ICE Technology Services, a UK MSP / IT consultancy, turns 15 in May and as it is our fellow member of theICEway ecosystem, we decided to look back at its origins.

Having turned 5 years old in November 2021, CRIBB and its team are certainly no strangers to a birthday celebration so why not? Besides, the birth of ICE – aka ICE Technology Services, ICE ICT or even ICE Support Ltd. – was rather important to our own history… as we shall soon see.

A conversation with our founders

In October 2019, Conor Byrne and Ian Richardson sat with this very writer to look back at how their partnership began. The original blog was entitled ‘theICEway Ecosystem (Q&A)’ and can be read here. We covered a lot of ground together that day, much of which did not make the final edit. To celebrate ICE turning 15, we decided to go back and see if we could salvage any of those lost words. It turns out that we could, for all three of the IT brands that sit under theICEway’s umbrella. Here then is the most relevant ‘lost’ content to CRIBB Cyber Security.

From ICE to theICEway: Key years

  • The mid-1990’s sees the first teaming up of Conor Byrne and Ian Richardson
  • 2007: Byrne and Richardson form ICE Support Ltd. (later known as ICE ICT, then ICE Technology Services, then ICE)
  • 2014: The pair add eTestware into the mix, thus marking the start of our ecosystem
  • 2016: Next to be added is CRIBB Cyber Security; Conor and Ian start looking for a name for this group of companies
  • 2017: They opt for ‘theICEway’, unveiling this new brand at…
  • 2020: Seatrade Cruise Virtual!
  • 2022 onwards: With a Globe Travel Award 2022 nomination for innovation, this year is looking very bright indeed

ICE paves the way for CRIBB

When we sat together 3 years ago, our Q&A session started with reflections from Conor and Ian’s very first meeting. To read more about that, we’d recommend you check Ian’s blog on theICEway’s origins. Our conversation took in the evolution of ICE, the cruise industry and a new IT security solution they had just launched: ‘CRIBB Maritime Cyber Assurance’. Otherwise known as ‘CMCA’, this security framework from CRIBB Cyber Security was designed specifically for cruise. Both Conor and Ian were very excited to launch it and in an upcoming blog we’ll look at how that went. For now though, we’re concentrating on the birth of ICE and what that meant for CRIBB. Without ICE, would CRIBB have still come to fruition? As MD, Conor was perhaps best-placed to answer that.

Conor Byrne (CB): ICE Support Ltd., or ICE as it became more commonly known, gave us a platform to develop our offering. We worked on technology projects, application managed service and more. We had always wanted to grow ICE by building out certain areas. Cyber security was a key one, even 15 years ago. Internet uptake grew exponentially in the 2000’s and cyber-criminals began to take note. I remember that cloud technology was being embraced when we started ICE in 2007 as well. Anti-virus software was launched early on in the decade and that began to evolve to cover greater threats.

Ian Richardson (IR): We’d always been huge proponents of adopting a proactive stance. As ICE grew, we knew our offering would need to grow too. We’d envisioned having the ability to provide end-to-end IT services, which meant we’d need to incorporate cyber security but also things like software testing.

Security by design

CB: The ecosystem philosophy was always in our thinking so founding CRIBB Cyber Security in 2016 was a very natural step. Would we have done so without having built up ICE? I think we would have attempted something, maybe started a different UK IT security company. One with less scope I imagine, because having worked with so many clients we could see the breadth of cyber security-based services that were required.

So we set CRIBB up as a certification body with the full backing of the UK Government. We partnered with the IASME Consortium and developed our expertise across a range of IT security disciplines. On every project we would work hard to make clients cyber aware and CRIBB became integral to our fledgling ecosystem.

IR: ICE Technology Services, ICE ICT, ICE Support Ltd. – whichever incarnation, cybersecurity was always a crucial element. So the path from ICE to theICEway was a very natural one to us, especially so when we added eTestware. This ecosystem is there to offer guidance and support from start to end. That was the vision in 2007 and it is still very much the vision now. Albeit with a lot more services, solutions and products – none of which we could provide without our fantastic teams.