Adviser of the Month: Patrick Burgess

Adviser of the Month: Patrick Burgess

Posted: Wed 29th May 2024

Congratulations to our Adviser of the Month for May, Patrick Burgess, founder of Cybxx Consulting.

Patrick was never meant for the corporate world, although he did start there working in the pharmaceutical industry. He explains:

"I was bored senseless and this was back when I was doing IT management.

"I got to the end of my life at the pharma company but got on really well with my boss. I told him that I wanted to continue to look after them, but he didn’t need me full-time. So, I was going to go off and start my own managed service providers (MSPs), IT support company that looked after small businesses and he became my first client."

Even though his area of expertise is data protection strategy and cybersecurity, Patrick understands the whole business owner ecosystem having run multiple businesses. He continues:

"I have been through the ups and downs that all honest business owners will admit to and have learnt from some wonderful people through the years.

"My enduring enthusiasm for technology and business has transformed into a commitment to assisting small and medium-sized enterprises in navigating the intricate realms of general business and more specifically technology, cybersecurity, and data protection strategy."

How can you support small businesses?

I have a business partner who looks after the commercial side and I do the technical side.

That’s how I started looking after small to medium organisations. I’ve increasingly specialised in strategy and cyber processes – breaking them down into simple terms for businesses and directors so that they understand what they need to do legally, as well as protect themselves so they can sleep at night.

It's quite simple, the things that you need to do to get the basics right. Turn on your multi-factor authentication, get a good antivirus and have a backup. It's incredible, the number of organisations that don't think about this until it is too late.

They don't put a budget into it. When people think cyber, they think it is going to cost a fortune but actually, it's like a couple of quid a month.

It's amazing how quickly the budget opens up when it goes wrong afterwards, but it's too late by then. For small businesses, they don't have the resources to come back afterwards. Big corporations just pay the fine and move on. It's just life. It's not the same for small businesses.

That is why I love working with small businesses and the people who are in key positions to ensure that they are making the right decisions around their IT as a whole, not just the security. The IT infrastructure only exists to support the business. There's no point having it if it's not doing the right thing to support the organisation.

The key thing is to relate it to the business. You shouldn't be talking about acronyms and the tough technical things, you should be talking about things they understand, which are downtime, risk to the business and financial or reputational impact.

It's all a balancing act. You shouldn't be trying to get to the “top of the cliff”. If you're a small one-man band and spent all your money on the most secure system in the world and nothing on marketing, then you're not going anywhere. It relates to risk to the business.

What are the major pitfalls you've experienced?

Initially, there's a huge amount of enthusiasm when you start a business. You go with everything, but then that starts to wear off. It becomes lonely and can be soul-destroying when it's not going the way you want. You can talk to your partner or spouse, but they don't always get it.

Loneliness is quite a problem when people start out and having somebody to bounce ideas around with and just talk to, to rationalise is really good.

Then you start to branch out from being a one-person business into a multi-person business; it opens up a whole raft of problems. You've got recruitment, payroll, tax issues, wellbeing and you go from being the person who runs a business to not doing what you actually do enjoy doing anymore. This becomes truer and truer, the bigger the business gets. It is important to understand that.

What should new business owners be thinking about when it comes to security? 

Turn on multi-factor authentication on every single thing you have, personal and professional.

We say there are four things you should turn on that will solve most of the problems – multi-factor authentication, a good antivirus, a good e-mail security platform and a good backup. If you have these four things, you will be able to prevent most attacks on a small business.

If and when it goes wrong, because it does go wrong, you'll be able to recover from your backup.

When it comes to AI, what should small businesses know?

AI is a bit of a weird one. It's not a security risk for small businesses but a data protection risk.

When you look at models like ChatGPT, they're public models and everything you put into them, they absorb and use. But effectively, if you're using ChatGPT and putting client data into that, then you are, in theory, putting that data out there into the world and it is being used.

AI is a great tool. I use it. It can speed up the way you work, but it needs to be nuanced and used in the right way.  

I say embrace it, play with it and don't be scared of it but ultimately, just be savvy and aware that it’s only as good as what you put into it.

Read everything that comes out of it and check it before you actually do anything with it. A lot of the time, it will look vaguely right at the first pass, but when you read it back, you can pick out the errors. It’s a good first-draft tool to speed things up.

When did you first come across Enterprise Nation?

I'm still new to it and haven't done a huge amount but I would love to do more talking, host the lunchtime webinars and meet more people. I’m still finding my feet.

I came across it through the British Computer Society. It is really interesting as a way of meeting new people. I have already had a few conversations with some new people, but I need to reach out more and do more of the group work.


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Owning your own business is a stressful, lonely and never-ending experience. It can create sleepless nights and burn out just to keep things ticking over at times. Over the years I have found having the right people on my side and advising me has helped my businesses be successful and reduce my stress levels significantly. I am a friendly and experienced adviser, mentor, and non-executive professional with a wealth of knowledge accumulated over 15 years of owning and managing my own businesses. I have been through the ups and downs that all honest business owners will admit to, and I have learned from some wonderful people through the years. My enduring enthusiasm for technology and business has transformed into a commitment to assisting small and medium-sized enterprises in navigating the intricate realms of general business and more specifically technology, cybersecurity, and data protection strategy. I firmly believe that these critical areas should be drivers for the improvement of your business, ensuring its security and fostering increased efficiency. I am eager to offer my expertise in simplifying these complex subjects, tailoring them to be relevant and proportionate to the needs of your business. Understanding your risk position and legal requirements doesn’t need to be a terrifying process, and the path to improvement does not have to be expensive. Making little changes often will add up over time and be much more manageable. If you are feeling burned out or overwhelmed in business, please reach out and let’s talk. Maybe you've recently has a security incident and it’s giving you sleepless nights, let’s talk! All small businesses struggle with these topics and I promise you aren't the only ones who need assistance. Reach out to me for an initial, complimentary conversation about any concerns you may have. Let's discuss how I can help give you the knowledge and advice take control of these key areas for your business and so you sleep better at night.

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