learned that everybody is doing the best they can, all the time, and people make mistakes. Don’t think that everybody has everything under control, because we all struggle, no matter what it looks like from the outside. You’re just as capable as the next person, and you can do it!

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Cybersecurity awareness: Train your employees and reduce cyber threats

As our digital world evolves, cybersecurity has never been more important and critical. During the last few years, we have all become witnesses to intense cybercrime and sophisticated cyberattacks. This upward trend is further fuelled by a shift in working conditions like working remotely. The impact of cyberattacks is profound, resulting in security breaches, enterprises’ revenue and reputation losses, and in some cases, organizations, and entire states being destabilized.

As cybercrime continues to increase, the human element can play the most important role in cybersecurity posture and hygiene. It is the main driver and the most significant vector within cybersecurity, humans tend to behave unpredictably under certain circumstances. If trained properly, training humans effectively can be a game changer. After all, cybersecurity is a matter of proper human risk management.

Train humans’ awareness

Several reports, such as the World Economic Forum Global Risk Report 2022 and Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report highlight that human error is by far the biggest and dominant cause of illicit actions and cybersecurity issues. Many businesses have a misperception that security can be enhanced and risk minimized if they train their employees via using tech-related jargon, without realizing that this will, in turn, confuse their employees. This only further exacerbates the issue. Instead, what they need to do is to manage human risk.

Despite the fact that human perception, cognition, and general behaviour can’t be controlled, and altered according to our needs, studies prove that cyberattacks can be regulated and actually decreased if employees undertake cybersecurity-focused training.

In every organization, training is a fundamental procedure. It is one of the most important pillars on which the edifice of any organization rests. Armed Forces are an exemplary example. With continuous improved training, it manages to keep the awareness level of the military personnel high, and combat-ready. Furthermore, the Armed Forces run awareness campaigns to instruct their personnel about cyber threats and what measures authorized users may take to mitigate threats to military information systems and their vulnerabilities.

The importance of cybersecurity awareness training

Speaking of training and taking into account humans’ perceptions, cybersecurity awareness training is by far the best place to start. By providing staff personnel and individuals with the necessary knowledge to recognize and react to cyber threats, know what to look for, which mistakes to avoid, and how to counter the most prevalent threats.

Cybersecurity awareness training is a defensive approach used by security professionals. It teaches people about cyber threats and dangers, safety precautions, HIPAA and PCI DSS requirements, and several privacy regulations. This includes GDPR and CCPA, which are anticipated to govern 75% of the world’s population by the end of 2023.

These training programs imitate cyberattacks and educate people about existing malware. It helps with teaching employees how to secure personal and business-sensitive information from illegal access, modification, and/or exploitation. Furthermore, as digital applications and security tools like MFA and VPN’s are developed, and used at an unprecedented rate, there is a greater need to train people on threats around them. If properly applied and instructed, training raises the cybersecurity level, minimizes human risk, and keeps employees on a high alert for cybersecurity awareness.

Reduce human risk

Most of these training programs are computer-based, and focus on various topics, including cloud, social media safety, safeguarding privacy, best practices for mobile and remote computing, and other important topics that are essential to reduce cyber threats.

Phishing attacks can be minimized by knowing the key indicators of a phishing attempt and how to address them. The same applies to spoofing messages, smishing, and suspicious voice calls, aka vishing. Additionally, through appropriate training, individuals can be educated on ransomware trends, enabling them to identify warning signs, in addition to allowing security teams to react and respond effectively. Furthermore, as AI and ML technology evolves and used by bad actors, these awareness campaigns can help people spot deepfake signs and address them adequately.

Last but not least, training campaigns educate people on regulations, requirements, and standards, covering data protection and handling sensitive payment information. To that end and taking into account that businesses and organizations need to be compliant with numerous security regulations, cybersecurity awareness training provides HIPAA & HITECH, PCI DSS, and data protection training.

We can shape the cybersecurity future

The cybersecurity threat environment is continually evolving due to the ongoing migration to the cloud. The fast rise in endpoint devices, the expansion of IoT, businesses’ desire to go digital, and the altering workforce models. As we move into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it would be a disaster to try to slow down the rate of change; instead, we must be fully aware of cyber risks and be able to better protect our assets. In other words, what we have to do is to manage human risk in the most competent manner.

Eventually, knowledge sharing through cybersecurity awareness training will lead employees to a high alert state, and professionals to become more innovative and effective in security. Doing so, businesses will be put ahead of the threats, and future risks – no matter if they are called ransomware, deepfake, or social engineering attacks – will hit on a robust human firewall of cybersecurity awareness.

Inspired eLearning highlights: “As employers, employees, and the general public learn to speak the cybersecurity language, staggering figures like 95% user-error will diminish and companies will have a safer road to walk going forward”. Ultimately, our cyber secure future is a matter of personal accountability and proper human risk management.


About the Author: Christos Flessas is a Communications and Information Systems Engineer with more than 30 years of experience as an Officer of the Hellenic Air Force (HAF). He is an accredited NATO tactical evaluator in the Communication and Information Systems (CIS) area and the National Representative (NatRep) at Signal Intelligence CIS and at Navigation Warfare (NavWar) Wrking Groups. Christos holds an MSc in Guided Weapon Systems from Cranfield University, UK. He has also attended numerous online courses such as the Palo Alto Networks Academy Cybersecurity Foundation course. His experience covers a wide range of assignments including radar maintenance engineer, software developer for airborne radars, IT systems manager and Project Manager implementing major armament contracts.

Christos is intrigued by new challenges, open minded, and excited for exploring the impact of cybersecurity on industrial, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, financial, aviation, and maritime sectors. He is also a writer for Bora.

