Tried, Tested and Proven


On Friday 30th January 2015 the White Hat Ball celebrates its 10th anniversary.

For those not aware of its origins, the Ball began on the current chairman’s birthday in January 2005 when Marcus Alldrick, CISO at Lloyd’s of London, asked the assembled      company at his birthday dinner how the Information Security industry could do more for charity. SC Awards had recently dropped the charity raffle from their annual bun fight,    and thereafter Marcus set up a steering committee of likeminded colleagues, soon after which The White Hat Ball was born.

Why White Hat? Well, this is an Internet idiom adopted to signify an ethical hacker or computer security expert, and takes its derivation from the old black and white cowboy movies where the good guys wore white Stetson hats and the bad guys wore black ones, so that movie goers could easily determine which side the various characters were on.

From the start, the aims and objectives of the White Hat Ball were twofold: to raise as much money as possible for charity, and have a lot of fun doing it. Now, ten years down the line, the Ball is a major event in the industry’s calendar and enjoys the loyal support of an ever growing community – and this year’s will be the largest ever, with 700 guests attending the event at The Lancaster Hotel in Kensington.

The White Hat Ball raises money for ChildLine, and its founder – the recently ennobled Dame Esther Rantzen – will be this year’s guest of honour. Other supporters attending include Nicholas Parsons of ‘Just A Minute’ fame, Christine Hamilton (‘Celebrity Masterchef’ and ‘I’m A Celebrity…’) and Graham Coles, the erstwhile copper from Sun Hill Police Station in TV’s ‘The Bill’

Portcullis’ involvement in White Hat events began eight years ago, at which time we offered our support by purchasing two tables and inviting our clients and friends to join us. We now have four tables each year and the tickets are much sought after. We have donated auction prizes, sponsored various packages and successfully bid in the live auction (care must be taken however to avoid a potential conflict of interests in this last respect, with Clive Room, our Marketing Manager, having filled the role of auctioneer for the last few years). Clive has served on the main White Hat organising committee for the last five years and has been charged with upping the “wow factor” in terms of year’s special anniversary – so if you’re not impressed, you know who to blame!

Portcullis has supported a further White Hat event since its inception, namely The White Hat Rally. In 2009, the first rally was organised – beginning in London, destination Turin – and was themed around the classic 60’s movie ‘The Italian Job’. Portcullis won the prize for Best Dressed Car (in fact, each year since, we have entered a team and are the proud owners of an unbroken record of winning the prize every year – so the pressure is certainly on the Portcullis Rally Team of 2015!).

During the past ten years, White Hat events have raised over a million pounds for charity, and the hope is to raise £150,000 at this year’s ball alone, which would break all previous records. Portcullis is very proud to be associated with this, and we are happy to continue our support over the years to come.

We wish all those taking part a wonderful evening, and congratulate those responsible for creating such a great event.

Blog by Clive Room