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How are UK Businesses Driving Their Compliance Activities?

We recently launched our compliance research which was focused on UK businesses and how they perceived their compliance status.

Something we wanted to dive into was what were the current key drivers in UK enterprises’ compliance programs and whether, as a collective, we were in a good place or not.

So here’s the good news overall –


Driving overall risk

74% of businesses spoken to, regardless of their industries, were focused on a strategy of risk reduction.

That’s not bad, but maybe not as high as we would like it.

When you drill into that further per industry, the business services and commercial sector as a whole were the winners with 100% and 94% respectively of enterprises asked, stating that reducing risk was of paramount importance. For QO, whilst still high at 70%, the financial services sector should have been ranked as number one considering the potential damage that a lack of focus in cyber risk can cause these enterprises.

QO View: There needs to be more consistent cyber risk reduction strategies across all sectors. Whilst some industries really do focus on this, consider that 30% of finance enterprises still do not have this as a key driver, 50% of manufacturers don’t and 40% in the IT and Telecoms sector. Surely we need to do better than this on ensuring that business risk is minimized considerably particularly in an era of evolving, consistently frequent cyber attacks?




With 3rd party risk, are enterprises focused?

So there may be broader focus in the press around 3rd party, but we are not sure that this is reflected in our results?

Worryingly, sectors such as manufacturing, where 3rd parties play a key part, only 40% cited that this was a key driver, and within the finance sector, whilst this was higher – 65%, across all sectors, finance came out as the highest response, which is a really concerning number considering how 3rd parties can be the weakest link in you business operational resilience.

QO View: Time and again recently, 3rd party risk has been mentioned as a key risk to enterprises. Over all sectors only 53% of enterprises said that they were focused on this, 60% of manufacturers asked still don’t. So our concern is that sectors where 3rd parties play a huge part still are not engaged in how they manage this issue.


Does demonstrating industry best practice play a part?

Well kind of yes.

So here’s the facts. 50% of all enterprises did cite this as important, and positively manufacturing, where best practice plays a major part, scored the highest at 70%.

More worryingly, the finance sector scored the worst with only 43% stating this as a focus, which begs the question as to whether this industry should be concerned about maintaining best practices considering the vast amounts of data that they hold.

QO View: why would this not be a focus right? Surely by demonstrating best practice can ultimately keep a business secure and compliant and allow bad practices to not creep in. So the fact that these numbers are low is concerning.


But did anyone use validation of controls as a key driver?

So whilst the IT, tech and telecoms sector came out top at 68% in this industry responding with a yes – frankly this sector should know better and the response should have been higher.

From a compliance point of view the finance industry yet again, whilst being the second highest, only 65% of fintech have a focus on validation of controls. Apart from that, all other sectors scored lower.

QO View: We’re concerned here at QO as to whether there really is enough of a focus on controls in keeping businesses secure and compliant. If you cannot validate your controls to ensure that you are compliant, then UK enterprises are surely leaving themselves vulnerable and open to attack, let alone potentially failing in their compliance.


In conclusion, are UK enterprises focused on the right things?

We’re not convinced there are strong statistics to support that UK enterprises are really focused on the right activities to ensure they are truly compliant.

Whilst driving a reduction in risk did receive some high scores in some sectors, in others it simply wasn’t high enough and frankly there was not a broad enough coverage, or high enough scores, of really key activities to ensure that enterprises are compliant. 3rd Party in particular is a key risk for us at QO and validation of controls which enterprises really must address with real impetus if they are to succeed in keeping really compliant and secure.


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Liam Flavin

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Ekaterina Kuzevanova

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Mohamed Mohamud

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Juan Morales

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Luke Bakare

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Rutvik Belapurkar

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Jason Wilkes

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Annie Greenfield

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Ian Waggott

Consulting Practice Director -

A very experienced and respected Senior Leadership Executive, with over 30 years’ experience in Information Technology, Information/CyberSecurity and Risk. Specialises in delivering business transformation, leading people through change and taking them on a journey to deliver and exceed company expectations. Highly regarded by his peers and colleagues across the globe. A very confident and effective communicator at CXO level, and valued as an expert presenter at numerous worldwide forums  . Across his career been in Senior CISO and leadership positions in Banking, Telco, Network & Utilities, Several UK Government Departments, 

Has extensive Cyber Security, Operational Risk, Compliance and Business Transformation expertise, gained across a broad range of industries. Former Director of Cybersecurity for CGI and CapGemini and Ex CISO for O2.

Will Tonge

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Will has spent the last 9-years embedded in Cyber Security working with global, household names and innovative start-ups.

Passionate about bringing people and technology together, Will has worked in various settings, helping build high-growth organisations across multiple sectors. During this time, he has built an extensive network with access to some of the best talent out there.

Outside of QO, his young daughter keeps him well on his toes!

Shaun Barnes

DevOps Team Lead

Mark Hudson

Non-Exec Director -

Mark works with SMEs and charities to develop strategies to help them grow and access development capital. He is a NED, charity trustee and mentor to a wide range of people. His plural career started in 2017 after 16 years at pwc as a Deals partner working with large corporates and PE houses; at pwc he also ran the Retail and Consumer practice and was Chairman of the pwc UK Supervisory Board. Prior to pwc he was an executive director at Welcome Break and Iceland Group, and a partner at Bain and Company. He trained as an engineer at Imperial College and has an MBA from INSEAD. 

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Eamon Flavin

Non-Exec Director -

Eamon is a highly regarded and massively respected technology career professional as well as serial entrepreneur. He has started, grown and successfully taken to market three technology business.

Genuinely expert in technology, Eamon has enjoyed long-term working relationships with many of the world’s top companies and organisations in finance, banking, government, manufacturing, engineering, technology and the charities sector.

He draws on unparalleled contacts and experience and provides advice, solutions and recommendations, as well as helping respond to emergencies. Eamon has grown in-house and client teams and has a gift for hiring great people.

Peter Martin

Non-Exec Director -

Peter has the ability to do what many fail to and that is to consistently bring together highly professional teams and build a business environment that is supportive, agile, professional and where everyone enjoys coming into the office.

Bringing a unique blend of business acumen and technical knowledge to the role of non-exec director, Peter has already demonstrated his ability to bring an exceptional flair for dealing with complex situations with a clear, considered approach.

Personally, Peter brings humility and a strong moral compass to the team. His disarming and self-deprecating approach wins everyone over.

Anwen Haynes

Head of Marketing -

Anwen has worked in B2B and B2C marketing for over 20 years. From transforming end-to-end customer journeys in retail with strategic customer-centric plans to target driven focused strategies for B2B sales. With extensive experience in digital marketing including SEO, as well as Brand development, she loves to develop a cohesive approach to brand image and communications to drive and develop the business proposition and perception.

Alice Walker

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Alice has worked in the IT industry for 20 years. Starting in Procurement, she moved into Software Asset Management before transitioning into Customer Success Management. Working across a variety of roles for different industries as both a customer and a service provider has given her a great understanding of what makes a great service. She has always been passionate about building and maintaining great customer relationships and helping her customers achieve their goals.

Owain Rowley

Lead Developer -

Owain has spent nearly a decade building software solutions and products within the cyber security sphere for the likes of government entities, large telecommunication companies, banks and card transaction companies.

This level of experience allows him to swiftly identify business and security processes that can be streamlined with automation, increase the efficiency of existing processes, as well as generate insightful data visualisations and models for members of an organisation at each different level.

Ami Penolver

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Ami is a finance sector career professional, with many years’ experience working in financial services, both in London and throughout the UK. In addition to financial control, she looks after HR and legal for the company.

Being a mother of two also equips her with the basic skills required to manage a senior team of management and technology consultants.

Ami’s sense of balance and perspective is an essential ingredient of the Quod Orbis culture.

Alastair Dickson

Commercial Director -

Alastair has spent the last 20 years working in Cyber Security and Risk Management. He is a passionate believer that security solutions should enable a business to take advantage of all the benefits of the digital world, while not putting the organisation’s data or productivity at risk.

Alastair has developed high-performing teams in some of the industry’s most competitive markets and launched new innovative technologies to market.

Being a rugby coach, and also having four sons at home, means he has lots of experience in keeping a passionate team in order but always has time for some fun!

Gary Penolver


Gary has 15 years’ experience in senior technology roles, and has already been closely involved in starting and taking two technology companies to market.

Totally comfortable with a fast-moving, state-of-the-art technical landscape, he helps his clients maintain and improve security and compliance.

He has a reputation for delivering pragmatic and easy to maintain solutions – business owners and managers enjoy knowing that the security and compliance is well managed and automated, properly instrumented and reported at a competitive cost point.

Honest, open, unflappable and very social, Gary is trusted by many household-name organisations to protect their, and their client’s data.

Martin Greenfield


Martin is an experienced technology and organisational transformation specialist and an excellent, proven leader and communicator in mission-critical operations, particularly in security technology.

Over the past 20 years, multi-billion pound commercial organisations, including global banks, utilities and major investment funds have trusted Martin to transform their operations to meet financial, operational and compliance targets.

Martin optimises operations, managing and transforming operational teams of between 50 and 500 people, to deliver the highest levels of audit compliance, risk management and financial efficiency.

Often working with other major consultancies and suppliers for new global corporate owners or management teams, Martin will help integrate and streamline operations on a global basis.

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