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A trusted partner in the online world

As our reliance on technology continues to increase, so too does the need for robust digital security. And one company ensuring organisations have such is managed services firm ITPS. Here, Steven Hugill speaks to chief executive Simon Newton and head of cybersecurity Simon Hopkin, to learn more about how it helps strengthen operators’ defences and the white paper it has published to further combat criminals.

In business as in life, it pays to be prepared. 

Volatile financial markets; supply chain strains; skills shortages; shifting consumer demands – each and all fundamental growth hurdles, which, if attempted passively, quickly become insurmountable obstacles. 

And in a world where statistics show 60 per cent of small businesses fold within half a year of being caught in online hackers’ crosshairs, so too is cybersecurity. 

Relief then for ITPS. 

A trusted managed services partner for more than two decades, the firm is an expert digital armourer, strengthening clients’ technological advances while simultaneously bolstering shields to deflect criminals’ strikes. 

“Cybersecurity is both a massive threat to a client’s business and increasingly difficult to understand,” says chief executive Simon Newton of ITPS, which operates from a base on Chester-le-Street’s Drum Industrial Estate 

He says: “Our customers trust us to manage it on their behalf, so they can concentrate on what they’re trying to achieve. 

“And we punch above our weight. 

“Our very broad set of capabilities would fit much larger companies, and we bring them to bear for small and medium-sized businesses, providing support that always acts in their best interests,” adds Simon of the firm, which delivers services including cloud, cybersecurity and data and analytics assistance to public, private and not-for-profit organisations. 

Intrinsic to the business’ model is its personable approach, which is showcased through GAP Assessments that analyse clients’ processes and translate often complex terminology into everyday vocabulary. 

Simon Hopkin, head of cybersecurity, says: “Our cyber and risk assessment reports are a starting point for conversations about risk, using industry best practice to assess existing platforms. 

“And rather than being a hard sell, we work with in-house IT teams to highlight a number of things, from potential online threats to achieving accreditation like Cyber Essentials.  

“If a client wants to pursue the latter, for example, we would advise on the procedure and the complexity of costs, and then create an interim report that would show board members the actions needed to achieve certification.” 


Simon Newton, ITPS chief executive, above, left, with Simon Hopkin, the firm's head of cybersecurity
  • Simon Newton, ITPS chief executive, above, left, with Simon Hopkin, the firm’s head of cybersecurity


Furthermore, says Simon Newton, those discussions help place firms and their IT networks in a broader marketplace – where household names including the BBC, British Airways, Boots and the British Library, for example, have all fallen victim to dark web attacks in recent months – helping remove misconceptions around hackers’ preferred targets. 

He says: “Online criminals are completely indiscriminate; they will gladly hack a multinational, a junior school or a florist – it purely comes down to what they can access.” 

Simon Hopkin adds: “Attackers look for low hanging fruit, and if they identify a system vulnerability, they will try to exploit it. 

“No matter a business’ size, each and all must implement the same cybersecurity measures.” 

To that end, ITPS – which counts clients NECS, Mental Health Matters, Hay & Kilner LLP, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service and New College Durham among its suite of UK customers – has created a white paper that lays out the value of a robust strategy. 

Highlighting the operational, economic and reputational benefits, the blueprint also spotlights the need to absorb technological advances, such as AI and machine learning, a closer awareness of regulatory change and greater cloud security into digital defences. 

Simon Newton says: “When a business is hacked, it creates a real sense of violation and shock, not just for that organisation but for the people whose data has been accessed. 

“If you live in a high-crime neighbourhood, you would, naturally, spend more on burglar alarms and locks than if you live in a low-crime area.  

“But we all live in a high-crime neighbourhood now, given technology is such a major part of our lives, so the unfortunate reality is organisations should be spending more on locks and alarms when it comes to cybersecurity. 

“And doing so not only increases safety, but can help create a competitive advantage too – making a virtue out of a necessity.  

“By taking such ownership, operators are able to present themselves as brilliantly well protected, which really resonates with customers, partners and the supply chain.” 

Simon Hopkin agrees, highlighting the importance of policy frameworks in rebuilding from a breach. 

He says: “Often, one of the biggest lessons learned following a data attack is that there wasn’t a cyber incident response plan in place, because the organisation didn’t think it would happen. 

“Another is cost, with greater cybersecurity measures seen by some as a never-ending list of widgets, systems and platforms. 

“But it isn’t like that, and the cost of implementing measures before an attack is always cheaper than doing so afterwards, given the subsequent loss of time and reputation, emotional stress and insurance claims.” 

He adds: “And that’s where our support comes in. 

“We work closely with clients, collaborating intimately to lay the groundwork for online safety.  

“Our goal is to make sure they are well protected, and not vulnerable to easy targeting.  

“Conversely, in the event of a security breach, we provide support, addressing both the technical aspects and providing the emotional reassurance necessary to navigate and recover from the incident.  

“We are a trusted advisor in an ever-changing cyber world, a valuable support mechanism that matches moves in the landscape and allows clients to meet their goals and be successful.” 

Read ITPS’s new whitepaper here

March 6, 2024

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