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Chief Constable praises partnership that helps keeps businesses safe from cyber-criminals

29 Jun 2018 11:00 AM

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Businesses across Northumbria are being kept out of the reach of cyber-criminals thanks to a flourishing partnership between police and business & IT consultants Waterstons.

The company provides valuable support, guidance and advice to officers on a range of cyber-crime initiatives and works closely with the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU), a collaboration between the three police forces of Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland.

The company’s cyber team, who are experienced in commercial in-depth vulnerability assessments alongside a diverse range of other security services, have provided advice and guidance that have allowed the police to develop free vulnerability assessments and provide support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria Force areas.

The assessments help identify ICT weaknesses and offer potential solutions to businesses before hackers can exploit them. 

In tribute to their ongoing dedication and expertise, Chief Constable of Northumbria Police Winton Keenen visited the company’s headquarters in Durham this week to present certificates of Commendation and discuss ways to continue tackling online threats and dangers effectively.

“Cyber-related crime is taken extremely seriously by Northumbria Police and is an evolving strand of criminality which surfaces in a number of other offences,” said Chief Constable Keenen.

“We have to understand and remain alert to these rapidly-evolving technologies in order to keep our communities and businesses safe from threats online, and this would not be possible without working collaboratively with partners.

“I would like to thank Waterstons for the fantastic role they play, advice they give and work they do to help protect our businesses.”

The team at Waterstons were presented with a special Northumbria Police plaque by Chief Constable Keenen as part of the visit.

Senior Information Security Consultant Iain Batty and Head of Information Security Stew Hogg were also awarded Chief Constable Commendations in recognition of their work.

Mr Batty said: “When we heard of this initiative we immediately saw the benefit it could bring to the business community.

“Many SME’s don’t have the resources to carry out vulnerability assessments, so helping the police provide these free of charge is a fantastic opportunity to evaluate and improve their defences.

“Additionally, by raising the awareness of information security to business leaders, we’re able to spread the message that security is a Board-level priority, not just something the ‘IT Team’ should worry about.

“This scheme highlights that cultivating a culture of awareness of the threats out there is the best approach to information security: assess, evaluate and adapt, rather than having a fear of the unknown and ‘hope they don’t target us’ approach. 

“We’re delighted to have been recognised for the work that we do and very keen to explore how our partnership can grow and develop to protect other businesses from cyber-crime.”

Susan Bell, CEO of Waterstons, said: “I am so proud that our highly-talented people have been recognised by Chief Constable Keenen for their support, guidance and advice to the police on their cyber-crime initiatives.

“While we never undertake this work for public recognition, we are delighted that Iain and Stew have received the prestigious Commendation from the Chief Constable and are humbled for the team to be honoured with the Northumbria Police plaque. 

“We’re eager to continue our partnership with NERSOU and Northumbria Police and wherever we can, help them further develop services to protect businesses from cyber-attacks.”