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Understanding your assets is the starting point to securing them

“Asset visibility” is a recognised core concept in Information Security and there are few factors which are more important today than knowing exactly what you have in your estate. Assets can be anything from physical devices also known as hardware, buildings or other infrastructure and non-tangible resources for example cloud resources, and data. Gaining asset visibility is the cardinal starting point for rolling out any cybersecurity programme assuming of course that the aim is to implement the programme successfully. Of course, I cannot refer to people (once upon a time, but hopefully never again referred to as “wetware” or “meatware”) as assets but it is important that you recognise their contribution and importance in the security of any organisation. Humans are the most essential link in any cybersecurity chain.

  • What assets do we have within our estate?
  • What of these assets do we need?
  • Which of these assets do we own or manage?
  • Which of these assets did/do we pay for?
  • Which of these assets would we rather not have residing in our estate?
  • If we were to rank the assets identified above by order of importance to the organisation, which of them are the most important?

After the answers to these have been obtained following an asset discovery exercise, the following may be the next set of considerations:

  • What are the gaps in our controls?
  • Which cybersecurity controls will aid our goal of ensuring “beyond-adequate” security for our assets?
  • With data being described by some as “the new oil” as a way of highlighting its potential importance, do we as an organisation have the right controls in place to protect the data we own or handle?
  • When factors such as industry verticals or attack types faced by our organisation are considered, which of these identified controls are the most important?
  • What is the best plan for putting the right controls in place to ensure we secure our assets beyond achieving the static, bare minimum, “repeat-manually-every-six-months-or-every-quarter” exercise of ticking boxes?
  • As these controls are being rolled out, how do we measure improvements to our security posture and ongoing cybersecurity strategy? What is the best way to identify existing cybersecurity solutions overlaps, controls overlaps or even persisting, stubborn gaps in our security solutions or controls?
  • Do we manage all the above manually? How limiting – or even detrimental – is the manual approach to managing cybersecurity controls? Does it introduce the risk of mistakes and therefore erroneous and potentially costly decisions missed gaps leading to fines for poor security culture resulting in reputational damage, and so on. Is an automated approach preferable, with all the benefits of speed, reduced errors, repeatability, scheduling, measurability and the possibility to make rapid adjustments to a cybersecurity roadmap as required?

With the increasing types and numbers of devices and applications and the volume, variety and velocity of production of new data and recognising the reality of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and working from home options being adopted by an increasing number of companies due to the benefits they provide (cheaper or zero office rent costs, lower company bills, potentially more productive employees, etc.) – it is critical that organisations gain real-time, trustworthy visibility into which controls affect the assets that are in use as part of their estate and where the gaps in their security coverage is.

Knowing which controls you have in place or otherwise in real-time helps you plan for the best way to secure your asset estate. Identifying the controls needed to ensure the security of these assets and, unwittingly or otherwise, to support compliance requirements is a smart approach to security today. The alternative is an absence of visibility into some very vital security measurements.

Organisations can choose to capture, measure and review their organisation’s controls using lists and documentation which they create, share and manage manually. Alternatively organisations can offload the task to an automated system that consumes their controls in real-time if they have any controls in place and provides them with actionable insights into the coverage across all their assets, recommendations for the smartest way to improve your cybersecurity posture over a pre-agreed period as well as making recommendations for managing the current risks using mitigation techniques, among other approaches.

The options are quite clear: you can choose to drive to the market, or you can walk there – but you can’t complain if the person who opts to shop online gets there first and gets the best produce. Visibility, Speed and Relevant recommendations.

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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.

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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!

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Gary Penolver

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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

CEO -

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.

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