Director of Cyber Security Joins GCAL

We are pleased to welcome Paula Thomas to our team today.

Paula joins us as Director of Technology and Service Delivery from her role as director of the Institute of Cyber Security & Risk Assessment at the University of Gloucestershire and is tasked with managing the development of our university-accredited learning programmes.

There has been a significant rise in the risk of financial crime, including fraud and cyber-related crimes in recent years and perpetrators are finding increasingly more sophisticated ways of infiltrating businesses and hiding their tracks. Our ongoing mission is to offer professional risk management and support for personal development to firms around the world who are looking to identify, manage and mitigate risks through our risk management services and our certified learning and skills development programmes. Paula brings with her a wealth of experience and will be a huge asset as we expand our areas of risk management expertise and develop new online learning that is required by our clients.

Paula has significant experience as an academic researching subjects connected to money laundering, fraud, compliance and cyber security and is an expert in digital forensic investigation. When she first started her research, cyber-crime was frequently motivated more by mischief than the desire to make money. Today it is much more serious, with criminals setting out to make vast profits using ever more complicated and interlinked systems. It’s hard to put a precise figure on how much businesses lose each year as a result of financial crime as fraud is vastly under reported, sometimes driven by the need to protect a firm’s reputation. However, the figures would be quite frightening.

After years of conducting forensic investigations into cyber-crime for example, Paula notes that the weakest link is often an employee not following due diligence. Malware may be introduced by incorrect password management, infected Facebook adverts or users bringing in their own devices. Fraudsters may target individuals through an unsecured LinkedIn account.

While cyber-crime is an important element of our product and service portfolio, our core risk management activities are in managing risks associated with anti-money laundering, fraud and regulatory compliance issues. Employees are required by law to look out for signs of suspicious activity on accounts and the senior leadership of regulated and unregulated firms are increasingly being held personally accountable for non-compliance with laws and regulations. If they miss signs of criminal activities the consequences can be financially, legally and reputationally devastating.

We are well-placed to help regulated and unregulated finance businesses meet their responsibilities to protect themselves, and others, against financial crime risks. As a full service consultant with a comprehensive portfolio of services and professional support, we have has an enviable reputation for our expertise in financial crime risk management.

We are proud to welcome Paula to the GCAL team and we know that existing clients and new clients will enjoy working with her and benefit enormously from her considerable experience and expertise. This appointment, and the release of exciting new online services that we will announce shortly, demonstrates our continued commitment and investment in supporting the success of those we work with.