Playing politics: customer spotlight on Play Verto


‘Fun’ isn’t a word often associated with politics. Many of us tend to think of it as a game played by powerful people in oak-panelled chambers, far away from the reality of our everyday lives. And, it’s this feeling that has led to widespread disengagement from politics and distrust in our institutions.

But what if politics was a game we could all play? 

CyberSmart client, Play Verto, seeks to answer that question. The social enterprise specialises in improving community engagement through gamification. Its app, Verto, allows the public to express their political views by answering questions in a play-based format. 

By combining technology and play, Play Verto is creating a space for wider participation and plurality of opinion in politics. 

However, handling public data brings cybersecurity challenges with it. We sat down with Ben Pook, Director of Play Verto, to discuss these and how using CyberSmart Active Protect has helped overcome them.

What are the security challenges you’ve faced as a startup? 

When you are in the start-up space, you tend to play many different roles and you are thinking a million things. You quickly learn that you need to be agile to accommodate that. However, data security is not something you want to play about with. There is often a lot to consider, which can easily be forgotten or simply not considered at all.

Play Verto is a data-led decision-making company. So, inevitably, we deal with a lot of sensitive data. Our customers depend on us to safeguard this, ensuring it’s collected and stored securely. The company also emerged around the time that GDPR was coming into place, raising another challenge. 

How did CyberSmart help you resolve your security challenges?

Cybersecurity is an intimidating subject, especially when you lack rudimentary knowledge.  What we like about CyberSmart is that they ‘dumb-down’ cybersecurity and compliance for you, providing an easy step-by-step guide to make sure you have all your bases covered. They walk you through GDPR, Cyber Essentials as well as ISO27001.

It’s also helpful in the sense that it allows you to say, ‘hey, have you thought about this?’ and if not, here is what you should do. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have years of experience working in information security or the means to hire a specialist.

How far is Play Verto into setting up CyberSmart? 

We’ve gone through the whole process and we have the certificates. It’s given us a kick-start; we now use the tools and information offered by CyberSmart to constantly re-evaluate our compliance and security.

In fact, it’s become part of our routine. Whenever we onboard someone new, they go through CyberSmart’s training and install the app on their devices to ensure they meet our security standards. We also have a fortnightly team meeting on cybersecurity.

Our company culture has become much more security-focused thanks to CyberSmart. 

What role has CyberSmart played in your relationship with customers and partners?

The impact of not having the right security measures in place is massive. Our customers and partners rely on us to keep their data secure. CyberSmart offers an additional service that is critical in giving both ourselves, as well as our customers, peace of mind.

When we take on a new client, they want to understand how we collect data, how we store it, where it is stored, which servers we are using etc. With CyberSmart, all of that information is one place and easily accessible. What’s more, the certificates themselves are a demonstration that we take security seriously in the eyes of our customers. 

What cost and time benefits have you experienced since using CyberSmart? 

Well, I think it really comes down to ‘what is the cost of not using it?’. We have a pretty good security culture in our company, but it costs to be ignorant. I would rather be the fool that asked than the fool that wished he did.

CyberSmart’s monthly subscription is also perfect for those in the start-up space. Shelling out thousands of dollars in one go is tricky for a small business. The subscription model makes CyberSmart’s tools accessible to organisations in a similar position to us when we first started.

What advice would you give to someone looking to tackle similar challenges to those you’ve faced?

To be honest, I’d probably recommend CyberSmart, particularly because of their customer service. The team is amazingly responsive and there’s no such thing as a silly question.  It almost feels like a personal relationship, they do a great job of building a rapport.

Are you a start-up looking to improve cybersecurity but not sure where to begin? Start by getting certified in Cyber Essentials, the UK government scheme that covers all the fundamentals of cyber hygiene.

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