Who we are

Chris Baars, Principal Consultant

Chris is a passionate Cyber Security, Incident Management and Exercising professional, with extensive experience leading teams in public and private sectors including large enterprise corporations, advising on and managing incidents.

Prior to joining Beyond Blue, he created and headed up A.P Moller Maersk’s Cyber Security Operational Readiness and Exercising Department, primarily focussing on the improvement and efficiency of Cyber Incident Response and Management. Chris created this department as part of Maersk’s cyber security programme after the 2017 NotPetya attack.

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Chris has experience in the design and delivery of scenario based exercises focussing on business impact delivered to SVPs and board members.  Chris has directed and scoped Red teaming engagements including both Pen tests and Attack simulations.

While at Maersk, Chris graduated from “Leading Maersk” – Maersk’s future executive leaders’ programme and was a regular recipient of “Maersk Star Awards” for outstanding achievement.

Chris has a long background in emergency management from his days working for both Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Kenyon International Emergency Services.  He continues to support Kenyon International as an Incident Manager responding to disasters around globe.

Key Facts

  • Experienced in critical incident and crisis management
  • Multi-faceted exercise building and facilitation
  • Certified Member of the Institute of Strategic Risk Management

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Jodie Nevin, Senior Consultant

Jodie is a driven cyber security professional with extensive experience in the public and private sector, passionate about making a difference.

Before joining Beyond Blue, her previous posts included Information Security Training Consultant with BUPA where she delivered the training programmes to influence positive secure behaviour in employees; Cyber Protect Officer in the Cyber Crime Unit at Derbyshire Constabulary working proactively with organisations and the public to be more cyber resilient; and HOLMES Supervisor in the Major Crime Unit at Nottinghamshire Police investigating homicides where she received a Chief Constable’s Commendation for her personal responsibility in a major incident.

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Jodie has extensive knowledge around cyber protection.  She created and delivered the Information Security training strategy for BGUK to develop employees’ skills and confidence in dealing with the key threats. She provided support to victims of Cyber Dependent crimes offering solutions such as security assessments and proposed guidance to mitigate and increase cyber security.  She was a key player in the start-up of the East Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre; a not-for-profit organisation with Policing, Academia, the private sector and SME’s and was vital in stakeholder engagement and management.

Jodie possesses knowledge of the cyber security and fraud landscape, emerging techniques and the threat Cyber Crime poses, with certifications in CISMP, Neurodiversity, Level 3 Teacher Training (PTTLS) and Springboard (Women’s Business & Persona Development).

Key Facts

  • Experienced in cyber protection

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Wasim Akhtar, Senior Technical Consultant

Wasim is a focussed IT professional with a distinguished career profile.

With over 20 years of technical experience, Wasim has proven ability in defining strategies for technical challenges and delivering solutions in a secure, on budget and timely fashion. He has a natural aptitude for optimisation activities and risk reduction analysis. Experienced in extracting service metrics to feed continuous improvement and innovation operations. ​

Wasim is confident executing projects & championing security in challenging business environments that demand high standards of compliance, quality and precision..​

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Wasim has extensive technical experience leading teams and delivering resilient, secure IT architectures across diverse landscapes and business sectors. ​

Whilst working for Paradigm Precision he spearheaded the direct operational delivery and vision of IT architecture across the International Sites located in the UK, Poland and Tunisia.  He also provided executive system design leadership to a new expansion aerospace facility build. Developed strategic and operational vision and orchestrated the project on time and under budget satisfying stakeholders across the world and ensuring the site was primed for growth. ​Wasim virtualised the entire environment including the critical legacy infrastructure, applications & services. Deploying HP/Microsoft/VMware & cloud services/products to achieve goals of improving uptime, redundancy, stability and security.​  He has led on projects involving DoD & MoD data, adhering to security frameworks such as NIST & CAF in secure environments such as AWS GovCloud.

Key Facts

  • Over 20 years of technical experience in defining strategies and delivering secure solutions.
  • Specialises in Virtualisation, Networking and Cloud technologies

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Sam Hewson, Senior Consultant

Sam is an ambitious and proactive Cyber Security professional with experience in the financial sector.

