Meeting 5 - South Hants IT group - Security

19 May 2019

This month’s instalment of the South Hants IT group managed 22 attendees, which considering it was the Pompey Playoffs and nice weather outside is still a good result. It was not by design that the Sunderland team were staying at the Solent Hotel and walked out of the hotel just before our meeting started, and I was nothing to do with the alleged disturbances the night before to put them off at the game. Didn’t work anyway…..

Many of the attendees this time were repeat attendees, and the mix of people in the room continues to inspire me to carry on with the project. Clearly the promise of Vegan Nibbles and Branded Cupcakes drew most of the crowd, and a big thanks to Blondies Bakery and V-Feast startup catering units for preparing said nibbles – again most of which were left behind. I need to get more fatties to our meetings.

Andy Miles from ThinkMarble was an incredible presenter, covering the full range of a very broad topic (Security) with some excellent anecdotes, most of which were under Chatham House rules so cannot be shared. Needless to say Andy is very proud of the work ThinkMarble are doing with the National Cyber Security Council (NCSC), and he explained the context of the recent award ThinkMarble received for their work in developing threat response to a range of situations. Considering the other company that won the award was IBM, this is a great result for a growing business in the South Hants area.

Of the areas that I can share from the content of the presentation, the general themes were:

  • Security is significantly more than Firewalls, Antivirus and Antispam – which although sounds obvious is clearly not getting through to most businesses, even now.
  • No matter how well you prepare for an attack, it is highly likely that a persistent attacker will get through. There was an excellent real life example of a phishing attack that posted 1800 emails into an organisation, and their security processes stopped all bar 1 of the emails – but this one was sufficient to cause substantial damage to the organisation.
  • You should be careful with leaving your wi-fi on, using public wi-fi points, especially if Andy’s team have followed you home and are parked outside your house. He scares me.
  • ThinkMarble have an interesting approach to some projects which involves proactively deploying honey traps to lull would-be attackers into a secure / protected area, to monitor what they are doing and divert their attention from the real target.
  • As per most other technology projects, it’s a combination of people, process and technology which satisfies the need best – and to focus on one of these without the other two will just leave you with a poor project.

The ThinkMarble story, with Andy at the helm,  just further reassures me that the Solent region has some truly awesome technology skills that we aren’t leveraging or promoting enough.  Definitely worth engaging with ThinkMarble if you have security needs.

Outside of the main event, we agreed (well I bullied the audience) that the current profits to date (£100) will be donated to Paul Bieles (one of our SH-IT members) sky-dive for Multiple Sclerosis, a particularly brave event as Paul has had MS for a number of years and I know he’s going to need his brown trousers.  If you want to donate individually, Paul’s page is Thank you to everyone who nominated other charities, hopefully at the end of 2019 we will distribute more funds to other local charities.

I was also very pleased to welcome Ashley Michael, Faculty Director from Fareham College, to the meeting. Ashley is trying to find local businesses to provide placement / work experience options to her A-Level (16-19) students so if you are happy to help out please get in touch and I’ll introduce you. She will be coming to future events if you want to meet her to discuss.

There was some debate about topic for next meeting, and I think we concluded that I will be giving a presentation on “How to work with Technology Procurement”, an event that should be useful to most of the Technology Sales guys I meet day to day, but also potentially to other Technology Procurement professionals locally to drive some “healthy” debate. I will be promoting within LinkedIn, but please let me know if more people want to come along – as ever the more the merrier:

  • Thursday 11th July, 5:30pm for a 6pm-7pm meeting.
  • Boozer thereafter will continue be the Parsons Collar,
  • Everyone is welcome who work in IT in the South Hants and surrounding areas. Please spread the word.

Universal feedback on the people who attend are that it is a lovely, friendly, informal bunch of like-minded people who are similarly looking for interesting tie-ups and project ideas. One idea that was discussed in the pub sounded truly amazing, largely facilitated by the breadth of the people in the community who we can access, so if that comes off it would be awesome. More to follow I think on that!

As ever, any questions, comments or feedback, please get in touch.

Phil (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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