20th years ago on 1st September 1995 I decided to set up a PR consultancy run from my tiny dining room table in Barnet. I wrote to everyone I’d ever worked with, because emailing hadn’t yet taken off. My first enquiry came from an ex-colleague at News International and friend Andrea Hornor, who had just started working for Reed Exhibitions and been given this new show to sell called Infosecurity. She said the agency they’d begun using called Lewis just didn’t get it! When she told me what “it” was I told her I probably wouldn’t get “it” either! “What the hell is anti-virus and what does a firewall really mean – it was a WHOLE new world – could I really get it!”. So we worked together to launch the first show in 1996 with just 30 or so exhibitors. It was great fun because there were lots of spy’s who attended from MI5 and CESG called Mr. Green and Mr. White.I gathered lots of frightening facts on IT security and made the front page of the FT. That’s when I realised the world of IT security was a lot more fun than I’d realised. It didn’t have street cred but it was easy to frighten people with lots of scary stories – which I’ve always loved doing! We worked on that show for 17 years and built it into Europe’s largest IT security event.
It’s also how we became the only PR agency in Europe to specialise in IT security and now have a base here in London, with teams in Paris, Munich and San Francisco. We also run www.itsecurityguru.org which has 20,000 subscribers, the IT security analyst & CISO Forum which occurs once a year to a small elite number of vendors, and run the CISO lunch club which happens once a month. Not only do we now look after 21 of the world’s top IT security brands, but we have taken many to IPO, including Imperva and Varonis, and others to acquisition, such as Voltage to HP, OpenDNS and Cisco! We’re frequently asked to pitch for work in other sectors but to be honest IT security has become the coolest industry to work in and we all love it with a passion. Who would have thought 20 years later it would be the subject on everyone’s lips and on the pages of every national paper every single day!