In my mind, the acronym CSAW (as read) creates images of innocent children playing blissfully in a park . . . but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Cyber Security and Cyber threats are a very real, tangible and scary place when you delve into the depths of the criminal’s world.

CSAW (Cyber Security Awareness Week) is the brainchild of Dave Thomas at Bluegrass. He, kindly, asked me to be involved from an early stage to see if there was a way to educate and protect businesses as far as reasonably practicable in the unfortunate event that they are attacked in any way. CSAW was born! A series of free seminars, workshops and clinics over the course of a week enabled a raft of local businesses and global organisations to discuss openly the issues and various scenarios that lurk morbidly in the shadows of our systems on a constant basis. It was an excellent forum!!

Prior to the week, I had spent a few months researching the features and benefits of what Cyber Liability & Commercial Crime Insurance could do to help our clients and prospects alike . . . thinking I had all the bases covered – How blind was I???

The issues I had come across during my research merely scratched the surface. I sat listening intently to all 17 of the other speakers over the week and learned a new morsel of information or a new ‘nugget of gold’ in each, and every, one of them.

As I alluded to in my presentation, the new ‘brand’ of criminal is here . . . watching us as we speak. They infiltrate and monitor our systems and wait for the right time to pounce. The problem is that we can’t see them, they are not wearing balaclavas, they are not going to smash any windows. They will extort money and/or data (which can be sold for money) anonymously whilst we naively go about our business. There could be someone watching my key strokes as I type . . . scary stuff!!

As a business community, Exeter is thriving with many national organisations choosing the area as a hub of commercial activity. We can be a little insular about our community but it is vital that we get our own house in order – This is what CSAW is/was for.

I am extremely confident that Exeter can continue to thrive if we can learn and adapt to best minimise and threats that could befall us. In turn, I feel grateful and privileged to have been involved with the UK’s first ever Cyber Security Awareness Week and would be delighted to be involved again in the future.

Personally, I urge both businesses and individuals to ask any one of the CSAW team for advice if they have anything troubling them with regards to their own cyber security, visit the free (and impartial) website that has been created ( where you will find a whole host of handy tips and, until the next time, Stay Safe!!