Not-For-Profit Technology Forum, Cambridge: Recap

Published: 25 September 2023

On Tuesday the 12th September, we were delighted to bring our Not-For-Profit Technology Forum to the Gonville Hotel in Cambridge. Our expert speakers discussed three main topics: the value of data, upcoming IT trends and a look at where the next cyber-attacks are coming from.

Go all in with MSFT for Business Applications success

Delivered by Curtis Norman, Business Solutions Director at Xperience.

 Curtis kicked us off with a look at the value of data for organisations today; it is their most valuable asset and an output of everything they do. Challenges arise for organisations as a result of the time and effort to not only collect and interpret it, but also through the associated costs which are created as a consequence of data relevance and accuracy. Having discussed the importance of having access to accurate real-time data Curtis then went on to showcase how Business Applications such as Microsoft Dynamics Business Central, Xperience’s Not-for-Profit module and the complete Microsoft 365 suite, could not only help organisations get the most out of their current data collection, but also how they could enhance their data collection and reporting efforts. During a demo of this offering, Curtis focused on the gift aid functionality tool which showcased how organisations could record gift aid donations and create gift aid claims.

Curtis Norman   Xperience BC Solutions Director

Embracing the role of IT with our CTO Simon Barnes 

Next up our CTO, Simon took us through five key IT trends that organisations should be focusing on going into 2024. 

  1. Cyber Threats are a reality – for everyone 
  2. The Cloud and how we work is changing 
  3. A plan is the most important asset 
  4. Legacy apps and data are expensive 
  5. AI isn’t going to save us or stop us 

After kicking off with some real-world cyber threat (ransomware and data theft) examples, Simon focused on the proactive measures our guests could put in place to protect themselves and their employees. These measures, which included Cyber insurance, training and defence testing (including a nod at our PEN testing service)
raised the question
“Do insurers pay out for cyber claims?” Our experience tells us that getting the right Cyber Insurance package for your business is key – while some insurers do pay out for the claim, they may not pay the ransom.

Moving on from Cyber, he then discussed the impact of switching to WFH and how businesses now operate differently since the pandemic. The demand of smaller IT estates for lower cost servers from providers, and how we opened doors to threats when we had our guard down in 2020 and how we are now feeling the consequence of those fast IT decisions. We now not only need to plan for the future, but also retrospectively for the decisions we already made. To wrap up, Simon looked at AI and debunked the notion that “AI is going to be doomsday for humanity”, encouraging organisations to work alongside AI and not against it, with solutions such as Microsoft copilot which will be hugely beneficial.


Cyber Director David Buist discusses Cyber trends in 2023


Rounding out the morning was our Cyber Security Director, David Buist. The engagement with this talk was great to see with plenty of questions and discussion throughout. David started by delving into some common Cyber misconceptions companies make. The attitude that “we’re not Microsoft, we’ll be safe” is common and naïve as anyone can be victim to a cyber-attack. If you have something a hacker can steal – namely data, then you are a target. David shocked the room when he advised that there are hacking companies out there; complete with accounts teams, marketing teams etc. who sell ransomware-as-a-service, and how easy it is to open the door to a hacker; logging into public Wi-Fi and being logged into multiple devices. He emphasised the importance of Cyber security as a companywide responsibility and a continually evolving problem.  

Tips to stay safe included; 

  • Cyber Essentials – Password Strength: With on average 75% of passwords being hackable as they are too simple having something which is not obvious is key.  
  • Regular Cyber security training – to keep up to date with the latest cyber security regulations.  

Cyber security proved to be the hot topics of the day and questions from the audience covered everything from Single Sign On (SSO), APIs as a hacking target and the benefits of Penetration testing.

To finish off his session, David delved into a case study of a facilities management company that had been breached and ordered to pay a seven-figure ransom and how having solid Cyber Security in place could have helped prevent this.

For pictures of the day check out our social pages! We’re now looking forward to our NFP Technology Forum in Belfast this October!

David Buist   Xperience Cyber Director

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