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Zurich and Barrier Networks partner to Offer Enterprise Cyber Risk Assessments

Barrier Networks, a Cybersecurity Managed Service Provider, has announced it has entered into a new partnership with Zurich Resilience Solutions, part of Zurich UK, to help businesses improve their cyber resilience.

Zurich Resilience Solutions (ZRS) provides underwriting assurance to underwriters to help them better understand cyber risk and exposures of client environments, as well as cyber risk and resilience advisory services to clients to improve cyber resilience. Barrier compliments ZRS internal cyber risk advisory services, offering technical expertise and services including penetration testing, managed cybersecurity services, assessment and consulting.

The partnership will not only focus on enterprise security, but it will also cater to organisations running Operational Technology in critical industrial environments. These organisations have come under increased threat from cybercrime recently, and Barrier Networks and Zurich will help meet these needs by helping them reduce the risk of data breaches that could be caused by unidentified cybersecurity issues.

“We are delighted to be working with such an established cyber insurance player as Zurich. Cybersecurity is an enormous task for most businesses and very few have the resources to manage it alone. Our partnership will help organisations overcome this challenge as we help them improve their security and tackle key issues to meet critical cyber insurance requirements. No organisation can gamble with their cyber defences today, and through our partnership we will be arming more businesses with the skills and expertise they need to stay secure,” said Ian McGowan, Managing Director of Barrier Networks.

Arunava Banerjee, Cyber Risk Consulting Lead, Zurich Resilience Solutions, said: “This partnership will further strengthen the suite of cyber risk advisory services we offer to customers.  Cyber risk is a critical threat facing companies of all sizes. By strengthening their cyber defences, we can help businesses to both reduce their exposure to attacks and better navigate the present hard market for insurance cover.”

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Most Inspiring Women in Cyber: This Year’s Top 20

Last night, the winners of this year’s Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Awards were revealed during a glittering ceremony at the BT Tower in London. Organised by Eskenzi PR and sponsored by Beazley, BT, KPMG and KnowBe4, the awards celebrated the accomplishments of twenty of the most inspirational women across the globe working in IT and encouraging more women into the industry. Five other “Ones to Watch” were chosen to represent women new to the industry who are making big strides towards gender equality in a typically male-dominated sector. 

The full list of winners includes: 

  • Dr Hadis Karimipour, University of Calgary 
  • Dr Ana Ferreira, Center for Health Technology Services and Research 
  • Camellia Chan, FLEXXON 
  • Hope Chauland, Microsoft, UK 
  • Dr Kiri Addison, Mimecast 
  • Caroline Rivett, KPMG 
  • Wendy Nather, Duo Security (Cisco) 
  • Carole Embling, Metro Bank 
  • Camilla Currin, Trend Micro 
  • Lena Smart, MongoDB 
  • Dasha Diaz, itrainsec 
  • Nadia Kadhim, NAQ Cyber 
  • Kristina Balaam, Lookout 
  • Patricia de Villa, Union Digital Bank 
  • Lynn Studd, BT 
  • Paula Page, CCL Solutions Group 
  • Sydonie Williams, Beazley 
  • Samantha Humphries, Exabeam 
  • Zoë Rose, Canon Europe 
  • Suparna Roy, TATA Advanced Systems 

Ones to watch:  

  • Tamzin Greenfield, University of Gloucestershire & Cyber Security Associates 
  • Alice Conibere, Secure Impact 
  • Seònaid Lafferty, University of Manchester  
  • Charlotte Hooper, The Cyber Helpline 
  • Illyana Mullins, hub8 

Following the awards ceremony, attendees were treated to a panel discussion chaired by lead organiser of the event and co-founder of Eskenzi PR, Yvonne Eskenzi, who was joined by Lydia Kostopoulos, SVP emerging tech insights at KnowBe4, Lynn Studd, director of BT’s Global Secure Solutions, Caroline Rivett, Cyber Partner leading the security and privacy team in Life Sciences at KPMG and Sydonie Williams, Focus Group Leader of Cyber Risks for Rest of the World at Beazley. They delved into topics covering how the panellists entered the cybersecurity industry, who has helped them in their career journey and who they have helped, to tackling the issues of mental health and neurodiversity. 

“It was fantastic to be in the company of many remarkable women, while marvelling at the 360 ° views of London at the BT Tower this year. I am always taken aback by how talented the women in our industry are, but also how generous they are, taking the time to empower other minority groups taking the leap to cybersecurity,” said Yvonne Eskenzi, Director and Co-Founder of Eskenzi PR & Marketing. “There’s no question that every nominee and winner deserved to be recognised. Congratulations all!” 

Thank you to everyone who attended physically and online – this event would be nothing without your involvement and amazing work in this industry. If your company would like to get involved as a sponsor next year, please feel free to email 

For more information on the event, visit:



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CGI’s Cyber Escape Experience visits Lincoln

Leading IT solutions provider, CGI, brought its Cyber Escape experience to Lincoln as a part of a UK-wide tour. The escape room-style experience allowed staff, students, and local organisations to learn about online security risks in a fun and interactive way.

CGI’s Cyber Escape was hosted at the University of Lincoln, where staff and students were invited to visit the experience and put their knowledge to the test in a simulated “real-life” setting.  Teams from the Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, Lincoln City Foundation and Ministry of Defence also joined throughout the week to explore. Attendees teamed up to beat the hacker and learn about cyber security risks and how to avoid them.

The experience is built within a shipping container and enables small groups to participate in a short “escape”. Teams must work together to uncover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish cyber-related tasks to escape successfully in the time allowed. The experience allows users to test their cyber skills to see if they have what it takes to stay safe in our digital world. Participants learn critical skills in a simulated real-world setting through interactive activities, much like other escape rooms. Alongside this hands-on learning experience, CGI offered University of Lincoln students the opportunity to also join a talk, focused on Agile and hybrid ways of working in Space, Defence and Intelligence. It offered them a chance to learn from professionals and openly discuss the opportunities open to them for future graduate employment routes.

