In light of the current petya cyber-attack and WannaCry – if organisations want to be part of an early warning system of information security alerts, if they want an opportunity to discuss issues with peers and experts to shorten the time to high quality solutions, if they want to have access to DV CLAS Consultant , then they should join the North West WARP.

The WARP is open to any iNetwork membership organisation to join – whether local authority, NHS Trust, CCG, Housing, Fire & Rescue Service, Police, Third Sector.

It is an active trusted forum for information security professionals which has links to other regional WARPs, NCSC, NHS Digital.

Here’s the perspective of one of the North West WARP’s members …

Please could you tell us who you are, job role and organisation?

“I’m Debbie McCarron and I’m a Senior ICT Consultant at Salford City Council.  I started at the council 11 years ago as an IT Trainer and moved into my current role in 2009.

 

My role includes the non-technical aspects of information security; user awareness, policy writing, compliance (PSN, PCI, ISO 27001, IG Toolkit), ad hoc advice for Data Sharing/Data Processor’s Agreements, tenders, contracts where info sec is relevant, etc.

 

I’m also tasked with continual service improvement, the main area being the way in which our customers interact with us, raise work requests etc. A fair bit of my time is taken up with network accounts; giving advice and approving/rejecting ad hoc requests for access.”

 

What prompted you initially to join the North West WARP?

“I tagged along with a couple of colleagues to an iNetwork GCSx event when I first moved into this role.  I was way out of my depth as it was all very new to me, but didn’t yet have the experience to realise it was new to everyone else there!  I was a bit more clued up when I next attended an event and soon realised this was a great way to share our experiences of the things we were all going through.  So when we were invited to join the WARP, it was a no-brainer…”

 

What are the key benefits to you and your organisation from being a member of the North West WARP?

“The ever-changing landscape of security and compliance can be a real challenge; so being part of a group that you can call upon, and rely on, to help and keep you informed is a great asset.

 

I think the biggest benefit is the collective voice; a single council complaining to a central government department about a particular aspect of their standard would fall on deaf ears, whereas the WARP is heard.  Getting PSN assessors to attend events so we actually got to speak to them face-to-face was a real benefit for me.

 

The WARP is a great go-between; I had a dilemma where I had a question for the Cabinet Office but I didn’t want to divulge how we were currently doing something that could affect our PSN Coco. But Ajike kindly asked the question on my behalf, keeping my identity anonymous.

 

Another true benefit is hearing about upcoming changes and having chance to give input/feedback.”

 

How do you see the WARP developing in the next 2-3 years?

“The WARP seems to be gaining strength and recognition as a route from central government to LAs. I hope this continues”

What would you say to colleagues who are curious about joining the North West WARP?

“I get invited to events every single day but I have no way of knowing if they would be any good, or have an ulterior motive in trying to sell me something.  I delete them all – except from iNetwork and the WARP.  I know their events will be relevant and useful.  I rely on them to keep me informed of what I need to know, and trust them to be an authority of the subject in hand.

 

Those involved with organising the meetings are warm, friendly and approachable. So I would say, come join us – you’re very welcome, and it will be worth your while :)”

 

For more information about the WARP and benefits for your organisation, please follow the link: http://i-network.org.uk/services/warp/

If you would like to schedule a telephone call to find out how you get join, please contact Ajike Alli-Ameh at ajike.alli-ameh@tameside.gov.uk