Sam previously held the position of Security Product and Delivery Manager for one of the UK’s leading retail banks where he led on a number of key deliveries and enhancements in the Security Engineering space within the Chief Security Office.

He successfully delivered against key milestones to enable the utilisation of cloud security products with Microsoft Azure and key endpoint security product offerings from Crowdstrike and Cofense.

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  • Delivered a Cyber Recovery Vault to meet a key US Federal Government mandate milestone of giving the bank a completely isolated secure recovery solution in the event of a critical outbreak of malware and ransomware.
  • Successfully delivered Microsoft Defender for Endpoint for over 100,000 endpoints giving the bank an OS native security tool. This improved device user experience, reduced the number of vendors in the bank’s portfolio which allowed significant cost savings whilst also maintaining a strong Endpoint Security posture.
  • Implemented CrowdStrike & ObserveIT for high risk users across the bank’s estate for a more intrusive security posture to enhance DLP controls and anti-malware/ ransomware controls.
  • Coordinated disaster recovery scenarios for multiple different environments across the organisation’s estate.
  • Owned and drove a number of strategies from a product management perspective across the Security Engineering domain including Endpoint Security, Physical Security Technology & Network Defence Strategy.

Key Facts:

  • Experience in financial services

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Leah Hale, Consultant

Leah is highly motivated with a passion for success.

She recently finished her MSc in Cyber Security at Sheffield Hallam University with her dissertation “An investigation into the rise in ransomware cyber-attacks, with the aims of identifying the cyber security vulnerabilities within UK organisations”.  Leah’s hard work ethic was recognised at university when she was awarded the British Computer Society Professional Membership Prize for Progress.

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In addition, Leah underwent training by BSI on Information Security Management Systems Auditor/Lead Auditor, gaining an understanding of ISO 27001, ISO 27002 and ISO 19011. Working closely with an organisation to provide an ISM through auditing and analysing pre-existing documentation through consultation.

Whilst at university Leah worked for Alloga UK where she worked within the IT team helping both the development and service desk teams in their duties.

Key Facts

  • MSc in Cyber Security

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Nicholas Currie, Consultant

Nicholas is talented, hard-working, self-motivated, and skilled in high-level, abstract reasoning.

He recently completed his PhD in Philosophy at UCL. His thesis “A New Interpretation of Kant’s Formal Logic” focused on the relation between thought and algorithmic rule-following in the work of Immanuel Kant. He has presented his research findings at numerous prestigious national and international conferences

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Nicholas led the development of a new initiative connecting Kant scholars across various London universities and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge through conferences and workshops.

Nicholas excelled as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the philosophy departments at UCL and Kings College London over a 4-year period and was awarded the KCL Graduate Teaching award in 2020.

Key Facts

  • PhD in Philosophy

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John Hermans, Senior Advisor

John has worked on over 150 national and international cyber security projects in the last xx years across a variety of industry sectors, such as financial services, energy, telecommunications, retail and government, and is considered as one of the leaders in his field of expertise.

John has helped clients develop, define, and implement cyber security strategies, building the required business cases for Executive and Supervisory Boards. He has led projects in governance, risk and compliance and risk management and quantification.

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In addition to cyber security, John has delivered and advised on a range of cloud computing initiatives in both the private and public sector with a focus on advising and supporting clients in developing, defining and implementing their cloud computing strategy as well as advising on cloud security and assurance.

Prior to joining Beyond Blue as a senior advisor, John was a senior partner in KPMG Netherlands and a member of their global cyber security leadership team.

Key Facts

  • Experience in delivering cloud computing and cyber security programmes with over 150 cyber security projects under his belt
  • Worked for clients across Europe and one of the leaders in his field

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Janette Farquhar, Operations Manager

Janette previously spent 17 years in local government, undertaking roles from event organising to performance management and quality assurance.

Her most recent role was the strategic lead for the effective management of complaints across the local authority as well as the Health & Social Care Partnership. She also has prior experience as an office manager for a graphic design company as well as running her own outside catering business.

Key Facts

  • Strategic lead and managerial experience in local authority

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