North East Connected

Charity swaps high tea for IT

signacure sfl2A team of northeast information security risk specialists have ensured that data stored by a children’s charity has a new clean bill of health after they carried out free vital checks on their computer systems.

David Lloyd from Signacure Resilience’s offices in Whitley Bay and his colleague Dr Christopher Laing decided to help Gosforth based charity, Smile For Life after hearing that their website had been hacked and that potentially important data could be lost.

Smile For Life Children’s Charity provides support to help improve the lives of seriously ill, disabled and disadvantaged children In the North East of England. They help to make the lives of children easier by supplying specialist equipment, activities and experiences to help them achieve their dreams. They have a coffee shop in Gosforth that gives young people with learning difficulties and disabilities real life work experience and new skills to help them move into the world of supported employment.

Chief Executive of the charity, Paula Gascoigne said “ We believe our website was hacked recently leaving us with pages of information that had to be rebuilt. We also lost some general photographs that caused a considerable amount of work to correct. Knowing that someone had accessed our site highlighted the potential risks only too well.”

In the last year, organisations have reported a 40% year on year increase in system

security breaches from 3rd party sources intent on committing fraud and theft. These intrusions largely remain un-detected by traditional IT virus control methods as the threats become more sophisticated and organisations embrace an outsourced IT approach.

David specialises in advising management teams in information security while Christopher who has just joined the company from his role within the European Security Agency uses his technical expertise to scan networks and rigorously test systems.

“What we’ve done for Smile For Life is checked that their PC’s are protected from outside attacks and ensured that the website is as secure as possible, “ said David. “Its basically a free health check that will give them and the families they help peace of mind. Smile For Life were lucky in so much as they realised that their website had been compromised. Many organisations don’t check their sites and damage could be done that has a devastating long-term effect on their business. It’s also interesting to note that the causes of cyber vulnerabilities often come from within the business and that non-IT members of the organisation have a key role to play in keeping the organisation safe.

“Our simple, free check could save a business everything from embarrassment to millions of pounds of lost revenue.”

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