In the hot seat - Alan Cook: driving Science Warehouse security

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In the hot seat - Alan Cook: driving Science Warehouse security

In the hot seat this time is Alan Cook, Security Manager at Science Warehouse, who describes driving the circuit from Forces engineer to information security.

1)    What is your current position?

Security Manager.

2)    Where did you study?

I studied at the No 1 Radio School RAF Locking as this was the main school for all things for Technical Engineering. I spent a lot of time at the school progressing from basic engineering principles through to degree level topics and projects. I was selected to teach there in my later years and spent 18 months teaching Maths, IT and systems engineering. I've also spent time at GCHQ (UK Government Communications Headquarters) and other interesting places abroad learning my IT security trade.

3)    What are you currently working on?

My role at Science Warehouse currently involves working on accreditation for the ISO27001 certificate and information security in general. We've taken on the challenge of becoming accredited to this International Standard for Information Security. It's challenging at many levels and we'll all be working on it to some degree as it will affect the way we do business internally to protect our assets. 

4)    What do you like about working for Science Warehouse?

As a contractor, one of the rewards is working for many diverse and exciting organisations. Every company is different in the way it approaches security and Science Warehouse has a great feeling of professionalism and drive. You cannot beat working for a company that wants to progress and improve itself across the board and the people I've met to date have all been great.

5)    What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love Motorsport. I've owned various bikes and cars over the years and was Chairman of a Leeds performance car club for many years. I'm off to the F1 Grand Prix in July and Oliver's Mount in Scarborough to watch some bike racing. I'm also planning to re-drive the Stelvio pass in Italy and visit both the Nurburgring and Isle of Man TT course next year. I'm also lucky that my fiancée is as passionate.

6)    What is your favourite car and why?

How long have you got?! I've been lucky enough to have driven all sorts of exotica on the road and track but if I was pushed I'd say the supercharged Ariel Atom was my favourite. This mixes superbike performance with a car with no roof, doors or windows and was unbelievably exciting to drive. However the car on my current wish list is a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Then there's the Aston Martin V8 for looks... and a Triumph Daytona for the Summer ... I'll stop there I think!

7)    What is on your iPod at the moment?

Considering I use it for my kids too, then Cheryl Cole may be on there. Moving swiftly on! I have everything from ACDC to ELO and from Classic to Trance (yes really). Music is second to my cars so I enjoy all sorts of music. My current favourite is the Black Keys who I heard by accident in a pub on a walking holiday in the Lakes. I also have a lot of audio books, with Chris Hitchen's 'Arguably' currently playing on my way to work. 

8)    What are your views on the new Armed Forces days?

I'm very passionate about my 23 years in the RAF. I lost mates and have seen the outcome from post-traumatic stress disorder. Many veterans from the world wars aren't recognised on a day-to-day basis although the Americans do take a lot of time and trouble looking after veterans and personnel who need help due to the outcome of serving. I'm not saying it should be a special case, but it can be a great personal upheaval leaving an institution like the military after 20 or 30 years of service, so it's nice to finally see some recognition for the various charities and organisations and the good work they do.

9)    iPhone or Blackberry?

Neither – I'm no Apple die-hard fan (though I love the iPad), so I enjoy my Android phone as I like to tinker and play!

10)    What are your holiday plans for the year?

Most likely to be driving, with squeezing in as many miles as possible (with some nice early drives through the North Yorkshire Moors or over the Peaks with the top down). I was based in Cyprus for some years so I go back regularly and I'll probably do that again for some Winter sun.


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