RSM, the sixth largest Network of independent audit, tax and consulting Firms focused on the middle market, has today announced the appointment of Nicola McCoy as the organisation’s Chief Information Security Officer.

Bringing over 20 years’ experience to the role, Nicola will lead on the implementation of RSM’s global information security strategy to ensure the organisation’s already high standards, integrity and consistency of polices and systems are maintained across all Member Firms. In addition, she will be responsible for optimising RSM’s cybersecurity defence as threats increase and evolve and will take a leading role in further developing its digital infrastructure.

Joining from Planview, Nicola held the role of Practice Director within the company’s professional services division for over 10 years. There, she acquired a wealth of experience working with FTSE 100 companies, international banks, insurers and defence organisations to enhance key technology governance, architecture, risk and resilience activities, as well as regulatory reporting and enterprise risk management. In the role, Nicola created solutions to support organisations to develop data protection strategies in-line with the European GDPR laws.

Prior to this, Nicola spent over 12 years at PwC where she was a key member of the Global IT Security and Global IT functions. She had various responsibilities which included ensuring that the information security policy and standards were embedded within the organisation’s global technology standards programme and aligned to ISO27001.

By leveraging this extensive experience, Nicola will help RSM Member Firms embed world-leading management system standards as they are published and tailor risk mitigation solutions to suit, ensuring they remain at the forefront of the latest international quality and risk standards.

Working with RSM’s Global Leader in Quality & Risk, Marion Hannon, and Global Chief Innovation Officer, Paul Herring, Nicola will also support several transformative digitisation projects. This includes collaborating with RSM’s global IT, innovation, and quality and risk teams to harness the power of pioneering data analytics solutions, which are being widely used by Member Firms to support clients as they identify business opportunities, unlock value across their operations, and provide a competitive edge.

Furthermore, as the audit profession continues to undergo significant transformation as a result of the implementation of the ICAEW’s International Standard on Quality Management (ISQM), Nicola will lead on key projects that will ultimately help RSM clients comply with increasing regulatory pressure.

Commenting on the appointment, Jean Stephens, Chief Executive Officer of RSM International, said:

“A record number of data breaches were recorded last year - up 68% on the year before. This frightening figure emphasises the importance of an up-to-date and resilient data security strategy, systems and polices. At RSM, we prioritise the safeguarding of our own information, and that of RSM clients. The Chief Information Security Officer is an important role that unifies business and security priorities, and accelerates agile and robust solutions, whilst helping our Firms to navigate the ever-evolving regulatory landscape. We are excited to welcome Nicola to the RSM Team. Her experience, sound knowledge and passion will ensure RSM remains a trusted guardian of strategically important information for many years to come.”

As a global leader in security and risk management, Nicola will complement the delivery of RSM’s internal risk awareness training through RSM’s global learning management system to raise awareness of emerging risks and to share best practice across the Network. This forms part of RSM’s long-term commitment to providing all Member Firms with access to relevant, high-quality resources and tools, which ensures RSM remains at the forefront of exemplary risk standards.

On her appointment, Nicola McCoy, said:

“Over decades, RSM has built an unparalleled reputation for quality and integrity by prioritising the security of client information, which in turn has won the organisation trust amongst the world’s most successful businesses. This endless pursuit of quality and commitment to IT security made this a very attractive role. RSM’s global experts have developed robust and resilient processes and systems that underpin this drive for high standards, and so it is incredibly exciting to join the organisation as new innovative digitisation projects mature and continue to make a positive impact on client operations.

“With regulatory scrutiny at an all-time high, cyber breaches rising at a rapid rate, and the risk of fines and reputational damage threatening businesses all over the world, the need to strengthen information security strategies has never been more important. I’m looking forward to working with RSM’s talented team and leading projects that will mitigate these increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, and allow the organisation’s leading security and data technology projects to accelerate.”