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Introduction and the journey so far....

BladeSec IA was formed in 2012 by director Owen Birnie, having been disappointed by the flawed and biased delivery of security consultancy by other firms. In the following years, we were, by definition, a traditional security consultancy too, however what made us different was that we were trusted by clients and offered better commercial terms (including our famous money back guarantee). We partnered with our customers to help them deliver their security engineering and remain accountable to them. We were almost unique in that the individual who wrote the client proposal was the individual who delivered the overall programme. That meant we did not pay commission, finders-fees or retainers. The amount of repeat business we were given showed us that our customers appreciated our approach. Other consultancies may pretend to have their customers interests at heart, but we had evidence to support that we genuinely did. As a consequence, we became successful....

Being industry veterans, we had a long list of associates that we could call on to help us deliver regardless of the circumstances or skill requirements. These individuals supported our aim to deliver fairer and more professional consultancy. We used to joke that we would only take them on if they had already been on the receiving end of box-shifting, over-priced consultancy. We encouraged them to be truly professional, to think out of the box and to support pro bono interests for the benefit of the wider community. We supported military resettlement and encouraged the development of individuals early in their careers by lecturing at a number of universities to provide real-world experiences. We also supported a couple of ex-offenders who had skills that we could re-use - mainly around social engineering. We have even supported expert opinion in research projects.

As a consequence, we became very popular with the government, the security services, the military and law enforcement throughout the UK (and a little further - in some cases). Over the years, we lost a couple of our associates to our own customers, but we are also proud of the fact that those customers are still our customers. We have worked in tandem with some of the biggest professional security firms in the world as well as not losing sight of the details when it comes to delivering. The approach has served us well for several years and indeed, we still provide all the usual services to existing and new clients.

In 2016, we noted that we had been offered more non-competitive work opportunities than we had actually won. This was entirely down to referrals from existing clients. We were simply trusted to provide a fair daily rate without going through a framework, a competitive tendering process or other normal commercial agreement. We have always been proud of the fact that we are a small, nimble business able to deliver best-of-breed consultants to solve client problems. We largely always delivered our services directly to the end-customer, but there were a couple of exceptions when we needed to become part of a team to deliver something extraordinary.

In 2017, we were approach by an old acquaintance who asked us to put together a bespoke team of experts to deliver a unique set of requirements. We did not let them down, delivering security consultancy largely autonomously to a public sector organisation, helping them understand and deliver the requirements from a national technical authority. On a number of areas, we pushed back, helping maintain a pragmatic approach to security despite demands on new technology. With the advent of agile approaches to working, advanced persistent threats, complex cloud infrastructure, zero days being exploited and the commodification of bespoke digital attacks, we have been called upon to fill the knowledge-gap and solve seemingly unending, and unfavourable problems vanish.

Whilst we remain very happy to carry out mainstream work, we do specialise in solving unusual or potentially disastrous situations. When a client is being held to ransom over a public data disclosure, dealing with large-scale privacy issues or trying to apply endless security demands realistically, we can help. We are best when we are thinking on our feet, under pressure and occasionally under-fire. We are, in effect, the security consultancy of last resort.