An innovative collaboration of cyber security experts from across three regions has joined forces to tackle the lack of investment and development in the cyber security landscape across the North.
Cyber security is a necessity across every business and the high-growth sector is on an upward trajectory with annual cyber security revenue in the UK now estimated at a huge £10.1 billion, an increase of 14% in the last year alone. However, when it comes to the North/South divide the statistics are a cybercrime in themselves with recent statistics citing cyber security investment in the southern regions accumulated to £982.4 million, falling very short was the Northern regions with just £8 million investment.
With a clear mission to facilitate and level up the divide three cyber security clusters in the North – CyberNorth, North West Cyber Security Cluster and Yorkshire Cyber Security Cluster have come together with UKC3 in commissioning the Northern Cyber Clusters Collaboration project, with the aim to better understand cyber security assets and key cyber security players in the Northern regions and to develop ways for them to work together to increase visibility and to elevate growth and opportunities in the sector.
The cyber security threat and landscape is always evolving, and attacks are becoming more prevalent and sophisticated, with data breaches and hacks affecting everything from retail to healthcare to finance. Recent research cited that cyber attacks on UK organisations surged by 77% in 2002, with the UK education sector alone seeing a 257% increase in attacks compared to 2021.
There are approximately 1,800 firms within the UK providing cyber security products and services, and 52,700 people employed full-time in cyber security-related roles. Unfortunately, though the statistics expose that the sector is not growing at the same rate across the country, with the North severely underrepresented.
Through the collaboration, the clusters are seeking to understand what can be done to create strong ties, develop relationships and nurture collaboration that will see individuals, organisations, communities, sectors and the economy throughout the North of England benefit. Through a digital survey and a series of events in Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Newcastle upon Tyne, Durham, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, Scarborough, Leeds, Sheffield and York, the team will gather insight in a move to facilitate a stronger force on the ground in the North.
Phil Jackman, Director, CyberNorth said:
“We are delighted to join forces with our Northern cluster counterparts to work more closely and to implement a focused and proactive approach to collaboration. The statistics speak for themselves, and it is of paramount importance that we take action to level up the cyber security sectors across the three regions.”
Through the survey (which is now live) and the regional events, the Northern Cyber Clusters’ Collaboration project aims to gather key contributions from cyber security organisations, communities and professionals to find out what they want out of the cluster collaboration across the North of England, and how they see the clusters progressing in the future.
The cyber security industry continues to be one of the fastest growing economies in the UK, and in the North, there is the drive to grow the sector across the regions and to position the North as a great and safe place to access cyber security expertise, with a host of key organisations such as NEBRC, Universities, Mayoral authorities, Space and Satellite Applications and Offshore Renewables Energy Centre pushing a united profile. Key players in the Northern regions include Waterstons (one of only 21 organisations to receive Certified Cyber Consultancy status from the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Accenture and Sapphire which shows the capacity and opportunity to further develop and increase visibility of the sector in the North.
The employment market continues to be a talking point in 2023, especially in terms of recruiting and retaining talent in the regions. The Southern regions of South West, London and South East have an estimated 53% of UK based cyber security employment, while the Northern regions North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, and North East have just 16%. Plus, the average advertised salaries for cyber security roles in the Southern regions are £11,500 higher than in the Northern regions (£62,500 versus £51,000).
The UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration exists to support Cyber Clusters in their mission to drive economic growth in the sector. This is done through funding and by enabling opportunities for networking, knowledge exchange, sharing of best practice, and identification of opportunities for regional and ultimately national growth. As a national body, the UKC3 works across public, private sectors, and academia and provides a single entity for organisations wishing to engage with the UK Cyber Cluster community.
Linda Smith, UKC3 Chair, UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration said:
“We welcome this collaborative and focused initiative to tackle and redirect more resources to underrepresented regions. Findings from the UK Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2022 have highlighted the strong discrepancies in the Northern regions which we need to work together to address.
There are an increasing number of key businesses and experts working across the Northern regions, and we would urge companies and individuals to come forward to engage with this collaborative project, and we look forward to working with the clusters to drive this forward.”
The survey is now live: https://ukc3.co.uk/northern-cyber-clusters-collaboration-project and the Northern Cyber Clusters Collaboration project are urging anyone from the North East, North West or Yorkshire cyber security sector, be that sole traders, SME’s, to multi-nationals from academia to private to public sector to get involved and help level up the North.
To follow the project and find out more: https://ukc3.co.uk/northern-cyber-clusters-collaboration-project/