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Just back from my hols and it’s heartening to see that whilst I’ve been away so many great movers and shakers in the IT security world have signed up to get involved in Security Serious Week in October. So many of the CISO community have already committed their time for free to offer seminars and webinars on a host of great subjects including Unilever, BT, Canon, Lloyds Bank, HSBC, GSK, Publicis Groupe, Markit, Willis and The Economist to name but a few!  Our loyal analysts including Ovum, Quocirca and IDC are on board and yesterday I was delighted that the Department for Culture, Media and Sports have agreed to get stuck in with events during the week and rally other Government departments to do so too – way to go!  The week should be incredibly insightful to any organisation wishing to become more security savvy!  So if you’re an IT security specialist or IT security organisation that wishes to impart your pearls of wisdom to other businesses to make them more Security Serious then why not organise a webinar or seminar. We’ll promote it for you on www.itsecurityguru.org and www.securityserious.com.    We’ve also got loads of companies participating in the press photocall at 12 noon on 26th October outside the Tower of London (find out more at www.securityserious.com) – where everyone will have a banner with their logo on it to show the world they’re “Taking Security Seriously”.  By participating in the day not only will you be counted as a company that’s Security Serious but it’ll be a great networking event as we’re all going to meet in the pub after the photocall – CISOs, analysts, press, vendors and other IT security professionals.  Hopefully, by getting together new contacts will be made and we can work together to make UK Plc a safer place to do trade Online! If you want to brainstorm how you can get involved then email me Yvonne@eskenzipr.com!

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Here’s an event that you’re going to want to be involved in because it’s for every company who takes Security Seriously!

The campaign is called SECURITY SERIOUS and we’ve dedicated an entire week to it from 26-30 October.  The campaign will push the message to the business community that – we’re taking Security Seriously and so should you!

We’re hoping to get 50+ best of breed companies who are good at IT security to help other companies become more security savvy through a range of exciting events! We’ll kick off the week with a photocall outside the Tower of London at 12 noon on 26th October.  Everyone will be there with their company logo and huge banner that states that we’re all pulling together to show that “UK PLC is serious about IT security. We’ve arranged for the press to take pictures at the photocall and then we intend to create a social-media frenzy around the whole week!

During the week we have lots of free lectures and events that companies are offering on a first-come first-served basis. These will be on a range of cyber-security topics – it could be “getting the board’s attention”, “how to stop breaches” – “Finding the right tools to securing an SME” etc.

We’ve already got some amazing large companies behind the week doing some really exciting events, BUT we want to get a huge momentum behind and need your help with the following:

  1. Let us know if you want to be involved in the photocall opportunity – if so we’ll get a huge placard with your logo on it.
  2. Can you support this event by offering something positive to other businesses during the week – it could be a webinar, free software, seminar in London, internal seminar to your staff, something inspiration and creative!  We’ll promote it through Eventbrite and Brightalk and on the website with your logo as a supporter of Security Serious.
  3. Who could you invite to get involved apart from your own company?
  4. Add the event and logo to your email signature
  5.      Blog about it.

YOUR INVOLVEMENT AROUND THIS EVENT WILL NOT COST YOU A PENNY – it’s all about the community collaborating as an industry to get best of breed security professionals from great organisations working to help others become more security savvy – that way we can improve the security posture of UK PLC!

So please let us know how you’d like to get involved asap so we can build your event and idea into the website and campaign.

For more details email Yvonne@eskenzipr.com

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It’s a funny one this subject about IT security – it always comes back to the users – without us there wouldn’t be any security issues! And without us we wouldn’t need security experts to keep us in check!  We need them and they need us – right!

Every year we organise the IT Security Analyst & CISO Forum which is a wonderful opportunity to get raw and heartfelt insight into how the CISOs are feeling – what they are seeing, what’s troubling them and what they’re doing to find sensible solutions around the problems they’re facing. I felt hugely buoyant after this year’s gathering of CISOs they really seem on top of what’s going on! They were openly collaborating and helping one another – they understand they’ve got huge security issues – but there’s nothing out there that they can’t cope with.  Calm is afoot.

What hit me the most was the realization that users are useless when it comes to security – we the users just don’t care – if it’s in our way we’ll get around it – so there was a consensus in the room that “we need to move away from a No to a KNOW mentality” – because it just ain’t working! So you can’t try and block users from trying to do their jobs, but find the tools to make sure you are on top of what they’re doing with the information.

