Civic Duties

Comms Business Magazine talks to Michael J Thornton who is combining his role as Managing Director of south coast based KSM Telecom with being the Chairman of the Cyber Crime Steering Group at Shaping Portsmouth

Channel veteran Michael J Thornton has been heading up reseller KSM Telecom for a number of years now, but it was his recent appointment to lead the Portsmouth Cyber Crime Group that piqued our interest.

This group is a part of the Shaping Portsmouth initiative which delivers both a strategic and operational partnership between Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth businesses, and educational institutions at all levels in the City.

Thornton says, “Our overall aim is to run valuable and relevant programmes that support the needs of the City, and the objectives of our partners. There are 12 such programmes and the Cyber Crime group was launched earlier this year.

As Cyber Crime presents an ever-increasing threat to business Shaping Portsmouth decided to hold a seminar on the topic where the police gave a presentation to group of businesses.

The reaction to what was being revealed as potential threats from the audience was one of absolute horror. We decided to develop a prevention and defence strategy, formed the Cyber Crime Group, consisting of 15 members of our business community which I was asked to Chair.

Our first aim is to put Cyber Security in context for businesses with the next steps being to deliver services and offer advice. This is no small task as there are over 9000 SMBs alone in our area so we are launching Facebook, You Tube and Webinar channels to deliver weekly briefings which is a great concept.

For larger organisations we have organised conferences and for Enterprise sized business we will do boardroom presentations.

We have a very large and vibrant education sector in Portsmouth with 64 individual educational establishments and for each of this we are carrying out a road trip that will see members of our group individually visit each before the end of the year. For schools we’ll explaining the dangers in appropriate age-related form.”

Thornton says it’s a huge honour to get involved in this project and to lead the group tackling Cyber Crime in the Portsmouth area.

“I’ve been in business for many a year and it’s great to be giving something back to the community based upon the experience I’ve gained in that time by helping all these organisations review the threats to business as well as to show what we can do to help educate, prevent, communicate and improve the safety of our vital business assets.”

As for the day job? Well KSM is doing well; the company was recently recognised by Daisy Group as being one of their top three fastest growing hosted telephony channel partners and rewarded with a sailing experience day with Olympic hero Sir Ben Ainsley.

“Much of our focus is placed on hosted telephony, ISDN replacement, Office 365 and connectivity – we have City Fibre now present in Portsmouth

At the same time, we continue to do our own bit in the community where a recent project saw us provide the connectivity and wiring for safe spaces for vulnerable people to work as part of the local St. Luke’s Church charity.”

Ed Says…

It’s easy for us hardened channel types to be cynical about any subject under the sun but there is a genuine enthusiasm and sense of excitement that comes from Michael J Thornton when he’s talking about the work he is doing for Shaping Portsmouth and their Cyber Crime Group.

There’s a lot of thought and time and effort going into these projects and I’m hoping to report back from one of the enterprise boardroom presentations by the end of the year to see how businesses are reacting to the programme Thornton has put in place for them.

As a post script, Michael’s work with Portsmouth Ambassadors and in being the Chair of the Cyber Crime steering group has been rewarded with a Directorship appointment onto the board of Shaping Portsmouth CIC.

Michael’s focus, drive and commitment to Shaping Portsmouth and in working closely with Stef Nienaltowski, the Director of Shaping Portsmouth, is his way of thanking the City for all it has given him and his business over the last two years.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine