Boards need to treat cyber crime like health and safety

Rob Cotton, chief executive of NCC Group
Rob Cotton, chief executive of NCC Group
Have your say

THE head of a global cyber security firm has warned that hacking is a board’s responsibility which needs to be treated with the same ‘vigor’ as health and safety.

Rob Cotton, chief executive of NCC Group, which has a £1m operations centre in Leeds, said a lack of understanding and knowledge was no longer an excuse for board members to take a back seat when it came to addressing cyber crime, which he believes is the single biggest threat to corporates and individuals around the world.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post as the company posted its half-year results, Mr Cotton said: “Most board members know about health and safety but they think cyber security is complex and therefore do absolutely nothing about it and contract it out to an IT manager.

“The risk of a cyber attack is higher than ever so for a board to say someone else can manage the risk is no longer acceptable. Thing need to fundamentally change otherwise the world becomes a much scarier place to do business in.”

The Manchester-based firm saw revenue rise by 50 per cent to £93.5m in the six months to 30 November 2015, compared to £62.3m in 2014, following the acquisitions of Accumuli and Fox-IT. Like-for-like revenue grew by 17 per cent.

Adjusted pre-tax profit increased 24 per cent to £14.9m, up from £12.1m in 2014.

The acquisition of Accumuli, which had a business in Wetherby and an office in Leeds, accelerated NCC’s move into Yorkshire. The group closed down the existing premises and created a new security operations centre at Thorpe Park.

“This was an area we were looking into already with NCC but the acquisition accelerated our move,” said Mr Cotton. “We decided to put the two businesses together and create a best in class technology centre.”

The Leeds centre provides around-the-clock cyber security monitoring and defence to NCC group’s UK clients, which include internet giants, banks, financial services companies, and automotive companies.

Mr Cotton said the centre, which employs 40 people, was an ‘important stepping stone’ to increasing the group’s headcount.

It plans to recruit up to 20 new staff in Leeds in 2016. NCC Group is now in the FTSE 250. It has 32 offices, with over 1,800 employees.