The North East technology and digital sector is thriving. We have a vibrant, growing community that looks set to get bigger and better in coming years.
Since joining Muckle from Sage earlier this year, I have been immersed in this exciting community including supporting the #ThisIsMINE campaign, as well as speaking at some of the IT industry’s major conferences. It’s no surprise that, according to recent research, tech workers in the North East now earn the most outside of London* – we’re so tech strong here and we need to embrace that.
With this growing sector there is a real need for businesses to be able to access expert advice and guidance when it comes to ensuring they are operating effectively and safely in their digital activity.
Cyber security is a huge issue for our region. Newcastle tops the league table** for data security incidents with 93 per cent of businesses with more than 200 employees in Newcastle and the surrounding area having lost important data.
At the recent National Information Security Conference in Glasgow, I was invited to talk around this issue and how many businesses could be overlooking what should be set out in their contracts when it comes to cybersecurity. Contracts should be used as a tool to map out the steps to be taken to keep data safe and, if the worst does happen, the response to a breach in terms of notification and also liability.
The new General Data Protection Regulation, which organisations must comply with by 2018, was also on the agenda. This is an important issue which will go beyond the technology sector and will affect every business in the region to differing degrees. Some may think it’s not relevant to them due to Brexit but this is incorrect and organisations need to be taking action now.
I’ve already done two webinars on the regulations with cyber security solutions provider Sapphire and encourage businesses to seek advice on the things they can be doing now to prepare for the changes.
There’s a common misconception that regional businesses have to look to London for an IT lawyer but here at Muckle we offer a range of services. I have been hands-on in the industry for seven years so I understand the pain points and have seen how different types of businesses overcome them. My in-house role at Sage was very much a holistic one, where, as well as providing legal and contractual IT services, I also worked alongside the operations teams on devising and implementing strategies.
I have seen first-hand the adoption of cloud technology for both the provider and the supplier. I advised on many of the enterprise contracts when Sage procured technology for its internal use as well as working on the customer base solutions. This involved working with some of the leading data centres and cloud providers but also small, independent businesses.
One of reasons I decided to join Muckle was to start working with the vibrant SMEs and start-up businesses we have in the North East. At Muckle, we offer expert advice on a range of IT issues from cloud-based agreements and ramifications in terms of data protection, to app development and how to monetise an idea. We offer practical advice on data security and we can help people build their security net to ensure that they are covering themselves on all appropriate bases.