Chris White, Detective Inspector is the newly appointed Head of Cyber and Innovation for the South East Cyber Resilience Centre and we caught up with Chris to discuss his first few weeks in the role.
How do you think your police experience will help in your new role?
I have been involved in various departments within the police, mainly focussing on technological roles. More recently I held the role of a police cyber security advisor for the South East Region helping protect organisations from being a victim of cybercrime and assisting in a response during these unfortunate times.
I have also managed a team of officers who worked with cyber offenders. We explored the thought processes of these young people, and then helped by coaching and encouraging a positive behaviour change within them to reduce offending. This has provided me with a good awareness of the causes and reasons of cybercrime.
What will you be doing in your new role and what are the priorities?
I will be contacting many organisations across the South East and where I can, encourage the safe and practical usages of computer systems. Utilising computer science students from local universities will enable us to provide and build stronger communities at an affordable scale.
Why do you think the SECRC is so important for businesses in the region?
Up until now it's difficult to understand where you can obtain cyber security support and services as the market is saturated. A public body working together with the talent of the private sector and academia seems to be the perfect match to build on and provide local trusted cyber support to business that really need it the most.
What are the main cyber security threats to businesses in SE region?
I often see computer systems that, with all good intentions may not have been set up correctly or leak information or have gaps in its security. Even when we are sleeping, parts of the world are awake, leaving these systems exploitable by cyber criminals. Once you are connected to the internet, cyber-crime is a borderless problem.
Have you got any tips for small and medium businesses to help them protect themselves?
We look at this issue in 3 areas – people, processes, and technology.
Keep your staff informed, review your training and contingency plans, and ensure your computers are configured correctly. We have some experts here that can help you with guidance in all those areas.
What are you looking forward to most in your new role?
Having seen a lot of companies suffer after a cyber-attack with lifelong investments lost. I am looking forward to giving people the ability and confidence in understanding how to operate computers safely. By balancing the risk, you can create a safer business with extra resilience to withstand a cyber incident should it occur.
Why should businesses join the SECRC?
That is simple – we can keep you up to date with the latest information in relation to cyber. We are local and have plenty of talented people to provide expert help when you need it.
We are in a habit of locking our houses every morning as we leave for work, computers are here to stay, and we just need to get into the same habit of looking after our online digital lives.