Oh dear but then that’s not all that easy is it because the 2 next biggest bug-bears that the CISOs discussed was Shadow IT and privileged user management – that’s top of mind the moment.

Shadow IT was a real first for me, what I mean is the term, (sorry I’m a bit behind with the lingo these days), they were all harping on about this being a really big problem – that’s us people yet again in PR and marketing, sales and management – we keep downloading these wonderful sharing apps that make everything so simple for our wee non IT brains – you just download the app and hey presto we can all share spreadsheets and contacts etc amongst our colleagues quickly and efficiently. Quickly and efficiently was never really in the security programmers DNA which is why we always come to an impasse with the security folks.  The likes of google sharing apps, DropBox, Box etc are causing a real pain in the backside for security – secure data is being shared outside the organisation willy nilly – but the good news is that these bright young CISO are onto us – they know what we’re up to and are now learning how to discover, monitor and remediate us where necessary.  At least with the coolest tools out there – they can keep the auditors happy and show they’re doing their best to meet the demands of the compliance chaps!

So we can keep working away with our apps because the IT security folks realise they’re onto a road to no-where – so instead of fighting it and saying NO they’re moving to a culture of KNOW instead.

So the other problem they really started to sit up and talk passionately about was the thorny problem of managing privileged users. Hmmm, it’s the human factor yet again! The typical scenario went as follows: One person is given access to the sensitive stuff, they then share it with a colleague when they go on holiday, a consultant comes on board they then get given access, the original person is promoted into another department or leaves, they hand over access to another new person but still retains access to the original information even though they no longer need it and so on.  One CISO from a major bank who shared his angst found his sentiments were mirrored by most of the other CISOs around the table – “Companies grow very quickly and you get lots of changes so we try to conduct regular privileged access account reviews, but I have to admit it’s one of the biggest problems we have not yet solved.”

It’s the thorny old problem – if you don’t drill into your staff that the data is a major asset of the company and it needs to be respected and dealt with responsibly then it won’t be respected.

Back to good old user security awareness and best practices then! You train your staff and they’ll be your biggest allies – get their trust, get them to take on a bit of the responsibility for security – and you’ll go along way to solving the problem.  That’s the conclusion I came to after listening to these savvy and very switched on CISOs, the reason they were so chilled was that they’ve learnt that security is a really big problem and it’s us users who are their biggest problem – but these guys have a strong handle on what’s going on they’re getting to grips with user awareness and responsibility!  They all admitted that it helps that over the last year the boards are giving them more air time at least 15 minutes every 6 months!  It means more so than ever they have the ear of the board who are giving them the responsibility, time and money to focus on putting security where it needs to go.  For more on what the CISOs talked about at the Eskenzi IT Security Analyst & CISO Forum read Ron Condon’s blog at http://www.itsecurityguru.org

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As I write this memory to Steve I’m smiling, because I knew him for 20 years this year and he always left me smiling, laughing and a feeling a whole lot better.  He was a great confidante and trusted ally to everyone at Eskenzi PR.  Whenever we needed an interview done for a client, Steve would stoically do it, even if there wasn’t really a story to be had, he would find one and turn up no matter what!  Where the hell did he find the energy!  He worked every hour G-d gave him and somehow found a few more, so although he was taken from us decades too early he had probably worked decades harder than most of us and packed in what 5 people do in a lifetime!  Steve did not stop working, he was tirelessly there for everyone, no matter what the time of day.

For ten years Steve worked behind the scenes at Eskenzi. No-one would have had a clue that behind many of our articles and rapid responses was the eloquent hand of Steve and he did that on top of his trillion other gigs (as he would call them)!

I always remember it was Steve who taught me the expression “Yvonne when a client jumps you say how high”!  And at the beginning of every interview with a client he’d introduce himself and say I’ve been a journalist for over 20 years and “shock, horror a journalist whose done their homework!”. Steve, you said it at every single interview!! Hilarious!

We would normally hear from Steve every single day with a request for something and recently during his latest gig at SC he’d request comment from our clients almost daily! boy oh boy was that man a loyal and trusted mate to each and everyone of us at Eskenzi.  Steve was so much a part of our Eskenzi family that he even came to our tiny staff Xmas party in 2013 and boy did we have some fun! I wonder what that clairvoyant told Steve!

Steve wasn’t just a work colleague, our kids knew that they could rely on him for every new film that came out, their wish was his delight, and the next day the postman would deliver a beautifully DVD of the very latest film that would make them the envy of all their friends at school.

It didn’t stop there, when Neil and I had any telecoms related enquiries from rolling out a new office phone system or buying a new mobile, or needing an international SIM card it was Steve we would call on and without doubt he’d have the answer.  Invariable before a trip to some far flung place Steve would also send over a chip or Sim that would mysteriously work wherever we were.

Whenever I was stuck for a fact or needed to brainstorm a new idea I’d phone Steve. Even if he was on deadline he’d always make time for me and since reading what others have said about him, it wasn’t just me he seemed to be able to make time for it was everyone! I also would call Steve when I wanted the inside track on a new client, deciding together whether or not I should work with them and he would always be there if something went wrong with a client cussing and swearing with me to console me if they’d be horrid!

Where oh where did Steve find the time to do so much and be so damn understanding.

I guess it was the nurse in him that never left him!

I marvelled at the time he’d found with Sylvia his wife to do up a house they’d bought and rented in Wales which they turned into the most luxurious holiday rental, and Steve also owned an art/interiors shop which l also couldn’t get my head around, because running a shop must have taken a huge amount of time too!

It seems strange that Steve has slipped so suddenly from our lives and it’s going to be very lonely and empty not to have him with us anymore, he was a dear and much loved colleague that went over and above what was ever expected of him. He was a also a true and loyal friend to me and Neil and during the ten years he worked for us and was truly instrumental behind the scenes in helping to grow our business. Boy oh boy are we all going to miss his humour and his mischievousness, his silly jokes and his just his being there for us at all times. Yes Steve, we’re all going to miss you, oh so very badly as there sure isn’t anyone else out there like another Steve Gold!

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OMG – so it’s nearly here – 2 days before our 2 month trip to San Francisco!  It all started a year ago with the dark November nights’ drawing in with our older daughter wondering what she was going to do during her gap year before going to Uni!  Then our youngest daughter piped up and suggested she could also take a gap year after her GCSEs before going on to study her A’levels – that’s when I thought why not go to the US for a couple of months during those deep miserable dark winter months.  That way we could all go off on one merry trip together as a family and Neil and I could look at expanding our business into the States.  By the time Neil had got home from work that night last November, we 3 girls had hatched a plan and amazingly Neil loved it.

So here we are one year later, with our bags packed, off on an adventure that we have no idea where it’s going to take us.  We have a beautiful house rented in the Marina in San Francisco and meetings set up with all our clients who are in the Bay area, plus a few meetings with new potential clients!

Our daughters have both got themselves aged 16 and 18 the most incredible internships at a brilliant media agency in San Francisco called Hub Strategy, with two others eager to talk to them when they land in the US.  With Hub, the lovely CEO said he’d take them under his wing and give them their very own client to work on! So one of their objectives is fulfilled – they’ve even been invited to the Hub Christmas party.

Neil and I have also decided to have our own Eskenzi Christmas party on 18th December where we’ve invited all our clients, friends, analysts and press – hopefully, we won’t end up drinking on our own – and if we do hell we’re in America, it’s San Francisco – the weather has got to be better than here and we’ll still have a ball!

So almost 20 years after setting up Eskenzi PR in the UK we’re ready to try our hand in the US of A!  Push those burgers to one side, we’re ready to walk on the broad walk, eat your tomatoes and start wearing a fanny pack.  I will draw the line with Neil wearing those chinos though!  Bring it on…………………..!

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That’s a pretty far flung suggestion, but after my conversation with a “grey hacker” (that’s someone that works on the good side and also a little on the bad side) I’m not sure it’s so far-fetched. The truth is, I love talking to hackers. I think it’s becoming a bit of “thing” of mine, all because I’m trying to get my clients and their “hacker mates” to write a short story book made up of fictional hacker tales – based on the semi-truth. So in my quest to get this book written, I’m interviewing lots of hackers to get their thrilling tales from the underground. Well you could knock me over with a feather with what I’m currently hearing – it’s the most exciting venture I’ve undertaken in a long while.

Only last week my grey hacker friend was telling me about a bloke he met down the pub who has a rather interesting way of boosting his yearly income to pay for his wife’s new car or their expensive annual holiday. He manipulates share prices in what could be dubbed rather brilliant.

This is how it goes. He’s a very proficient IT consultant, called into major organisations to sort out all sorts of IT security issues from fire-fighting to unravelling an IT project that’s gone wrong and needs sorting out. He always chooses one year contracts, which gives him plenty of time to get familiar with the company and the company to get familiar with him. As an IT programmer, he has to get the back-door passwords or admin passwords which basically give him access to everything. He doesn’t use these for anything sinister at all for at least the year. He does a great job for the company and gets paid a fair price. Just before the company goes public with their profit announcements, he goes in through the back door and changes the figures. Of course no-one notices and the figures are very poor and surprises everyone – so of course the price drops. He buys a lot of stock but not so much that people notice he’s bought them, maybe just $50-$75k. Once the accountants have noticed that something has gone awry with the balance sheets, they re-issue the profit announcement and tell the world there was a terrible internal mistake and the price shoots up and he makes a very healthy profit.

That’s clever, obviously hugely illegal, immoral and very wrong – but you have to admire the guy and he’s never been caught because he doesn’t brag about it, isn’t greedy and leaves no trace behind him. I’m not saying this has happened in the case of Tesco’s – because when you read between the lines they look like they’ve just been pretty rubbish at “creative accounting” – but then my more paranoid brain says to me just imagine if there was a hacker that had screwed with their figures and now they’re having to make wonderful excuses to cover their tracks!

You see this book really is messing with my head – but I can’t wait to get all my contributions in from the hackers so you can read it and have your imagination run riot too!

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It’s something we’ve been meaning to do for a very long time. Get the country’s top CISOs in a room, over a fabulous lunch and get them to share their pain together and learn from each other’s experiences.  So last month at Gordon Ramsey’s private dining room at the Savoy we had 13 CISOs from many of the world’s largest companies seated around the most beautiful dining room table, with the most scrumptious food on earth – all being incredibly candid about how they see life through each other’s eyes and it wasn’t a pretty picture – these guys sure are the unsung hero!

The first of these lunches was kindly sponsored by Imperva and Amichai Shulman, their CTO, brilliantly set the scene explaining how Imperva sees the threat landscape today. Amichai spoke about APTs and said they are no longer about advanced persistent threats because because they certainly aren’t advanced, more a case of automatic and persistent, pushing continuously at every organisation no longer how big or small.  Therefore, APTs should be renamed “automatic persistent threats”.

Most agreed that their roles have changed so it’s less about security and more about assessing risk and putting it in language that the board understands so that they get the funding for more investment. There are so many assets in a company that you could spend a lifetime prioritising them, but it is a certainty you’ll never protect everything 100%.    Heading up security is now about working out what you can afford to protect and then making this area to prioritise – the rest just has to wait.  What I found most interesting is that the CISOs agreed that a vast amount of data is dead after very few days, literally it loses its value after maybe a week to ten days then you just need to file it away safely or delete it.

It was very insightful listening to the CISOs share the same pain when it came to their end-users (and they sure do have a lot of pain) as it always comes down to the fact that if they were more clued in and aware of scams and the importance of protecting the data they work with, life would be a whole lot easier in the security department (or should that be the risk department!).

The most important take away from the lunch was that they really appreciated being together as they do mostly suffer from the same problems and it’s good to talk! By collectively sharing their problems and experiences, just maybe together as a close unit, they could come up with the solutions and answers to make their environments more secure.  Phew! Am I pleased I’m the one that just has to organise these events as I wouldn’t want the CISOs responsibility.

Diane Ashfield, Senior Field & Channel Marketing Manager, EMEA at Imperva said of the lunch:

“Thank you to you and the team for making the CISO lunch such a success. I was very happy with the number and quality of guests.  This was a job not just done, but a job done brilliantly.  We were very happy with the number and quality of guests.  The venue was great the food was fantastic and best of all there were interactive and relevant discussions which could lead to some excellent content that we can promote afterwards.

“The fact that we walked away with two major leads immediately following the event proves that this was event well worth investing in.”

Roll on November for our next CISO lunch club – can’t wait to hear what take away’s we’ll get from that one which is being sponsored by Voltage.

Attendees from the last CISO Lunch Club included –

CISO, NFU Mutual

Head of Information Security & Governance, http://www.bodog.co.uk

Vice President, Information Security, Monster Worldwide

CISO, Williams F1

Director, Global Security Office, Sapient

Director of Security, VocaLink

Chief Security Architect, Diageo

CISO, Centrica

CEO, The Global Identity Foundation

CISO, Sab Miller

Executive Vice President BT Advise, BT

Head of Cyber Security and Response, HMRC

Director, Risk & ITCP Mgmt, GlaxoSmithKline

If you would be interested in sponsoring the CISO lunch club and have your CTO or team involved in presenting at the lunch then please contact on +44 (0) 207 1832 832, yvonne@eskenzipr.com or fill in the form below:

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So what bugs really bite at CISOs?

  1. Malware bugs
  2. Those Hacker buggers
  3. Their staff
  4. Or lack of staff
  5. State on state bugs

Actually, what really gets their goat is No.2, the staff who continually mess everything up for them, and then No. 3, the lack of trained, skilled staff who know how to stop the stupid people screwing up their systems.

How do I know this? Because once a year Eskenzi PR organises the IT security analyst & CISO forum where we get a room full of very outspoken CISOs who really don’t hold back when it comes to sharing their thoughts, bug-bears and irritations with their peers.  A few select vendors are invited to hear from the community who buy their wares and we also fly in a dozen of the world’s top analysts who learn from these heated and honest exchanges.

Looking in from where I sit, I’d have thought they would be most worried about all the external threats tirelessly trying to get in their networks from every angle.  However, these breaches and bugs are not what get these guys riled up; that’s par the course – something they expect and can almost prepare for.  What they all share is a real frustration in that they can find the technology to prevent the breaches and bugs, but their users turn it all on its head with their stupidity – and it’s a problem that doesn’t seem to want to go away.

One comment I especially liked was “you can’t take the IdioT out of the user” – it’s what they do with the data that’s the biggest problem!  Another observation came from an impressive female CISO who said that 100% of computer crime involves people.  Obvious, but she’s right and it makes you think!

Okay – here’s the lesson: we must learn to respect the data we use on a daily basis. That means wherever it is and whenever we’re using it, we need to consider whether it is valuable and, if it falls into the wrong hands, what harm could it do to ourselves, the customer and of course the company?

However, one eminent venture capitalist who attended our event cited a recent Economist article that stated that stock prices are often unaffected by breaches, which starts to make me really confused – what’s it all about if you can suffer a major breach and then it doesn’t really affect the company –  why bother?  Maybe that’s why CISOs are so relaxed about external threats!

But it does cost money to sort out the mess that users make when they infect a system by opening an infected email or uploading infected data from a contaminated USB.

Apart from being hugely frustrated by their internal staff, which was definitely shared by all concerned, it seems that the second really big pain point is the lack of skilled people in IT security.  There just isn’t the quality or quantity and, when you do find someone, they just don’t know how to communicate to get their message across.  There was a common thread in the discussion, where they felt that when they did find the right people with the right skills they then couldn’t fit in with the culture of the company.  The big question is how do you turn geeks into people’s people in order to get the funds for IT security from the board?  One very smart CISO, (although saying that all the CISOs that attend our event are the smart ones that take a real effort in collaborating and pushing the boundaries) gets a digital agency to help with his messaging and visuals so that when he has that very small window of opportunity to talk to the board, they quickly get it!

They all believe that, in order to get things done in IT security, you’ve got to become a good communicator – which means investing in training to communicate well so you can be compelling and convincing.  You need to talk to the board in the language they understand and that goes for the users themselves.

Another smart suggestion to get skilled people to push the IT security message was from a CISO who had employed the CEO’s PA to come and work for him, as she knew exactly the culture of the company and how to get around everyone to get them to listen. She knew politically who to push and who to ask to get things done.  So employing internally and drawing talent from other parts of the company was definitely a method that had worked for this particular CISO.

Everyone thought that a framework of the right questions that the board should ask the CISOs was a good way to go, and badly needed.

I suppose the conclusion to the day was that no matter what happens out there, the CISO’s biggest concern is to keep their own houses in order; and that means training their staff to respect the data they deal with and getting them the right employees who know how to communicate to help them to do this.

Yvonne Eskenzi Yvonne@eskenzipr.com

 

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As I write this blog I can’t quite believe that for every week in the past 8 weeks Eskenzi has won a new client. However, as my mother just told me “I hope you haven’t mentioned this to anyone as you’ll sound ever so boastful!”  Now isn’t that so typically English and why can’t I shout from the roof tops about this achievement , it’s taken almost 20 years to get here and we are in PR after all, so who else is going to blow our trumpet if we don’t do it for ourselves!

