My name is Jane, I work in cyber security and my business is Whitgift Security. It offers high-quality, affordable IT security services for your business. Whitgift Security can help you find practical solutions to protect your information – and your customers’ information – on your computers and website while not forgetting email and social media. For most of my career I have worked as an employee of FTSE 100 companies, latterly as a Chief Information Security Officer with global accountabilities for IT security risk and implementing programs to improve security. I am an IT professional with over 30 years’ experience and have turned my hand at many roles. Throughout my career I’ve kept my knowledge refreshed and up to date in the IT sector and beyond. Now it is time for something different; I have developed a portfolio of activities building on my passions and expertise. I have created my own business working with SMEs, and I now also have the freedom to spend some time volunteering in social enterprises. For example, I am involved with the Give01day project, which aims to help UK charities become cyber secure and I mentor for Bishop Creighton House.
JW: My passion is helping companies to protect their information online because if it is not secure, companies can incur financial losses and reputational damage that can put them out of business. Many business owners think making their computers or their websites secure is going to be complicated and expensive. The truth is that protecting your business online does not have to cost the earth or mean you need a PhD in computer science. I’ve taken my broad ranging experience and rolled it into a unique affordable offering for SMEs.
JW: Moving from being an employee to being a business owner is a mind-set change. As an employee I was valued as an expert, I could focus on my expertise with work being delivered to me.As a business owner I need to:
- have a broad knowledge of how a business works and keep track of the moving parts. I need to prioritise what’s important that I do myself, and what can be outsourced. At the start I needed to find opportunities to barter skills.
- And at the same time I needed to become a proficient salesperson, becoming my biggest fan and selling my business at every opportunity.
Another challenge is finding prospects. Since leaving full time employment I have become an avid networker. I started by networking in my comfort zone with other security professionals. It took me a while to realise that I was never going to find prospects in this community at which stage I moved out of my comfort zone and started attending business networking events. It’s taken a while to find the best networking events to reach target customers, and as you know the lead time to change a prospect to a paying customer can be a long one.
RB: Who has been the greatest influence on you since starting your venture and why?
JW: My greatest influence has been the business coach Matthew Black. I have attended numerous workshops and courses that Matthew has run where he has provided valuable information in how to get started in running a successful business. For me as a consultant he has also been a great a role model in how to run a consultancy, and how to deliver services including those with a social enterprise element.
RB: What is the vision for your business and where do you see yourself 5 years from now.
JW: My vision is for Whitgift Security to improve online security – thereby decreasing the risk of a security incident – for 100,000 small organisations by 2025. My five-year plan is to grow the business so that I am working with a number of associates or partners providing organisations with flexible security officer services, as well as delivering practical workshops both in person and virtually.