The White Hat Ball 2021

We were fortunate enough to sit down with Martin Tyley, Head of UK Cyber, KPMG ahead of this year’s annual White Hat Ball. Those with experience at White Hat events know that White Hat’s charitable endeavours and KPMG’s sponsorship are almost synonymous. Again, KPMG are this year’s headline sponsor, as Tyley, and the whole of KPMG continue to champion the change that we want to see in the world.

While the White Hat Ball (affectionately known as WHB) is a familiar event in the information security industry calendar. However, this year it will take an unfamiliar form; as with most business operations this year, the festivities will move to the virtual. However, despite the virtual nature of this charitable event, what transpires on the 29th of January will have real-world implications. The WHB is an event that provides support for the most vulnerable amongst us. While the spread of a global pandemic has made lives universally difficult, it has become even more challenging for young, vulnerable people who tragically may be forced to spend lockdown without the resources they so desperately need.

Is this the most important White Hat Ball yet?

The past few months has seen reliance on the UK’s foodbanks soar, despite high-profile efforts from footballer, Marcus Rashford MBE, to achieve at least one meal per day for school children. Rashford’s concerns were compounded during the recent outrage surrounding government funded food parcels, and as a result, demand for children’s mental health advice from Childline is currently surging. Considering all of these variables, Tyley believes this to be the most important WHB to date. The purpose of WHB is to raise enough money to fund the NSPCC’s Childline for a whole day. The £30,000 required to facilitate this is an ambitious but achievable target if we come together as a community to foster unilateral change.

Tyley hopes that this White Hat Ball will truly be one to remember. Harking back to his first foray into the world of the White Hat Ball, Tyley reminisced that as a fresh-faced, junior member of the community, he perhaps failed to grasp the importance of this event. However, it was not long before it really “clicked”. The White Hat Ball is not simply a networking event for the infosec industry. Instead, it is an important date that has the ability to change people’s lives forever. Although, this requires a concerted effort on behalf of all of us.

What can we do to help?

Besides donating to the White Hat’s Unforgettable Day JustGiving page there are a whole host of ways that you can make a positive impact. You can also bid on a variety of items on the White Hat’s Unforgettable Day’s Charity Stars page with the profits going towards Childline. More importantly, utilising your skills for the greater good could go a lot further than a simple donation. Inspired by the events that transpire annually at the White Hat Ball, Martin Tyley uses his platform to spread education and awareness of issues facing children today. Speaking to children about being safe online is becoming even more important as social media solidifies its virtual grip on digital native generations. In fact, Tyley stated that applying the skills gained from decades in the industry can have an incredibly positive impact. Since 2018, Tyley has found time in his already busy schedule to educate more than 3,000 children on the importance of digital safety. However, there is undoubtedly more that must be done. Afterall, one person cannot educate every child in the UK. Cybersecurity is all about protecting that which is vulnerable from exploitation. Therefore, protecting vulnerable children from abuse, exploitation and hunger is certainly within this remit.

If you are a white hat, a grey hat or a black hat with a charitable side, let’s work together to make The White Hat Ball not just an unforgettable day, but the year we changed the world.


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