Cyber Risk & Security

Graeme McGowan

Graeme spent nearly 40 years in government agencies before taking early retirement in 2008 to work in the private sector.

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Graeme McGowan was appointed Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Information Security in 2021.

He contributes to advances in cyber and physical security systems for corporates, organisations and individuals while holding a number of key directorial positions.

His post-government agency roles include global client director for Vigiles Ltd, during which time he was involved in investigating the biggest paedophile case in the UK; and director for cyber security for global security management firm QuinSec Ltd where he developed technological solutions to counter cyber crime.

Since 2014, he also worked as an independent cyber advisor to global security risks group RiskBusiness where his work included setting new standards for an Asian bank’s cyber policies and procedures. Graeme is currently director for cyber security & risk at Optimal Risk Group whom he joined in January 2014, and was appointed business development manager at Zortrex in September this year.

He brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and in-demand specialist skills to ESA Risk from his long career working for the UK government and from his extensive, long-established and trusted client relationships and connections, both in the UK and overseas.

His specialist cyber and security skills include:

  • running war games and scenario assessments, notably complex threat preparedness tests
  • digital forensics and open-source intelligence
  • infrastructure security
  • applications security testing
  • mobile security
  • wireless security
  • social engineering
  • physical security
  • testing processes and procedures.

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Post the 7/7 London bombings, Graeme was seconded to the Home Office as the first senior government communications officer where he was responsible for developing the code of practice for, and the enactment of, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) Part III.

Pivotal legislation, RIPA enabled law enforcement agencies and public authorities to use appropriate and proportionate legal powers to access encrypted data to identify terrorists, paedophiles and child abusers online. Graeme’s involvement in its delivery cemented his lifelong commitment to protecting children and others at risk online.

Through his government postings, he also took part in extensive horizon scanning exercises, exploring how emerging technologies could pose security risks to government and businesses, and using this knowledge to develop cutting-edge mitigation and protection cyber security and security packages.

In his current role at Optimal Risk Group, Graeme offers support and enhanced protection to a diverse range of UK and international clients. The global operator provides a suite of services, including the provision of personal protection and body guarding for high-net worth individuals.

Through his position at Zortrex, Graeme provides expert advice in the promotion of the Zortrex Token Vault. This sophisticated military-grade encryption system enables clients to securely transfer business or personal data to others without the risks of hackers retrieving the confidential and sensitive data.

Graeme’s wide-ranging career and extensive network of UK and international clients enables him to draw on an enviable list of highly skilled and trusted contacts such as Zortrex, adding significant value to ESA Risk’s suite of client-facing services.

Through Optimal Risk Group, he has extensive experience in acquiring new clients and relationships and a proven track record in fostering existing contacts in both the private and public sector.

Training, education and awareness are critical elements in any package to improve client protection from cyber and security threats and this is another significant area where Graeme can share his expertise to provide ESA Risk clients with trusted solutions.

In September 2017, Graeme co-founded the Global Cyber Academy, a one-stop-shop for executive training and education. As senior tutor and cyber advisor, he works alongside former UK government security and communications specialists to provide accredited and cutting-edge online and workshop security courses for a growing global executive audience.

This work links to his role as an associate and trainer at the London College of Policing where he supports new cyber training, education and awareness for overseas police forces.

As a passionate supporter of victims’ rights, Graeme is also an ambassador and a trusted volunteer for the Cyber Helpline, a free and confidential service that was set up in July 2020.

Designed to help victims of cyber crime understand, contain, recover and learn from online attacks, the not-for-profit helpline links the individuals with volunteer cyber security technology and experts, who will provide relevant advice and guidance after undergoing a robust training program. Recent cases include individuals who have been victims of Covid-19 scams.

Founder of global educational and social networking web resource Languages Arts & Culture, Graeme invests his cyber skills to create a safe online environment for its users. He has developed tools to automatically detect online inappropriate behaviour, grooming, cyber bullying, radicalisation, and criminal activity.

Since April 2016, he has also been an advisor on VigiTrust’s board, providing advice, recommendations and guidance to its directors and managers on all issues related to corporate strategy.

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