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How the La Fosse Pro Bono Advisory Practice is helping to secure the Natural History Museum

24/01/2020 By Ross Tanner

Simon Hodgkinson was among the first five world-class cybersecurity professionals to volunteer their time, expertise and resources as part of La Fosse Associates’ Pro Bono Advisor Practice. Simon’s background in cyber and infosecurity made him the perfect candidate for this scheme. Pioneered by our very own Head of Information Security, Ross Tanner, the scheme is an industry first, providing charities and non-profit organisations with free access to world-leading cyber security executives.

Six months later, Simon sat down with Ross to discuss his motivation for getting involved with La Fosse and the Natural History Museum, his contribution, and advice for other CISOs looking to do the same.

 

Why were you keen to offer pro bono support to the Natural History Museum?

CISOs provide their companies with a wealth of knowledge and insight, putting them in a very privileged position. Charitable organisations don’t necessarily have access to these resources, and so getting on board with this pro bono practice just felt like the right thing to do.

The Natural History Museum is a fabulous organisation – it’s part of British heritage and a globally recognised brand. However, that makes them more vulnerable to cyber attacks. If an activist group or other external threat were to attack the organisation, it would have the potential to halt the daily influx of thousands of visitors. If drawing on my own experiences could help avoid this, then of course I’d want to get involved.

How have you supported the organisation so far?

We’ve focused more on strategy, rather than hands-on action. I’ve also been encouraging the team to rate their digital assets in terms of confidentiality, integrity and availability – you simply can’t eradicate cyber risks and solve every problem before it’s even happened. First, you need to establish your high-value, priority assets – whether it’s your traditional enterprise IT networks, applications, servers and desktops, or even cameras – then take the essential measures to secure them.

Showing the team how big corporations operate has been really valuable. I think the team found it quite eye-opening to see the vast footprint that we have, and the sheer scale of the threats that we deal with everyday. The Natural History Museum team are very talented and they already knew what needed to be done, but seeing how it actually happens at other organisations has shown them how to maximise the technology they already own.

What advice do you have for anyone considering getting involved with our pro bono practice?

It’s been a real honour to work with the Natural History Museum, and as you’d expect when working with any charitable organisation, I’ve taken a lot away from it, too. The team I worked with produced incredible results with limited resources, which was really inspiring. We’ve shared different perspectives and insights with each other – it’s a rewarding, two-way process.

On a personal level, I’ve also really enjoyed it. I’ve been very fortunate in my career, and giving something back is so fulfilling. Working with Ian Golding, Interim CIO at the Natural History Museum, has been an absolute pleasure, and the organisation has been so receptive to feedback. If Ian has any questions or simply wants a sounding board for ideas, he knows that he’s more than welcome to reach out and have that conversation with me – it’s a relationship I’m keen to continue.

If you’re a non-profit organisation or CISO looking to become a part of the platform in any capacity, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Ross Tanner at ross.tanner@lafosse.com

 

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