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This article was originally published on 14 December 2023. 
You can read the original article on the 6point6 website here.



Dan was recently presented a bronze award for ‘Leader of the Year’ by the official English Veterans Awards. Reflecting on his leadership style and transition into corporate life after his military career, Dan explores what it means to be an effective leader and the importance of information assurance in building secure and resilient information systems. 

What I do

I lead the information assurance team, a rapidly growing area within 6point6 that has doubled in size since I joined the business in 2021. The driver behind our team’s exponential growth is the increasing value placed on information assurance, combined with a winning formula for what makes our company a great place to work.

Heading up information assurance includes strategy development, performance management and recruitment. A relentless focus on training and development is especially vital in an ever-changing space filled with new legislation, regulations and trends. Keeping up to date is how we ensure we’re always providing the best advice and support for our clients.

I really value the importance of recruiting ‘less of the same’. Diversity is a lifeline in any business and I’ve made it my priority to create an equitable recruitment process to increase the takeup of women and veterans in my team. I’ve worked with HR to offer HM Forces service leavers a longer lead time of up to one year from accepting the job to starting their new position. This means that we can better support veterans and their families through resettlement, a challenging and stressful time for anyone transitioning into civilian life.

Pull out quote: "Diversity is not a gimmick. It’s the only way to get the best team. That’s why I have developed a flexible model for how we interview and hire. By putting candidates’ needs first, rather than following a one-size-fits-all approach, we attract the brilliant people who don’t fit a specific mould."

A day in my working life

Every day brings new experiences and a different set of challenges - and that is to be expected for a department lead. There is a key component of my work around resourcing, strategy development, quality checks and ensuring my team has the best environment to work in. Another priority is how we fine-tune advice on information assurance so it goes hand in glove with our clients’ strategic and business priorities. Protecting the pillars of information assurance becomes that much more important when you are working with clients running mission-critical programmes.

Information assurance is much wider than you might think. Sitting within information assurance is cyber security as well as physical security risks, data access, privacy and much more. Cyber security might be what everyone is talking about at the moment, but there are sometimes bigger risks that can have far-reaching consequences. The challenge is also how we as consultants communicate the value of engaging with security assurance right from the start of our clients’ projects and programmes so that it forms a foundation of transformation rather than being bolted on at the very end. In part, we do this by challenging misconceptions that information security is about hampering innovation when really it’s about managing risk to exploit opportunities in a safe way.

Career highlights

One of my top achievements has been learning to lead beyond authority and adapt to new ways of thinking. After joining the corporate world, I’ve been inspired by books like ‘Black Box Thinking’ by Matthew Syed and ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek. Our leadership ethos at 6point6 is to influence and inspire people at all levels of the business - even the top brass! Real influence doesn’t come from a job title or where you sit in the organisational chart. It’s about genuine interest and care in how you lead and collaborate with others. 

I am also proud to have developed a space for my team that drives a collective sense of ownership and leadership - facilitating, empowering, engaging and sparking their imagination. How you put that into practice is by building a vision and establishing values together as a team rather than imposing them from the top. This means also giving people space to innovate and make mistakes. Failure should not be a bad word. Imaginative, inspiring and forward-thinking approaches are a product of experimentation. It’s my job as a practice lead to create the right environment where innovative ideas take form.

I’ve also been heavily involved with TechVets, the charity supporting veterans into technology careers. I have recently led the development of a partnership with the charity to support veterans through their transition into civilian careers and further grow our ex-forces community at 6point6.

Pull out quote: "Leading from the front is for the bygone era. In my experience, a more collaborative and empowered approach to leadership produces better outcomes and a happier team. A dispensable leader is also better than a directive one!"

Information assurance is one the best jobs in the world because…

You get to work in an ever-changing threat landscape utilising the newest technology to solve complex problems. It does mean the stakes are high, but a career in information assurance is wide and cross-cutting. Security needs to be a priority on every single transformation project, in every department and in every organisation. As an information assurance consultant, you can be involved in a wide range of large-scale or complex programmes, making a positive impact by effectively managing the risks to your clients’ strategic goals and objectives.

The most important skills our consultants need are people skills - the ability to build relationships, have integrity, solve problems and conduct credible research. From there, the opportunities are endless. A role in information assurance can be a great launchpad to specialise in other roles, like becoming a cyber security architect if you love designing resilient solutions, or a governance specialist if writing policies and procedures is your draw. Information assurance is so vast that no one person can know it all, making it the place to be for anyone who relishes the chance to learn and grow alongside a team of experts.



Dan McCoy

Dan McCoy, Head of Information Assurance

Dan is an experienced leader who inspires and enables his teams to solve diverse and complex problems in dynamic and sensitive environments. A TechVets volunteer and 6point6 Mental Health First Aider, Dan received a bronze award as Leader of the Year in the English Veterans Awards 2023.

Interested in a career at 6point6? Explore our current opportunities or contact a member of our recruitment team.

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