In 1995, I worked for a healthcare company as its head of operations and disaster recovery. I was very aware of the problems caused by back doors and other exploits. My then IT director saw this and thought I had the right mix of skills to hire me to look after security, because I understood where the vulnerabilities in the system were.
What do you like most about your job?
The best thing about my job is that it touches every area of the business. Only three other people in the company have that perspective – the CEO, the COO and the finance director.
Another thing I like is that I never know what to expect each day.
How did your business react to the recent London bombings?
There was heightened security within the company. This is where my job goes beyond just IT security and into risk management. We had plans in place for security incidents, but sometimes you have to chuck out some of those plans and make decisions there and then. The main priority was stabilisation and making sure that everyone was safe.
What annoys you most?
Not much annoys me really. It only gets difficult when people use security as an excuse not to do something. For example, people told me that we couldn't have Wi-Fi in a building because of the security risks and the costs. I said it was possible to secure it and the figures did add up. I won the argument.
Who has influenced you most?
My father. He lived and died by being very up front and open. He'd give back change if he got too much in a shop. I like to be like that.
How do you describe your job to strangers?
I talk about films like The Net with Sandra Bullock where she has her identity stolen, then say that my job is to prevent identity theft.