Donna Kelly for CGI in the UK said: “Cyber security is vitally important for individuals, companies, educational establishments, and our communities alike. We all spend much of our personal and professional lives online, and it is imperative everyone knows how to practice safe cyber techniques and can continue honing their existing skills. We were pleased to share the experience with the University of Lincoln, Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, Lincoln City Foundation, and other organisations who attended. We look forward to continuing our engagement in the region after our involvement in the recent half-marathon and work with the Lincoln City Foundation.”

Yvonne James, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science (Cyber) & Programme Leader Cyber Security and Computer Networking from the University of Lincoln, said: “We were excited to bring this experience and the opportunity to discuss career routes to our students. They were able to learn the real-world implications of cybersecurity, the vulnerabilities people experience in a day-to-day situation, and receive exposure to career opportunities after university.”

The Cyber Escape experience was developed by CGI’s UK Cyber Security practice to train, educate and engage with businesses to help them better understand cyber security risks, complement any existing security awareness training, and increase knowledge of how to reduce the impact of a cyber-attack in a unique way. In conjunction with the organisation’s STEM@CGI team, it has tailored the experience for young people too, as they face evolving cyber threats and challenges online.

CGI’s Cyber Escape will be transported around the country to different locations for students and staff to participate in their cyber adventure, or arrangements may be made to visit the experience at a CGI location.

To find out more about CGI’s Cyber Escape experience and how you can get involved, visit:

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Closed Door Security joins the Cyber Scheme

Closed Door Security, a leading provider of attack-driven cybersecurity services, today announced it has joined the Cyber Scheme, reinforcing its position as one of the UK’s leading and most widely accredited penetration testers.

The Cyber Scheme provides the highest standard of government approved examinations and is essential for technical consultants wishing to gain the NCSC CHECK status, to allow them to carry out penetration testing on public sector and critical national infrastructure networks.

As a member of the Cyber Scheme, Closed Door Security will be supporting red teaming projects, improving penetration testing standards, helping assess examinations, while also raising cybersecurity awareness and educating more organisations on threats. Closed Door Security is one of the only Scottish companies to join the scheme, which already boasts some of the UK’s most established penetration testing organisations.

“We are delighted to join the Cyber Scheme and be rubbing shoulders with some of the UK’s pen-testing giants. We are now one of the most highly-accredited cybersecurity companies in Scotland, and joining the Cyber Scheme supports us on our journey to become NSCS CHECK certified. Cybersecurity continues to shatter organisations every day, and we, as defenders, need to make it harder for criminals to exploit our Infrastructure. Penetration testing helps unearth weaknesses in systems that often go unnoticed, so with every weakness we find, and every company we educate, we firmly close a door on attackers,” said William Wright, CEO of Closed Door Security.

Closed Door Security is the only cybersecurity company based in the Outer Hebrides, and it was recently accredited by the internationally-recognised professional certification board Crest, as being a trusted and expert provider of penetration testing. The company experienced significant growth over the last year, taking on eight new employees and expanding into the United States market with Closed Door Security (US) LLC.

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Understanding The Importance Of Cyber Resilience In Smart Buildings

A smart building controls activities such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, and security through automated processes. Many smart buildings use Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which means they contain sensors to collect data and software to manage it to reduce energy consumption and environmental effect. The demand for this type of construction will skyrocket in the future years. Recent studies predict that the worldwide smart building industry would reach $127.09 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate of 12.5%.

Have you read anything?

Only cross-border and cross-sector coordination will suffice to combat cybercrime.

What SMEs in Europe must do to ensure a cyber-secure future

Businesses are putting together a global response to cybersecurity threats.

The industry must solve the security issues raised by smart buildings. According to research, 57% of IoT devices are vulnerable to medium or high-severity assaults. Cyberattacks have already caused significant damage to a number of enterprises, including key infrastructure such as hospitals, data centers, and hotels.

Smart building enterprises should follow the seven principles outlined below to protect themselves from cybercrime.

There are seven approaches for businesses to ensure that their products contribute to smart buildings.  


1) Administration

Companies require proper security knowledge. They must be clear about roles and responsibilities in this area, as well as generate a clear set of security messaging on how occurrences should be handled. Each team should ensure that its product, solution, or service has enough built-in cybersecurity. Companies must assist consumers in maintaining cybersecurity throughout the product’s or building’s lifecycle.


2) A reliable supply network

Before entering into business agreements, companies should require partners along the supply chain to fulfill reasonable levels of security. They should incorporate security requirements into their terms and conditions and analyze vendors for potential security leaks. They also require a process for identifying and managing various security risks through the different externally sourced components. This can be accomplished by employing an automated tool to monitor and track vulnerabilities.


3) Cybersecurity in product development

Companies should incorporate cybersecurity into product design from the start. This strategy could begin with setting a cybersecurity target for each product based on market needs. It is less expensive to address security issues early in a product’s lifecycle than it is to resolve them afterwards.

Threat and risk assessments should be performed by security specialists throughout the product’s lifecycle in order to detect and mitigate any issues. This should begin early in the product development process and be repeated for each substantial upgrade. Companies should request that independent third-party organizations examine new products for potential vulnerabilities before releasing them.


4) Internal and external cybersecurity awareness

People are at the heart of a good and effective cybersecurity strategy. Investing in ongoing training and awareness will help to protect enterprises from cyberattacks. Employees working in security-related activities should be thoroughly trained, and there should be clear direction on who to contact with internal inquiries or difficulties.

