A real life M visited PwC recently. That’s all I can say really!
But there were a few things I was authorised to mention just to my readers here.
There were a lot of questions about technology and talk about the current geopolitical environment.
What I noticed were some familiar themes from this seasoned security professional, that struck both a leadership and fraud prevention chord with me.
Sir John spoke about training and knowing your people as key factors that underpin an organisation (or country)’s security. Quite basic things that you only notice you’ve overlooked them when something goes wrong.
He talked about focussing your security efforts on working out what is really valuable to your organisation, and then concentrating on protecting those assets.
Finally, he emphasised that security at an organisation begins with the leadership – it must be a strategic leadership responsibility – unless security of intellectual assets is taken seriously from the top – then it won’t receive the attention it needs.
Sir John Scarlett was asked about North Korea and its cyber attacks. Technology has been a great leveler for espionage, he said, and I know this to be the case for fraud too: small players in faraway places are just as likely to be a threat to your company as the local crooks.
He had some other messages about Russia, China, US, sharing of information between countries and 9/11, but in case that’s top secret I better save that for another day.
Sir John Scarlett, the former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) spoke at a breakfast function at PwC recently. M is the fictional head of MI6 from Ian Fleming’s James Bond. In the movie Skyfall, M is revealed to be short for Emma. Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Mallory takes over from M played by Dame Judi Dench at the end of the film, assumes the moniker M and reappears in Spectre.