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Finance Conference speaker discusses cyber security

“In the last five years threat levels have become a much bigger issue and I see this getting bigger in the future”.

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Mollie Stephen, SFHA Business Development Intern, spoke to Keith Nicholson founder of Cyber Security Scotland, ahead of the federation’s 2017 Finance Conference to discuss why cyber security is becoming an increasing priority for organisations.

What initially sparked your interest in cyber security?

Keith: I have always found cyber security interesting and have worked in IT and cyber security for over 20 years. It has been intriguing to see how the threat levels have changed over the years. I think the recent high publicity has heightened awareness, which is good as it has taken a while to become more recognised. Not many people have experience within this field but I find it fascinating.

When and what made you realise that cyber security was a big issue?

Keith: I recognised it was a big issue when the first Data Protection Act was passed in the late nineties. Before this, many organisations had little or no protection. However, in the last five years, threat levels have become a much bigger issue due to greater threats, and I see this getting bigger in the future.

Your office is in a remote location in Scotland, what made you choose this location, and do you think it has had a positive effect on your work?

Keith: Well, you can work from anywhere in IT. We have an office in Edinburgh, so I move between the two as there are good transport links to the central belt. However, I find that, in Thurso, there is a good work/life balance and this is attractive to people. It is a bit different to your usual office location, but we may as well take advantage of technology and use it to improve our lives.

Do you ever come across any IT issues being in such a remote location?

Keith: Not so much IT issues, but we can suffer from power loss that can last for a couple of days. Up here, our broadband and IT resilience is good but if there’s no power, we can’t use them. No power is the biggest threat to remote working.

What is your favourite thing about what you do?

Keith: Making a difference. I like going into an office knowing I have made an impact. Whether it be IT related or just general awareness or knowledge, it’s good to know I have given people a better understanding of cyber security and IT, as a lot of places don’t know their level of risk. I also enjoy meeting new people and seeing new places.

Finally, what does the future hold for your organisation?

Keith: We have been steadily expanding. I mainly work with the public and third sector by choice, but we have also been working with the Institute of Directors. Currently, I am engaging in some bigger projects and can see the organisation expanding as demand is increasing more and more.

Keith will be leading a workshop on cyber risks and security at this year’s SFHA Finance Conference. The conference will be held at Crieff Hydro Hotel on 14 and 15 November. Residential places are sold out, but there are still places for day delegates. If you book both days as a day delegate between now and the conference, you will pay £440 instead of £545, that’s a saving of £105! The SFHA is also offering a free place for a fourth delegate for every three delegates you book from your organisation so don’t hesitate booking your spot

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