The world of cyber security is ever-changing and Cheltenham-based cyber firm, North Green Security, is on a mission to educate and empower SMEs across Gloucestershire and beyond, to help keep them safe from cyber threats.
The business, which is based within Eagle Tower, works with organisations across the private, public and government sectors and conducts what is known as 'pen testing' — penetration testing of digital systems, or ethical hacking — to test a computer system, network or app to identify vulnerabilities that hackers may be able to exploit, either as a standalone service, or in conjunction with training, where it helps businesses rectify these vulnerabilities.
Founded in 2019 by Daniel Cannon — an expert in pen testing as well as training — the business made an immediate impact on the sector with its ground-breaking approach and has grown at an incredible rate over the last four years, turning heads in Gloucestershire's prominent cyber community, too.
Daniel's wife, Kerry Cannon, is the operations director of the business and said: 'It was Dan’s passion for training that led us here. He was originally a pen tester and team leader, then became skilled as an assessor and teacher and realised the impact he was able to make — and the growing scale of the need, too.'
An industry qualified penetration tester, Daniel Cannon holds the The Cyber Scheme Team Leader qualification that verifies his skillset in ethical hacking, as well as his ability to lead testing programmes against both public and private sector institutions.
He holds the newly-created IASME cyber advisor qualification — a scheme run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) that certifies security specialists with the skills to help small companies become more cyber resilient and work towards cyber essentials certification; and is qualified as a lead assessor on The Cyber Scheme in Cheltenham, which is NCSC-accredited and states that the security testers that pass its examinations ‘are the best in the industry, tasked with protecting critical national infrastructure’.
A management consultant from June 2015 and training instructor since 2014, he spent seven years at Information Risk Management (IRM) — now part of the multi-national Capgemini Group — where he rose from penetration tester to senior managing consultant overseeing the entire technical department, before becoming global head of technical assurance at Anglo American and eventually setting up North Green Security.
As well as providing training for the uninitiated, North Green Security also has the ability to upskill people already knowledgeable about what they do. For anyone looking to progress their own skills to a higher level recognised by the NCSC, it can do that with tailored, personalised, accredited and technical training.
The team delivers courses almost continually in subjects from advanced application and infrastructure testing to forensics, penetration and wireless security testing — and is able to focus on everything from developing the fundamental skills needed to be a security consultant to a forensic practitioner with the skills needed for security analysis.
Kerry Cannon said: 'We're simply dedicated to empowering individuals and organisations to protect themselves from cyber threats.'
Giving back to the community is also a really important part of the business. North Green Security is a proactive supporter of the forces employment charity, TechVets — which the Cannons have a family connection to. It helps with the transition from service member to veteran and has given away over 17 free training courses to give people the skills they need for a successful career in cyber security.
The business also has links with Cheltenham Science Festival, where this year it had a presence alongside the likes of Northrop Grumman, Sopra Steria, CGI, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Gloucestershire College, YAYA and the University of Gloucestershire.
Kerry Cannon added: ‘The science festival is fantastic. It is a passion project for us. This year we were able to collaborate with Gloucestershire College and YAYA — another company run by security professionals — in an exciting and innovative project that brought industry and academia together.
'Students had a formal project that focussed around IOT technology and how novel approaches could be used to educate the public about the cyber industry. They were mentored by North Green Security and YAYA, with the best projects being showcased at the festival.'
She continued: ‘From day one, we wanted to make sure we put the time into the altruistic things, too — not just about skills and responsibility, but to share knowledge and experience with everyone, especially the next generation. That is why we started working with schools and colleges, like Gloucestershire College.
‘We are always focused on opportunities to collaborate with others, whether that is through our work inspiring the next generation through the Cyber First initiative, working with businesses to educate and assess their security, or with other industry partners such as CyNam, Hub8 and Bsides to support the cyber security community.'
Its relationship with Cheltenham's powerful and incredibly well-connected group of cyber businesses is testament to just how highly respected the business has become in such a short space of time.
For small businesses wanting to learn more about cyber security, North Green Security is hosting 'Guarding the Gates: Cybersecurity insights for small businesses' at The Queens Hotel in Cheltenham on Wednesday 27 September 2023 at 8.30am.
The insightful event features speakers from WITCH; the Cyber Resilience Centre for West Midlands and Detective Superintendent; and Risk Evolves, with talks on cyber resilience, cyber culture, phishing and the security challenges of small businesses.