Companies in the smart building sector must also share information and collaborate to keep each other informed of new dangers and best practices.


5) Vulnerability and incident management

Any suspected occurrence should be handled as real unless it is shown to be a false alarm. Every firm requires a handbook that outlines how security issues and online safety breaches should be dealt in a timely manner. They must guarantee that they have done all feasible to reduce the danger of a breach.

When vulnerabilities are discovered, organizations must be upfront about them, telling customers and other essential parties. In the event of an issue, corporate communications are just as crucial as addressing the technical flaw, because cyberattacks can harm a company’s brand and destroy customer trust.

As you can see the importance of cybersecurity is going to continue to grow and become more important with each passing year. It is essential that smart buildings take this into account and start implementing for the future.


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Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Awards 2022

The nominations for the Most Inspiring Women in Cyber awards are out! It’s always wonderful to read about the incredible women in our industry, who are making fantastic contributions and paving the way for others.

In no particular order, here is PART I of the 2022 shortlist along with snippets of what their nominators had to say about them! (To see Part II, see HERE)

Dr. Kiri Addison, senior product manager, Mimecast

Kiri has vast experience in the cybersecurity space, and has helped develop everything from creating systems to detect and prevent cyber-attacks and fraud to currently developing innovative products that utilize AI and ML to keep companies safe from cyberattacks.

“Kiri really is an unsung hero… Her fierce intelligence, combined with her openness and kindness make her a great mentor, colleague and friend. I also really like the fact that she is open about her struggles, this makes her relatable and brave. She is now using the skills she learnt to share her knowledge to mentor other women in the tech sector.”

Sophia Adhami, director of cyber security engagement, Sage

Sophia delivers incredible outreach and engagement to underrepresented groups. She is continually looking to improve gender and race diversity in the industry and doesn’t let anyone stand in her way when it comes to delivering knock out engagement that empowers women and unrepresented groups. 

“This lady lets nothing stop her. She joined a global security during the pandemic with two young children at home. Her passion, commitment to doing the right thing and delivery are incredible. Everyone needs a colleague like Sophia.”

Anah Ahee, assistant manager, cybersecurity, KPMG

Anah’s personal investment in time, passion and know-how has been inspiring to all those she has encountered.  Despite the challenges of Covid, KPMG delivered over 50 cyber awareness sessions to approximately 4,000 young adults, with consistently positive feedback.  Key to this was Anah’s meticulous planning and execution, and impactful delivery of education. At such an early stage of her career, Anah demonstrates excellent leadership in delivering the corporate cyber community’s messages around awareness, safety and inclusivity.

“The objectives of Anah’s pursuits shape the agenda she follows to drive a KPMG-backed cyber message through a lens of diversity into our communities with great success.  In an increasingly pernicious digital environment, early education of children is critical.  Moreover, it embeds the message into communities we might not otherwise reach.”

Beverley Alderson, senior cyber broker, Aon

Beverley is a senior cyber broker at Aon where she has been for over 20 years. Throughout her career she has mentored and sponsored many women who have gone on to have successful careers in the cyber market after Bev’s custodianship and is a pioneer of early adoption of cyber insurance and cyber security principles. 

“Beverley’s ability to distil difficult issues down to basic principles and to resolve them without aggression is inspiring; she does this with strong communication skills, transparency and trust.”

Sarah Armstrong-Smith, chief security advisor, Microsoft

Sarah is an inspiring lady who reach high level security positions with the government and Microsoft without any formal cyber qualifications and tells her story frequently to increase cyber security awareness as a career path. 

“With Sarah’s determination, perseverance and good speaking abilities, she is an inspiration to all who get to hear her story.”

Sakina Asadova, offensive security expert, Canon

Sakina is newer to industry; she’s a junior penetration tester at Canon. Whilst still breaking into the industry, Sakina is dedicated to providing quality work and providing great insights on all projects she is a part of.         

“Having started in another country, Sakina has navigated the university system and started a career in another country. She not only changed from her native language, to learn both Dutch and English, she often works in situations that call on a variety of languages to ensure the messages get across”

Andrea Babbs, director of sales UK & Ireland, VIPRE Security

Andrea Babbs has worked in the IT Industry for over 20 years. During that time she has worked for IT Security Vendors and Resellers dealing with email, endpoint and web security. Andrea is currently Country Manager and Head of Sales for VIPRE Security Limited, where she manages the UK and Irish business. Andrea’s length of experience in the industry means she has seen the threat landscape change from simple viruses and spam to the sophisticated, zero-day, polymorphic threats of today. However, she recognises that in attacks of all types, humans are the last line of defence, meaning they need awareness and effective tools to help them prevent little mistakes with big consequences

“Andrea understands that her team needs to be able to trust her to do the right thing by them and the business needs to understand that not everything can happen right now, so a little bit of patience and trust go a long way to making the impossible possible in the best timescales for everyone.”

Rae Baker, OSINT Analyst at Operation: Safe Escape

Rae has taken the industry by storm – starting out just three years ago. She has moved from graphic design, into OSINT investigations, specialising in Maritime. Rae volunteers her time to support organisations such as Operation Safe Escape. A not-for-profit supporting survivors of domestic abuse and violence. She also is currently writing a book on OSINT, volunteers to support survivors and persons targeted, and works heavily within the OSINT community to spread knowledge. Rae has a YouTube channel where she provides introductions to OSINT, specifically maritime, for people to learn from. She speaks at conferences, and is always happy to give back to the community. Whilst it’s been only three years, she has quickly become one of the authorities on OSINT.

“Nominating Rae because of her continuous efforts to provide support to the OSINT community, support vulnerable persons, and educate. She works hard to ensure information is readily available to everyone who needs it.”

