Manchester-based cybersecurity firm Secarma has appointed an influential ex-military cybersecurity expert as its technical director as part of its effort to bolster its cloud security division.    

Holly Williams will take up the board-level role and will lead the technical development and direction of Secarma’s 40-strong team of penetration testers and senior management.

Williams previously served for five years as a site security officer with the British armed forces, overseeing the installation, maintenance and decommissioning of secure communications systems, including a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan.

Since leaving the military and completing an MSc in Information Security and Privacy, she has worked in penetration testing for six years, supporting clients including global, blue-chip business, SMEs and the public sector.

Backed by technology entrepreneurs Lawrence and Gail Jones, the firm specialises in testing the strength of business cybersecurity defences through ‘penetration testing’, as well as offering cloud security, and Cyber Essentials certification.

→ SIGN UP: Williams to speak at UNLOCKED conference in Manchester (17th July) and London (24th July)

The firm continues to foster a close partnership with British hosting giant UKFast, also owned by Lawrence Jones, addressing the overlapping needs of their respective customer bases.

Williams said it was an exciting time to take up the role.

“We are growing significantly and developing our product portfolio, collaborating with UKFast to support their customers,” she said.

“Criminals don’t clock off at 5pm, so we’re developing services that support our clients around the clock.

“Cloud security is a major focus – especially for businesses operating multi-cloud or hybrid IT architectures. Our specialist penetration testers are experts across the major cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure and eCloud.

“For organisations adopting a multi-cloud approach it's an amazing resource to be able to tap into those skillsets and provide a level of assurance over their platform security.”

Williams is growing female presence in the cybersecurity industry – she is a regular public speaker, social media commentator and host of the firm’s ‘Hacked Off’ podcast.

“Secarma is really strong when it comes to educating the market,” she added.

“We’re out at events helping people understand security whilst engaging with the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. We are always on the lookout for talent.

“Secarma also has a reputation for extensive research and disclosing vulnerabilities to vendors and manufacturers to protect consumers. I want to focus on growing the important work we've already done in that space.”

The firm is headquartered at UKFast Campus in Manchester, with satellite teams based in Glasgow and London. Secarma holds a 13.3 per cent stake in Shearwater Group PLC following the completion of a £7.4m deal in April 2019.

Jones added: “Within UKFast, we’re developing our Security Operations Centre, our Threat Monitoring service and our global DDoS protection network, DDoSX.

“These products sit incredibly well alongside Secarma’s cloud security division. Holly has made an incredible impact since joining Secarma and is perfectly placed to take on this role and help us take the business to new heights.”