For a Technology Company, like so many others, 2020 has been a year like no other. Everyone has been affected by it in some way and we have all faced huge challenges both personally and professionally. Trying to balance work and home life has never been harder, and for some the separation between the two has become very blurred indeed.

Through it all Tekgem has dug deep and been able to continue working with and servicing our customers to continued high standards. Working in an online environment has had some huge benefits this year although we have had to adapt our working practices and some of our services to allow us to continue to provide them, in particular Cyber-Security assessments. We can now do this remotely and have managed to keep everyone as safe as possible doing this during the pandemic. All in all we have still managed to carry out nine Cyber-Security assessments so far this year, four of which were delivered remotely. An additional seven Cyber-Security Management Systems (CSMS) have been developed and completed with customers. Some work at the beginning of the year was carried out as far afield as the United States where we undertook a successful risk assessment with a major corporate.

But other foreign trips have had to be postponed until such a time that we can move around safely again. Back in the UK we have received excellent feedback from the HSE on the quality and completeness of our CSMS and risk assessments, which goes to show the hard work is paying off.

The business managed to attain four separate awards during the year, most of which were delivered remotely. A large online call with the winner being surprised by their own face hitting the front of the screen. The first was the NEPIC small business of the year award for demonstrating a successful approach to developing their sales to the process sector.

The North East business award for apprenticeships training and skills was won for recognition of businesses that have implemented an apprentice, training or skills programme as an integral part of developing their workforce providing opportunities for the younger generation in the area. And two members of staff achieved their own awards, Liam Sharpe won the Young Achiever of the Year award and Sam Longstaff won the Network Engineer Apprentice of the Year.

The team has continued to expand its knowledge and pass further training courses that will deepen the skill sets available within the company. The Fortinet Network Security Expert Level 4 (NSE4) course. The Fortinet NSE program is multi-level training and certification program that is designed to provide interested technical professionals with an independent validation of their network security skills and experience to allow them to demonstrate mastery of complex network security concepts. Further to this the CompTIA Cybersecurity Analsyt (CySA) course has been achieved by the same individual, CySA is an IT workforce certification that applies behavioural analytics to networks and devices to prevent, detect and combat cybersecurity threats through continuous security monitoring. An amazing achievement.

The company has also passed it’s ISO27001 audit for 2020 the Information Security Management Systems standard ensures the company keeps information assets safe and secure, by building an information security infrastructure against the risks of loss, damage or any other threat. Companies that obtain ISO/IEC 27001 certification validate that the security of financial information, intellectual property, employee details, assets or information entrusted from third parties is being successfully managed and continually improved according to best practice approaches and frameworks.

We have continued to grow our in-house team. Matt, Terry and Joe, have joined the company in 2020 and brought with them their own expertise. An internal shuffle brought an existing member of the team Sam from a permanent position on a customer site into the core team, he is now providing essential expertise to the benefit of all our customers.

We have successfully established a software development team and started to design and build our own real-time Cyber-Security Management Platform (CSMP).

The software architecture has been designed and technologies have been chosen to complement it, which gives the whole platform an excellent foundation on which to take it forward. The user interface and workflow has been mocked up and shows great potential, it’s almost ready to share with interested parties to get their feedback. A data collection service has also been built to allow the secure transfer of data from parts of the network to a central aggregation program. This is a very exciting prospect and one which will allow us to enhance our service offering to customers going forward.

Given all the challenges of 2020 we have managed to achieve, grow and innovate, for that we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers, suppliers and partners for such a successful 2020 and hope we can continue these successful relations into 2021 and beyond.