Cybersecurity Awareness & Compliance Training – That’s Bob’s Business

Melanie Oldham Founder and CEO of her UK Yorkshire-based firm Bob’s Business got a boost as a result of success in a high-profile competition inspired by the Duke of York, who is chancellor of the University of Huddersfield.

Bob’s Business is a company specialising in cyber security awareness that helps organisations become more secure and compliant in cyber security and GDPR using eLearning has won a UK Royal Competition. 

An estimated 500,000 people have now taken the online courses offered by Bob’s Business, which currently has 36 modules available online teaching employees how to keep information systems secure and to be on guard against the whole gamut of threats, including phishing attacks.

The business has 36 training courses which use a combination of engaging course content, infographics and animation to equip employees with essential cyber security knowledge with subjects from how to detect phishing emails to GDPR compliance training.

At the closing session, The Duke announced that the three top pitches were from Huddersfield-based Bob’s Business, which provides cyber security training; Memento, which has developed a process for creating 4D virtual reality images by stitching together pictures from smartphones; and Spatialize, which has developed a ring, worn on the finger, that allows interaction with augmented reality technology.

The university was the venue for the latest round of the duke’s Pitch@Palace events. A wide range of high-calibre businesses made their pitch for support, with the most successful ventures moving on to the next phase of the contest which will culminate in a final at the palace.

Melanie Oldham is founder and chief executive of Bob’s Business, which doubled its sales and staffing levels for the past three years and now has 29 full-time members of staff.

Clients for its animated cyber security training modules ranges from SMEs to the likes of retailers like JD Williams and the Co-op Group as well as Government agencies.

Despite the success of the business, which was formed in 2007 and began employing full-time staff in 2012, Melanie said she was still alert to opportunities that could provide an extra fillip.

Melanie, who delivered a three-minute presentation to the Pitch@Palace judges, said: “We have managed to grow very organically so we did not get to the next stage of Pitch@Palace because we were asking for money,” said Melanie. “They all said on the judging panel that they felt they could help grow the business.”

Melanie, who worked for the Huddersfield-based Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce before launching her cyber security enterprise, found out about the Huddersfield round of Pitch@Palace by a circular at the university’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre.

So who is Bob? He is a symbolic “everyman” figure who pops up in the company’s animations.

“Everybody can relate to him because everybody goes through the pain that Bob goes through. They understand it and face the same risks, regardless of what type of industry they are in,” said Melanie, adding that the figure of Bob is based on one of the first security professionals she worked with.

Melanie’s background was in hospitality and tourism, but when she moved into project management she was asked by her boss to take charge of an information security project, introducing her to the topic that would be the basis of her own business.
About 90% of security breaches are down to human error. Melanie said Bob’s Business tried to minimise the risk by reinforcing precautionary behaviour, but putting over the message in an entertaining way without instilling a fear factor.

The significance of cyber security has burgeoned massively since she started out in 2007, with more and more competitors entering the field.

One of the ways that Melanie aims to stay ahead of the curve is by commissioning research, including a planned project with the University of Huddersfield that will look at the criminal psychology behind phishing.

West Yorksire Lieutenancy:     Huddersfield Examiner

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