Kristina Balaam, senior security intelligence engineer, Lookout

Kristina is a key figure in Lookout’s threat research division particularly as a Senior Security Intelligence Engineer at Lookout where she reverse engineers mobile malware. She regularly uncovers mobile-related threats that help protects millions.

“Kristina is always doing her best to inspire the next generation of women in cyber and regularly participates in the Day of Security.”

Katie Beecroft, associate director, Fidelity International

Katie and her team have worked tirelessly to build awareness of cyber security threats to the firm. Thanks to her efforts, employees appreciate that they are part of the solution. More than that, Katie has looked beyond the bricks and mortar, coordinating webinars and training to educate individuals as to the risks of cyber threats in their personal lives. These programs have been very well received by employees and have resulted in a positive impact on the company’s cyber health.

“Katie knows how to engage people. She goes beyond facts and figures to ensure her audience comes away feeling they are part of the solution and fully invested in protecting themselves, their families and by extension our firm.”

Andra Catincescu, associate director, Fidelity International

An associate director at Fidelity International, Andra is subject matter expert and a passionate supporter of diversity and inclusion within the cybersecurity field. Knowledgeable when it comes to the assessment of risks and threats, Andra is a confident leader and speaker who can effectively explain even the most complex of situations. 

“[Andra has an] ability to keep calm and level headed, [even] in a range of situations.”

Hope Chauland, GTM Manager, Microsoft

By investing her time in researching the trends of the United Kingdom’s security and identity markets, Hope is actively involved in the process of product launching and marketing. Going above and beyond her position as a GTM Manager at Microsoft, Hope is also the co-leader of UK Women in Security at Microsoft, where she strives to promote topics valuable to women working in security. Whether through presenting, creating content, or the designing of new programs, Hope always ascertains that her products are always top of mind within the company. 

“Hope’s role is incredibly demanding and she seems to work non-stop! Yet, she always has time to lend a hand to a project or provide input. She is a very positive role model and is the personification of success!  Hope’s commitment to the work she does as well as to diversity in cyber makes her a phenomenal asset to the cyber community and a true inspiration!” 

Camellia Chan, CEO & Founder, FLEXXON

Bridging together her love for technology and business, Camellia has built FLEXXON from the ground up, forming an international team spanning from Asia, North America and the EMEA regions. Yet despite the team’s size, Camellia cares deeply about each and every one of her employees, making it her mission to make FLEXXON a safe space that allows for them to thrive—taking their career trajectories, senses of well-being, and personal growth into account. As a result of her leadership, FLEXXON was awarded both a prize and funding at the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore’s 2018 Cybersecurity Industry Call for Innovation, later developing the world’s first AI-embedded data security solution, the X-PHY Cyber Secure SSD. 

“Camellia represents a spirit of never giving up, striving for your goals even when the path ahead is challenging and being able to balance championing the human spirit through it all.”

Nathalie Cole, Cyber Security Consultant, NCC Group

Having transitioned from working as a veterinary surgeon to her role as a Cyber Security Consultant for NCC Group, Nathalie is now also serving as the chapter administrator for the Ladies of Cheltenham Hacking Society—in which she advocates for the promotion of diversity for women, people from ethnic minorities, and the neurodivergent community. In an effort to further disseminate diversity and inclusion throughout the cybersecurity industry, Nathalie is an avid supporter of CyNam and the Cheltenham Science Festival. 

“Being a career changer, Nathalie demonstrates a non-traditional route into cybersecurity. She is also HUGELY passionate about championing diversity, which is an attribute that is truly inspirational.”

Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy & Evangelist, KnowBe4

With only five employees and no physical office, Anna was able to found Popcorn Training, one of the first global companies to educate individuals about online safety with story-based and engaging video and gaming content as an educational medium. Since then, Popcorn Training has been acquired by KnowBe4, and has won multiple international awards. Working at KnowBe4 herself as an SVP Content Strategist, Anna is also an evangelist for cybersecurity, Anna has a way of painting cyber awareness in a light that makes it exciting and engaging, even to the average, non-technical individual. In her free time, Anna is very involved with her local community, advocating for equal rights in South African townships, and personally assisting senior citizens with yoga. Regardless of the subject at hand, Anna has mentored a number of women to push ahead and excel.  

“Anna persevered to build a company from the ground up. She has also offered her time and expertise to help others, particularly young women, join the industry. For example, she was involved in the Gov-X initiative, which is an innovation challenge aimed towards inspiring the youth to assist the government in solving African national security challenges.”

Alice Conibere, Junior Security Researcher, Secure Impact

An expert when it comes to networking and outreach, Alice has a way of sharing her knowledge in an engaging manner—ranging from how she helped people succeed in a UK Government cybersecurity training programme to the talks she arranged as Communications Officer on behalf of her university’s cybersecurity society. Her colleagues at Secure Impact think very highly of her, as she always contributes the best work possible. Not yet even 22 years old, Alice is a recent graduate in cybersecurity at the Bournemouth University Computing and Security Society, where she held informative sessions to encourage her fellow students to venture into the field of cybersecurity. 

“Her diligent work, community efforts, and open attitude places her as a monumental figure within the cyber security community. Her frequent community engagement, presence at numerous events, and constant willingness to provide advice makes her an inspirational figure within the cybersecurity community, proving that there is room for all in this stereotypically male-dominated field.”