It’s a weird old world running a PR business and I suppose for Neil and myself this sudden growth comes down to a change in attitude and circumstance. After 17 years of happily running a small boutique agency from our home, with 8 people trekking through our house every day it was our kids who finally suggested that it was time to move out and “leave home”.  Buying our huge warehouse in Barnet and renovating it before moving in exactly this same week last year I suppose was the turning point for our growth.  It’s given us 2,500sq ft of light, flexible creative space which we’ve been able to fill with the most wonderful people – now our staff can come and go like they never could when we worked from home plus we can employ interns, apprentices and really top notch people who can cut the mustard as we have the space to accommodate them.

Leaving the Infosecurity account was also one of the best things we’ve ever done after 17 long years of managing the PR – gosh that’s been emancipating.  It meant for the first time this year Infosec was a joy – without the burden of trying to get 300 press into the press office and trying to appease 350 exhibitors, not to mention Reed themselves.  Instead we opted to do our own PR around the show including organising 145 press and analyst interviews for our clients, arrange a best practices workshop for the heads of marketing for all our clients, host a speed dating press lunch for 25 press and organise an Eskenzi party for 100 people including analysts, press, CISOs, bloggers and CEOs on the first night! Oh and I almost forgot the IT security guru headed by the wonderful Dan Raywood, also meant taking numerous videos, blogs, write copy and sponsor B-sides all during Infosecurity too!

Reflecting on the last year it’s been the best ever and I really can’t thank the most wonderful team we’ve ever had for making it so. That success is also most definitely down to the type of clients that we have on board all of which are dynamic, fun, innovative and interesting.  PR is very much a two way process so we choose our clients carefully as much as it takes them to choose us – so the 8 most recent clients to Eskenzi we welcome you on board and very much look forward to working with you and building your brands not only in the UK but for many in Germany, France and even in the US – welcome Alert Logic, Bromium, ESET, Pirean, Proofpoint, RedSeal, Sestus, Silent Circle.  So enough trumpet blowing – the reality is it’s time to get down to some real work!

Chemistry

In the next few weeks I’ll be blogging about how to go about finding the right PR agency for you. I’ve been running Eskenzi PR for 18 years and I’d say good PR is all about Chemistry. It’s a bit like going on a first date – when you meet the person sitting opposite you and look into their eyes you either know it’s going to work or you don’t! Is there a connection and does it feel right? Is there a nice spark when you talk to these guys? Do you fire off each other? If it feels right in your gut and the chemistry is working then I’d say the agency could be the right one for you.

However, don’t make your decision based on the chemistry being right between you and the directors of the company ask to meet the entire team. After all how often are you going to deal with the directors – meet the account manager and account executives, go into their offices and spend some time with them – see if there is a buzz about their place. Are the team happy? Do they have time to spend with you – check they’re not stressed out working on too many accounts!

The golden rule is in our office is that no one works on more than 4 accounts – check this out when you talk to the account manager – do they look tired and worn out? If so walk away – you want to be a big fish in a small pond – that’s the reason why we always recommend working with smaller, specialised agencies because they have fewer clients and everyone really matters.

When at the pitching stage ask the all important question about how long the agency retains their clients. If it’s around a year to 18 months don’t touch them. I’d be very interested in why they’ve lost their clients. At Eskenzi we retain our clients for an average of 7 years, most of our clients leave us because they’ve been acquired – that’s our job done – it’s what most companies in our sector are seeking to achieve. If a client only stays for a year or two it’s not a good sign.

To check that the agency have happy and satisfied clients ask if you can contact their clients and make sure it’s you who chooses who the clients are you speak to, not the ones the agency recommend you speak to as they are likely to direct you to only their happy clients not the disgruntled or dissatisfied ones.

To make sure that you instinct is right and the chemistry is there you can ask for a three month trial contract, which means you’re not locked into a long term agreement and it gives both parties time to try out the working relationship. Three months is the perfect time to find out whether the agency are good – you should be getting coverage and interviews with the press within the first couple of weeks and oodles of coverage within the three month trial period. If the coverage isn’t coming in within this time period then you know it won’t happen after this time period.

So in essence choosing an agency is no different to any relationship – you’ve got to like the people you’re working with, that way the ideas and energy will flow. Also make sure you do your research on the agency to ensure they are the right fit for you. Quiz the staff to make sure they are knowledgeable about your subject and space and are energised by your products and services. Finally make sure they are not over-stretched and stressed out. Remember it’s two sided as all good relationships are and communicating regularly is at the heart of every great partnership! So go with your instinct and if you feel the chemistry is right it probably is!