Interview with Mandy Haeburn-Little – CEO and founder of BRIM.

She tells us all about the network of Cyber Resilience Centres that are opening up throughout the country.

Cyber Resilience Centres are a highly successful initiative which evolved out of a Scottish Business Crime Centre development. Led by the Police, they enable a collaboration between law enforcement, businesses and academia to provide a trusted one stop shop approach to improved cyber resilience.

The Resilience Centres are aimed at businesses of all sizes and sectors and provide a central point of local resource and protection offering tailored memberships, affordable practical services and free guidance and advice.

Each regional centre partners with local universities where the most talented cyber undergraduates are supported to get involved with training and other security projects for local businesses. They also work very closely with the Protect network of Cyber Police through the Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs).

After an extensive EU tender procurement, the consultancy, Business Resilience International Management (BRIM), was selected to work with National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) to deliver a network of ten Cyber Resilience Centres.

Before founding BRIM in 2019,  Mandy Haeburn-Little was the Chief Executive of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre for over nine years working in partnership with Police Scotland. Mandy developed affordable innovative services for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by working closely with the companies that were approved to conduct Cyber Essentials assessments. This key model put the foundations down for what would become a national network of Cyber Resilience Centres.

This year Mandy was honoured at the SC Digital Awards Europe 2020 winning the Editor’s Choice Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Cyber Security Industry.

Mandy spoke with us about the growing necessity and demand for Regional Cyber Resilience Centres and the phenomenal speed that her and her team have been rolling them out across England and Wales.

Where are the Resilience Centres currently active and where are the next ones planned?

Already there are Centres established within the Greater Manchester area and within the North-East which covers two areas. The East Midlands and the West Midlands have more recently opened and the South-East Centre is now also live. Next will be the Centre for the whole of Wales which will go live, probably, later in October/November. The pace of delivery for these Centres has been extremely fast and, if anything, the recent pandemic has shown how strong the need is for cyber security support.

Can you explain the role of the Trusted Partners?

We see our relationship with IASME as being fundamental to the rollout and the development of the Cyber Resilience Centres as well as playing an important role in our future vision. IASME has provided each Cyber Resilience Centre with Trusted Partner contacts (or the Cyber Essentials Certification Bodies local to that Centre). In this way any business who is seeking a trusted and reliable cyber security company can be assured of the quality that they will receive through these trusted companies.

What are the common cyber security concerns that businesses liaise with you about? 

People and confidence and trust lie at the heart of everything that we do and everything that we deliver. Cyber security is not just about securing your technology, it is about training and reassuring the people who work in and with your organisation. Many people feel embarrassed about the fact that they are unclear about cyber security and that they’re unsure of what steps they could be taking. For example, during the pandemic, we’ve seen traditional offices being replaced by huge numbers of individuals working from home. These new set ups bring with them additional security vulnerabilities to businesses, so it has been vital that we support the National Cyber Security Centre messaging, and work with IASME and other partners to provide and emphasise simple advice around the same basic security measures.  Getting the basics right provides a surprisingly good level of protection.

We are particularly keen to support the small and micro businesses who typically do not have access to cyber expertise, and thanks to an agreement we have  set in place with the National Cyber Security Centre, most Cyber Resilience Centres offer a core free membership

Cyber Essentials via the Trusted Advisors is a core part of your offering, what do you feel Cyber Essentials offers to businesses and their suppliers?

Cyber Essentials is crucial to any size of company. Apart from the assurance to your customers, your supply chain and yourselves that you are putting in place the measures that the Government recommends to protect you, businesses going through the process will gain a huge amount of information which they may not have known before. One example is making an inventory of the assets which are under your protection is a really useful knowledge gathering audit process.

The Resilience Centres work closely with the Police, can you outline the relationship you have with them?

Along-side support we’ve received from the Home Office, the National Police Chiefs Council have invested a significant amount of funding to support the Cyber Resilience Centres. This means that each of the Centres is led by a Police secondee who has applied for the role and is working directly with BRIM in the set up. In this way, we can ensure that each centre has its own Board and is applying the same set of standards and principles and is delivering the same services.  For me, the Centres are a really visionary approach to Cyber Policing for the future and as the Police develop more security services and products, they will use the Centres to deliver these. In the coming years, I anticipate the Centres playing a more and more significant role within National Policing

What or who are you most proud of?

I am really proud of the whole team, not just those working for BRIM, but also the wider party, including the police teams who are involved in all of the aspects of delivery.  It’s hard to believe that the full-time programme only started in January of this year, everyone has worked unbelievably hard in a very short space of time to create a brand, reputation and a trusted focus for business to turn to. The BRIM team have been a real source of inspiration, innovation and humour which is vital on a project of this scale and pace.

How do people contact their local Resilience Centre?  Who should they contact if they are still waiting for their local one to be set up?

To find your nearest Centre and stay up to date as new Centres go live, go to:  https://www.brimcentre.com/network