Adenike Cosgrove, VP Marketing, EMEA, Proofpoint

A driving force for increasing cybersecurity awareness in terms of how, why, and when an organization and its people are being targeted, Adenike has been elected as the Vice Chair of the ‘authindicators’ working group—which was entrusted with the duty of developing a way to consistently show end user recipients that their messages have been authenticated. In addition, Adenike has collaborated with a major private healthcare organization in the UK, educating healthcare providers on the interplay of cybersecurity and threat actors with the healthcare industry—and how to best protect and defend their staff, suppliers, and patients. By taking on a novel and innovative method of risk assessment and cyberattack observation, Adenike’s work has successfully allowed numerous companies to see where their people-centric security is lacking, and where to take appropriate action, before a potential attack strikes. 

“[Adenike] is an advocate for addressing the diversity challenge in cybersecurity and regularly discusses the topic in industry events, in blogs and in columns. She puts forward the view that by continuing to look in the same place for cybersecurity professionals, we will continue to put the same set of eyes on a rapidly evolving set of problems. Diversity challenges traditional assumptions and thought processes, bringing a fresh perspective to problems and new challenges, and Adenike is passionate about inspiring a new and diverse generation of cybersecurity professionals.”

Camilla Currin, Senior Partner Manager, Trend Micro

A senior partner manager at Trend Micro, Camilla is an inspiration to everyone—rising to any challenge whilst bringing forwards an empathetic and emotionally-intelligent attitude. A mentor and experienced industry veteran, Camilla equally devotes her time to her colleagues regardless of their position—extending from C-level executives to junior team members. 

“She’s genuinely passionate about people and their backgrounds. She continuously mentors younger team members inside the company as well as in her social circle, across the industry and in partner organizations. She looks for the best in people—always.”

Adelina Deaconu, XDR Team Lead, Heimdal Security

With Adelina overseeing the XDR team for Heimdal Security, the group was able to become a fully fledged cybersecurity tactical squad—not to mention that, with Adelina’s guidance, the XDR team facilitated the product usage process for its customers. Furthermore, Adelina strove to ensure that Heimdal’s clients were always one step ahead of the latest threat actors—surveying infiltration efforts and responding to threats in order to keep the clients’ infrastructure safe. 

“What… [is] most inspirational about Adelina as a woman in cybersecurity is the fact that she made this technical lead role her own with great skills, impeccable problem-solving, and hands-on management. Seeing a woman as a leader in her field, especially on the technical side, is something that… [is inspirational] every day.”

Katie Diacon, Director, TMT Cyber Security

A leader who puts a huge amount of trust into people and also strives to keep learning and improving, Katie has taken the KPMG resilience team to new lengths. She has facilitated several difficult Women in Cyber panel discussions and been exceptional at it, taken our Resilience team to new levels and growth, and motivated several young women (like myself) but also men. She’s also brought several new clients and empowered everyone in her team to want to play a part in the growth of the team.

“[Katie] champions women in cyberspace through sponsorship, mentorship and by providing great working opportunities. [Additionally, she] provides usable advice and guidance, leads by example, and promotes good work life balance in the workplace.”

Dasha Diaz, Founder & CEO, itrainsec

Having worked in the communications department of one of the top cybersecurity vendors, Dasha has gone on to organize top class IT security conferences—and has also founded her own company, “itrainsec”, which provides custom b2b cybersecurity trainings and organizes events worldwide involving top cybersecurity vendors. 

“Dasha has a real passion towards what she does and really understands the importance of cybersecurity. Dasha is a real professional, strong and communicative… [and she] sets the goal and meets the goal whatever it takes.”

Lauren Eickhorst, Co-Founder and COO, Aristotle Metadata

As a leader in knowledge transfer, Lauren has put forward work in the development, operationalisation and growth of Aristotle Metadata that has had an outstanding impact on the data cybersecurity landscape. Her contributions to cybersecurity include the development of data skills training videos viewed by over 300,000 global viewers, development of training to upskill data security knowledge within complex organizations, and user experience design to revolutionize the uptake of data security solutions within larger enterprise groups. Not only that, but she is also a regional President for the Data Management Association, having broadened the audience to include a younger and more diverse practitioner demographic—in turn increasing the development of the data and cybersecurity community.

“Lauren has shown herself to continuously dedicate herself to self-improvement and growth. She is current Chief Operating Officer for an increasingly international startup, President of a regional data committee, and completing her Master of Business Administration to improve her skills. Lauren is an exceptional and outstanding representative of global cybersecurity and [is] an inspiration for women seeking to join the profession.”

Carole Embling, information security manager – compliance, Metro Bank

Carole started her career in IT security at the Royal Mail Group. Having begun as a Post Office Counter Clerk, she started on the path into Information Security by being trained as a junior business consultant back in 1990. She quickly learned the ropes of Information Security as part of a special training initiative and then became part of an integral team providing security consultancy at the Royal Mail Group. She later became an Information Security Manager at RMG and after being part of multiple organisations in the capacity of Information Security Advisor/Manager, she took on her current role as the Information Security Manager – Compliance at Metro Bank.  

“Carole has fought adversity since the 1990s to champion women in cybersecurity.”

Kate Emery-James, sales director, major accounts UK&I, Trend Micro

Kate has held various executive positions in cyber and has worked hard to put D&I at the top of the agenda in each of the organisations she worked in. She’s passionate about creating a truly inclusive work environment, in which everyone feels welcome. At Trend Micro, Kate is working hard to ensure the company has a diverse pipeline of talent joining the various teams. 

“Kate [has] juggle[d] many unexpected situations, from balancing a career and small children to working with difficult customer situations – career challenges have come with lots of different guises along the way for Kate. She tends to look at situations and frame them as ‘plot twists’ which are there to ‘learn and move on’. This has and continues to inspire many around her.”

