• CyberNorth: The Evolution of Cyber Security in the North

    CyberNorth: The Evolution of Cyber Security in the North

    There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by when cyber security doesn’t hit the headlines, and the cyber security threat and landscape is always evolving.

    The attacks are becoming more prevalent and sophisticated, with data breaches and hacks affecting everything from retail to healthcare to finance, recent victims hitting the news include big industry players from British Airways, Boots to the BBC.

    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. The value of strong cyber security has never been higher and CyberNorth, a hotbed for innovation and collaboration in the North East has set out their ambitious plans in the region as it sits in a strong position to further strengthen its reputation and growth trajectory twofold. Under the wings of Dynamo, the remit was to curate a cluster which focussed on making the North East region a centre of excellence in the delivery of cyber-related services. Enter CyberNorth, an innovative driver which focusses on technology, process and people.

    An intrinsic element of the cluster has always been the end goal for CyberNorth who champions the regions voice and forges links between business and SMEs to stand on its own two feet whilst still work closely, consistently, and collaboratively with Dynamo. The time has now come for CyberNorth to take flight and start a new chapter as an independent and successful cluster. Since inception CyberNorth has bolstered the regions cyber security ecosystem and has been on a mission to make a lot of noise to develop the cyber security community and raise local, national and international awareness of opportunities and capacity in the North East. This mission has now come to fruition and CyberNorth have leveraged the regions perception immensely with central government, in particular the Ministry of Justice now recognising the region as a vital player in the UK cyber security landscape.

    September is a big month for cyber awareness in the region as CyberNorth prepares to host Cyberfest, the North East’s biggest cyber security festival which involves a month-long campaign of events in the North East including a Cyber Security and FinTech partnership event with Durham University (21st September), CyberFest Schools Debate (27th September) and a joint event of inspirational insights with Women in Tech in partnership with Womble Bond Dickinson (28th September) (21st September). This will be #CyberFest’s sixth year as the North East’s biggest cyber security festival, and complements the work the team have been doing to raise the profile of the cyber security sector in the region while celebrating its diverse and exciting nature.

    Supported by Aspire Technology Solutions, the theme for this year is ‘Local talent – global ambition’ and the month long events cultivates in an unmissable day on Tuesday 26th September 2023 as the Aspire CyberFest 23 event brings together an audience of cyber security leaders and technology expert speakers, including Charlie McMurdie, former Head of the Police National Cyber Crime unit, Dr Alex Baxendale, Vice President Consulting Expert, CGI, Andy Parsons, Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson and Sarah Armstrong-Smith, Chief Security Advisor for Europe, Microsoft, all under one roof. Full programme of September events available here: https://cybernorth.biz/cyberfest/

    The North East has a stellar roll call of companies blazing a trail across the cyber security landscape, however there is still further potential which remains untapped. The annual #CyberFest invites the cyber business community to come together, to connect, to debate, to explore contemporary issues effecting businesses, to discover new perspectives and to listen and learn. There is also a substantial skills shortage across the industry, global cyber security job vacancies grew by 350 percent, from one million openings in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

    Significant inroads into reducing the cyber security skills gap are in place through government and industry initiatives and CyberNorth have hit 2023 with a host of innovative initiatives to drive the agenda including:

    • The provision of cyber security champions and advocates – as CyberFirst
    • A mentor and buddying scheme
    • Cyber security training and advice for C-suite
    • Better understanding and promotion of the range of cyber security roles

    Phil Jackman, Director, CyberNorth said:

    “The statistics speak for themselves, and it is of paramount importance that we continue to take action to both address the skills gap and level up the cyber security sector across the north. We have done the groundwork and our voice has been heard, the potential and opportunities in the region are immense and we have a substantial plan in place to leverage these opportunities to support the growth and development of the sector in the region.”

    CyberNorth works closely with other sector clusters across the region including FinTech, Space, HealthTech, Advanced Manufacturing and Renewables. In addition to their strong regional presence CyberNorth is part of UKC3, the UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration. In an attempt to level out opportunities across the north CyberNorth have joined forces with North West Cyber Security Cluster and Yorkshire Cyber Security Cluster in collaboration with UKC3 to tackle the lack of investment and development in the cyber security landscape across the North.

    Together they are on a mission to facilitate and level up the divide across the north through the Northern Cyber Clusters Collaboration project, which aims 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. Further information: https://www.cybernorth.biz

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