Meet our colleagues – Pete Higson, Head of Systems and Security

We’ve been introducing you to some of our colleagues at Chase de Vere. We tell you a bit about their background, what they do and how their work helps us to provide you with a better overall service. This month we would like to introduce you to Pete Higson, who is our Head of Systems and Security and is based in our Manchester office.

Pete’s role

Pete and his team are responsible for ensuring that we have robust controls in place, so that all of the information within Chase de Vere is held in the most secure way. This includes information held on company laptops, mobile phones, emails and access services.

His professional background

Pete built his first computer at the age of nine.

He completed a degree in Computer Science from the University of Salford and joined Chase de Vere’s IT ServiceDesk in November 2003. He worked his way up in the IT team and has been involved in many company IT projects.

In 2015, Pete was promoted to be our Technical and Business Analysis Manager, where he managed internal systems projects, such as launching new IT software. This role evolved and he has been responsible for company security since 2018.

Pete has passed many professional qualifications including, most recently, ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager. This is a prestigious accreditation which indicates expertise in information security governance, program development and management, and risk management. To achieve this, Pete attended a 7-day course, undertook 200 hours of study and sat a 4.5 hour examination. There are only about 48,000 IT professionals worldwide who have achieved CISM.

A few of his other qualifications include Agile Project Management Foundation, Projects in Controlled Environments Practitioner, and BCS (British Computing Society) Specialist Certificate in Supplier Management.

How Pete and his team help our clients

Pete’s team is responsible for ensuring that all data and information relating to our clients is held securely and is strongly protected.

They also make sure that all of our IT systems are working properly at all times, so that our Independent Financial Advisers, and everybody in the company who supports them, can continue to do their jobs effectively. This was particularly beneficial during the pandemic and meant that, while many other companies were struggling to operate effectively, we continued to provide a high-quality service for our clients even when our employees were working from home.

Pete’s work includes keeping up-to-date with, and constantly adapting to, the external landscape, as the types of threats faced by businesses are always changing. Pete says, “The threats of yesterday, particularly the online threats, won’t be the same as the threats of tomorrow.”

Pete and his team work closely with our Legal & Regulatory team, to ensure that all Chase de Vere employees receive regular training on any risks to our data security. This includes the risks from phishing, where fraudsters try to trick people into disclosing sensitive or confidential information. Phishing is a big risk to our industry and so, even though we have robust policies in place, all of our employees undergo regular training on phishing, to ensure they are aware of the risks and can spot any warning signs. This includes us using third party experts to attempt phishing with our employees when they’re not expecting it, to make sure they’re reacting in the right way.

We’ve also found that by increasing awareness amongst our employees, we’re more able to recognise and help, if we’re contacted by a client who may have been compromised by phishing themselves.

We also utilise external experts to run security checks on our IT systems. This involves testing the systems to make sure that we have secure processes in place, such as using the right software and ensuring that the passwords we use throughout our business cannot be easily hacked. We also conduct extensive due diligence of any service providers that we use.

Cyber Essentials

Chase de Vere first attained the “Cyber Essentials” certification in 2015. This assessment is completed annually by IASME on behalf of the National Cyber Security Centre.

Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme which demonstrates that the organisation has taken concrete steps to protect itself and its customers against a wide range of cyber-attacks. This accreditation should hopefully provide you with added reassurance of how seriously we take the risks of cyber-attacks and that we invest in our systems and controls to ensure that your data and information is robustly protected.

Outside of work

Pete goes running every Saturday and likes cooking and reading sci-fi.

He has a 10-year-old son, called Jack, and Pete enjoys taking him swimming and playing computer games with him.

Pete says:

“The role of my team is to ensure that we are a resilient organisation and that our services are always available for our clients and our employees, while ensuring that we negate any threats to the security of the data and information that we hold. This is all incredibly important and so we invest very heavily in all of these areas and ensure we are all constantly trained and updated to counter the changing landscape.”

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