Ana Ferreira, information security & health researcher, CINTESIS

Ana Ferreira has been a cybersecurity specialist and researcher for more than 20 years now, before even cybersecurity was named as such or the realization that the inclusiveness and diversity of this field would, one day, be so relevant to its advancement. Ana was one of the pioneers in cybersecurity in Europe and she has built herself into one of the role models that can inspire all generations of women to do so too, at both a national and European level, and even worldwide, where she has recently been recognized for her work and as a barrier breaker in the area.

“Ana supports any girl that contacts her through social media, she is always encouraging us to take risks… Last but not least, she has been awarded for many scientific papers while having won the “Barrier Breaker” category of the Cybersecurity Woman of the Year Awards 2022.”

Didar Gelici, senior technology manager, risk & compliance, JustEat

Didar is an experienced information security and risk manager, enthusiastic about transitioning into AppSec and DevSecOps. She is skilled in risk and control assessments, third party due diligence and team management. Didar has BA degree focused in Management and Organization from Marmara Üniversitesi.

“Didar takes an active role in multiple communities mostly helping women in tech. She is caring and a good leader with a big smile on her face always.”

Phoebe Goddard, assistant manager, cyber security, KPMG

Phoebe has worked extensively on cyber benchmarking in her role at KMPG, having recently been promoted to assistant manager for cyber security at KPMG. She has a hard-working attitude with a solutions-oriented mindset which allows her to always get the job done.

Phoebe has a spark that is rare, I can see her reaching higher heights, she’s one to watch out for.”

Stefani Goerlich, sex, relationships & mental health therapist, Bound Together Counselling

Stefani co-hosts a podcast called Securing Sexuality, where she and her husband demystify security concerns for the non-technical and targeted communities. Stefani reaches out to security persons to ensure the advice she gives clients, i.e. applications of interest or sites, is secure. She is a voice in the confusing world of therapy and ensures legitimate help is given to persons who need it, and companies that aim to mistreat or trick people are not allowed to continue. Stefani speaks at both therapy and security conferences.

“Stefani continues to not only achieve but expand her knowledge. She is taking security training, investing time to learn more to help others. She also had a medical emergency a few years ago, which she barely survived, and yet didn’t let that slow her down.”

Tamzin Greenfield, cyber security apprentice, University of Gloucestershire + Cyber Security Associates

Tamzin has been honoured to speak at multiple events regarding diversity and entry pathways, hosted by groups such as Women in Cyber Security, CyNam, the UK Cyber Security Council, and the NCSC. She has also mentored students and sees the distinctly bold cohort that lead the future of STEM.

“Tamzin is a hugely inspirational young woman who is exceptionally dedicated to the cyber community.”

Nicola Hartland, senior VP, Falanx Cyber

Nicola leads the Innovation and Growth team within Falanx Cyber, part of Falanx Group who are listed on London’s AIM stock exchange. Falanx Cyber puts enterprise-class cyber security services within reach of every organisation. She identifies areas of cyber risk threatening the integrity of businesses and helps  provide complete end-to-end managed cyber security services to alleviate those risks.

Nicola has a unique capability to align solutions to cyber challenges.”

Charlotte Hooper, helpline manager, the Cyber Helpline

Charlotte has been instrumental in the Cyber Helpline from non-profit to registered charity and leads to build a team of responders to help the people of the UK. These responders come from all walks of life and want to help people; Charlotte makes sure The Cyber Helpline gets the right people and then trains and nurtures them so that they can make a real difference in people’s lives.

“Charlotte’s  drive and energy to always find a way and to get round blockers to make a difference is inspirational.”

Samantha Humphries, head of EMEA marketing & security strategy, Exabeam

Samantha Humphries is the Head of Security Strategy EMEA at Exabeam, a global cybersecurity leader that adds intelligence to every IT and security stack. She is responsible for ensuring Exabeam’s global markets receive relevant solutions messaging, collateral, and information.Samantha has over 21 years of experience in cyber security, and during this time has held a plethora of roles. She has defined strategy for multiple security products and technologies, helped hundreds of organisations of all shapes, sizes, and geographies recover and learn from cyberattacks, and trained many people on security concepts and solutions. In her current role she has responsibility for EMEA, Data Lake, compliance, and all things related to cloud.

Samantha’s dedication to diversity and inclusion has made her a leading figure in the cybersecurity industry. Since her early days moving from receptionist to Global Threat Response Manager at McAfee, Samantha has become one of the industry’s most impassioned advocates.” 

Nadia Kadhim, CEO & co-founder, Naq Cyber

Nadia has driven Naq to be a five million euro business serving customers all over the world. Nadia also has a passion for helping disadvantaged communities, demonstrated by her company Naq being 50% female and BAME.

Even through adversity and, frankly, when the chips were stacked against her, Nadia has demonstrated that through perseverance, she can overcome numerous obstacles to create a dynamic, fast-growing, multi-million euro business, meaning that she is a role model to young women everywhere.”

Hadis Karimipour, associate professor-chair in secure and reliable networked engineering systems, University of Calgary

Dr. Hadis Karimipour is the Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Secure and Resilient Cyber-Physical Systems, a position awarded to exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged as leaders by their peers. Named one of the Top 20 Women in Cyber Security in 2021 by IT World Canada, Dr. Karimipour is breaking new ground in using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the security analysis of Critical Infrastructure (CI)—the essential systems that sustain our lives and our economy, including power grids and transportation systems. In April 2022, she received the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta Early Accomplishment Award.

Hadis always provided a healthy, unbiased, and comfortable environment with equal opportunities for all trainees in my team. She ensured that the lab setup and equipment met the needs of diverse people with different genders, races, ages, and mental or physical disabilities. She has extended her training to include skills such as social responsibility, leadership, critical thinking, and humanity alongside science and technology.”  

