I recently met with a consultancy based in Cheltenham that, like many others in its sector, describes itself as "a bit different".

Started by three people in a living room, Electric Cat is now a CESG-CHECK-approved company with around 15 full-time staff, including nine consultants


James Wootton, managing director of Electric Cat, said its customers are primarily in the government sector "who came to us, so we tried to form a company that had some integrity to it". The company achieved its CESG-CHECK mark in order to work with government departments.

Wootton said: “A lot of the approval is in live tests, as exams do not make you a penetration tester. Almost all penetration testers were born with the skills – they want to see how a toy works, rather than just play with it.”

Acknowledging the work of the Cyber Security Challenge, Wootton said this type of practical assessment was the way forward for the industry. “Just because it looks great on a piece of paper, it does not mean you are going to be able to do it,” he said.

Robert Vaughan, CLAS consultant at Electric Cat, said there is a gap in the market for penetration testing. “You can talk to people about information security and see them understand it and figure out how it applies to you, but some have no concept of applicability to themselves,” he said.

“You need to talk to people at the simplest level, as nobody is prepared to understand what they do not already understand. They do not understand what it means to reveal too much information; there is a massive need for it.”

Electric Cat has worked on cyber education projects with schools and universities, and Vaughan said there is often a lack of understanding about correct procedures. He added that businesses often lack an understanding of what to do with a vulnerability once it has been identified, because they do not know when it is applicable to them.

So is there a lack of general interactivity with technology on a user basis, or is there a lack of people who are generally interested? Perhaps with its interaction at several levels, Electric Cat is aiming to create the next cream of the crop.