23 June 2021
The establishment of an organisation which will improve Jersey's cyber security has taken a significant step forward.
The Government of Jersey has appointed Matt Palmer Director of the Cyber Emergency Response Team (CERT), which has been established with the objectives of reducing the risk and impact of major cyber incidents, and increasing cyber resilience across critical infrastructure and business communities.
Mr Palmer will be responsible for setting up and running CERT, the first team of its kind in the Crown Dependencies. CERT will help businesses and organisations put appropriate security controls in place and mitigate against network outages, data loss, ransomware, cybercrime, and state threats.
Mr Palmer said: "Cybercrime is a risk to everyone, impacting organisations from small charities and businesses to national governments, and Jersey has a raised security risk profile because of our financial services industry, the data we process, and the infrastructure that we operate.
"CERT will enhance Jersey's international reputation, support our businesses, and offer technical advice to Government. We will be a critical friend and a strong independent voice for cyber security. I'm delighted to be taking on the role of leading CERT, and I'm looking forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to this important role."
Initially, CERT will sit within the Department for the Economy until it is fully established. Consideration then be given to it becoming an independent arms-length organisation.
The Minister for Economic Development, Senator Lyndon Farnham, said: "Incidents such as the Wannacry and NotPetya attacks have shown the impact that malicious online attacks can have on governments and businesses. Government is committed to protecting our economic and community interests, and Matt's experience and knowledge will be invaluable in ensuring that Jersey is prepared for cyber attacks as part of that commitment."
Mr Palmer has more than 20 years' experience in cyber and information security risk. He worked in London and New York as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) then Senior Director, Risk and Software as a Service (SaaS), at global insurance broker Willis Towers Watson, and has lived in Jersey for almost ten years. He is leaving his current position as interim cyber security leader at Aztec Group and will take up the post in June.
A former district councillor in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Mr Palmer co-founded the Channel Island Information Security Forum. He currently volunteers as Treasurer of the Jersey Aero Club.
His appointment followed the Jersey Appointments Commission Code of Conduct. In October 2020, an external IT recruitment agency was engaged to support recruitment to the role. A shortlist of candidates from both in and outside the Island went through a technical peer review and interview process, and Mr Palmer was offered the role in February 2021.