Seònaid Lafferty, cyber ecosystem project manager, University of Manchester

Seònaid’s foresight is converting the process of supporting SMEs through transformations that will help them grow securely on-line into a sustainable community of interest for the future. Seònaid has progressed now to managing the equally innovative North West Partnership for Security and Trust, and the University’s part in the Manchester city centre Digital Security Hub (The DiSH) which will be a home for local meetups of the communities in the regional cyber ecosystem and the start-ups and scale-ups so important to steering us all safely through the cyber threat landscape.

“Sustainability, morals and ethics, and a positive attitude just flow from Seònaid even when those about her might trample over them for glory and an easy life. Follow Seònaid and you will be sure of treading a worthwhile path through the many complementary disciplines of cybersecurity.”

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Collaboration in Cyber Security is the Key to Combatting the Growing Cyber Threat. Here’s Why

Cyber security has never been so important and in a post-pandemic world it is more important than ever. According to a recent report by Kaspersky, the number of the number of Trojan-PSW (Password Stealing Ware) detections increased by almost a quarter globally – 4,003,323 in 2022 compared to 3,029,903 in 2021.

In addition, internet attacks also grew from 32,500,00 globally in 2021 to almost 35,400,000 in 2022. With cybercrime still massively on the rise, organisations of all sizes can no longer adopt a head in the sand approach when it comes to cyber security and say that it isn’t something they need to bother with or worry about.

Many in cyber security have an excellent record of collaborating, but the industry remains fragmented and suffers from silos which can leave organisations vulnerable. These silos often arise because of an outdated, silo-based corporate structure. This in turn can leave an organisation vulnerable to data loss and disruptions to business continuity.

There are many organisations who are doing great work globally to help combat the growing cyber threat, but they largely remain isolated. As a result, the industry is often unaware of this great work. Greater collaboration with associations and entities in cyber security is the key to being stronger together as an industry when it comes to combatting cybercrime, but how can this be achieved?

Why is collaboration so powerful in cyber security?

Collaboration with associations and other key stakeholders in cyber security globally can reduce the time between the discovery of new threats and protection implementation, which in turn allows organisations to keep up with the ever-evolving threat landscape.  Speeding up the delivery of threat intelligence is crucial for building a strong cyber security programme, and vendors should work on making it as easy as possible to break down the silos between different security disciplines.

Various associations, councils and other groups within cyber security have been founded globally, but they tend to work alone and work to “keep out” any perceived outsiders. Usually this is because of a competitive threat, and sometimes this is entirely justified for organisations to keep their distance from others. But if these important bodies joined forces and worked together to help combat the growing cyber threat this might go some way to help combatting it.

Barriers to successful collaboration in cyber security

Historically there have been many barriers to sharing threat intelligence, which can make collaboration difficult to implement at scale. For example, associations may be working on projects that they deem as strictly confidential, or they may include sensitive information from a national security perspective. Vendors might use data formats or APIs that require plug-ins or proprietary tools in commercial products for translation.

Cyber security often has a misguided perception that it is solely focused on a lone person sitting in a darkened room wearing a hoodie responding to the “bad guys”, and in terms of breaking down silos this image is not very appealing to those who are searching for a career that is focused on people and being part of a strong team.

The industry also needs to start talking about cyber security being beyond the default “ransomware” and “attackers” it often defers to. Therefore, the industry must change its siloed perception. While these barriers are of course a legitimate concern, there are many ways they can be overcome to enable greater collaboration.

Collaborating beyond borders to help combat the growing cyber threat

Many non-profit organisations have already been established which aim to make cybercrime more difficult and less lucrative, and they already collaborate well together on a global scale. Examples include the Cyber Threat Alliance, which takes threat information sharing to a new level in the hope that it will lead to greater protection for the public against cyber-attacks. This not-for-profit organisation encourages greater collaboration between cyber security organisations by enabling near real-time high quality cyber threat information sharing amongst its members and with the world.

In the UK associations and organisations such as the Cyber Security Alliance and the National Cyber Security Centre work together to foster greater collaboration, but the newly created entity Cyber Security Unity aims to take this to the next level by joining up with and collaborating with trade associations globally.  The ethos of Cyber Security Unity is that associations are stronger together when it comes to combatting the growing cyber threat.

The role of governments in collaborating with associations

Governments need to play a major role in achieving greater collaboration, but the industry associations, who all operate in and fully appreciate the increasingly dangerous cyber-threat landscape, must take the initiative for real progress on greater collaboration to begin. The digital world is borderless, and attacks coming through are having a huge global impact. It may fall to the associations to educate governments on just how serious the cyber-threat problem is and of the potentially catastrophic impact they may have.

Once governments are working more closely with industry and treating cyber-threats with the seriousness they deserve, they can develop the necessary global infrastructure to foster collaboration. For example, the development of an international communication system, enabling intelligence to be rapidly passed between governments and organizations, in the same way as there are tsunami and terror warnings. The cyber industry must be at the forefront of such an approach and communication is key to global collaboration, but caution should be exercised as there has to be a strategy in place. To communicate effectively between different countries and organizations, associations need to join hands with everyone to build it together.

Final thoughts

If associations in cyber security join up to work in a collaborative fashion, this will help to establish a more sound, successful, and strategic framework for cyber security. By making a conscious effort to improve information sharing globally, as well as through government and law enforcement agencies – the world will benefit from gaining intelligence and insights that will help strengthen defences against cybercrime. And that can only be a good thing.

Lisa is a Security Serious Unsung Heroes Awards finalist in the Security Leader / Mentor category.  The awards, sponsored by Beazley, KnowBe4, KPMG, Qualys and The Zensory and organised by Eskenzi PR, aim to celebrate the people, not products in the cybersecurity industry.

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