Colin Williams

Director SBL, Honorary Fellow University of Warwick, Visiting Professor De Montfort University

Colin Williams joined SBL (Software Box Ltd) in 1994, initially in the capacity of MoD (Ministry of Defence) contract manager. In a now distant previous life, he was Head of History, Senior House Master and Assistant Deputy Head at a residential school in the north of England.

Shortly after joining SBL, Colin proposed and led the creation of the specialist IT Security Group within SBL. This element of SBL’s business has developed, and now offers IT security solutions, services and products to all market sectors. SBL are now the market leaders in the specialist provision of vendor independent Information Assurance and cyber security products, services and solutions to the UK HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) and the wider public sector. SBL have a particular strength and pedigree in the central government, law enforcement and defence markets and have a range of accreditations and facilities to enable this business. SBL is listed across a comprehensive range of public sector pre-competed framework procurement agreements.

In December 1999 Colin was part of the team that successfully completed the management buy out/buy in of SBL and since then he has served as an Executive Director of the company. In his current role, he is responsible for the formulation and delivery of the plans that guide and shape the long-term strategic development of the public sector business of SBL.

Colin led the SBL team involved in concluding the Microsoft enterprise agreement for the MoD and subsequently led the creation of the SBL project team that now undertakes the day to day operation of the enterprise agreement on behalf of the MoD. This innovative and customised agreement has been renewed several times and Colin has led the SBL team instrumental in the renewal negotiations. The MoD Microsoft enterprise agreement was, at the time of inception, by revenue, the largest Microsoft licensing agreement through a single partner in the world.

Colin led the SBL team involved in the successful negotiation of the MoD’s corporate enterprise wide anti-virus software contract. This was, and remains, one of the largest single consolidated anti-virus procurements in the world.

Colin served as the Enterprise Software Advisor to the convergence phase of the MoD’s Defence Information Infrastructure Project (DII).

He has delivered strategic level advice and analysis to a number of HMG organisations and to selected defence formations overseas.

Colin leads the SBL team that organises the annual Information Assurance Practitioners Event in York on behalf of GCHQ (Government Communications Head Quarters).

In 2003, Colin conceived, and led the creation of, a new system to deliver anti-virus software updates and other software patches to the UK Ministry of Defence in a secure and resilient way. This system has been in continuous operation since 2003 and, to date, has delivered over twenty million downloads. Today, the system forms the basis of a unique UK public sector private community cloud.

Colin has been instrumental in the creation and operation of a number of initiatives aimed at improving the collaboration between government, industry and academia in the fields of IT security, Information Assurance and, latterly, cyber security. These include the following:

  • Defence Infosec Product Co-Operation Group (DIPCOG)
    An MoD sponsored formation designed to facilitate the managed introduction of innovative products and services in to the defence market.

  • General Information Assurance Products and Services Initiative (GIPSI)
    A Cabinet Office sponsored formation designed to replicate the beneficial effects of the operation of DIPOCG in defence across civil government; a precursor to the launch of the inaugural HMG IA strategy. GIPSI made a material contribution to the process whereby Business Impact Levels were formulated and adopted across UK HMG.

  • Central Information Assurance Products and Services Co-Operation Group (CIPCOG)
    A contemporaneous and companion operation to GIPSI.

  • National Information Assurance Forum (NIAF)
    A synthesis between and a successor to GIPSI and CIPCOG.

  • Information Assurance Collaboration Group (IACG)
    A platform to enable collaboration between the UK supply base for Information Assurance products and services, CESG (the UK government National Technical Authority for Information Assurance and cyber) and the Cabinet Office.

Colin was a visiting lecturer on the Advanced Information Systems course operated by the Royal Military College of Science at Shrivenham and an early MoD subject matter expert on software volume licensing models.

Current areas of focus include the development of an interdisciplinary approach to Information Assurance and cyber security; the creation and development of new forms of collaboration between government, industry and academia; and, the development of new economic and business models for IT, Information Assurance and cyber security in the context of twenty first century computing. This is extending in to initial work on the security of the supply chain within and for cyber. In addition, Colin is working on the development of an historiographical narrative for contemporary computing, crafted through the instrumentality of an interdisciplinary approach.

Since his appointment as first a visiting lecturer, and then a visiting professor, at the Cyber Security Centre at De Montfort University, Colin has developed a range of seminars and lectures that draw on and develop his interest in the history, sociology and philosophy of the cyber phenomenon. He has been commissioned to write a book on the history of computing from the Cold War to the Singularity, and beyond.

Colin is an honorary fellow in the WMG Cyber Security Centre at the University of Warwick.

Colin is a founding editor of “CyberTalk”; an interdisciplinary journal of the cyber domain and a founding moderator of the “CyberTalk” Research Wiki. He holds a BA and an MA in history from the University of York, England, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors. He is a member of the Information Assurance Advisory Council Community of Interest.