- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
A £13.5m cyber innovation centre, in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the London Cyber Innovation Centre, has been announced. The Government suggest it could help create 2,000 UK jobs in cyber security.
Start-up companies chosen for the scheme will work with large firms as they identify cyber security challenges. Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “London is the undisputed leader of European tech, with billions of investment flowing in every year and world-leading firms developing groundbreaking innovations. This new centre in the Olympic Park will build on the site’s legacy of excellence and spark a wave of creativity to develop the cyber security technology of the future and help protect the nation’s industry.”
The new centre will be run by Plexal from its Here East headquarters, and is being funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as part of the Government’s five-year, £1.9 billion spend on online safety. Plexal will partner with the Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queen’s University Belfast, the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) for secure information technologies, and audit firm Deloitte.
The centre will offer tailored support to at least 72 companies over three years and is open to firms from across the UK. Other start-ups not on the programme will also be able to access the centre. Those chosen will get technical and engineering support on cyber security, facilities and mentoring and professional business advice. They will also have access to ‘cyber clusters’ to bring trade and investment opportunities on a global scale.
Claire Cockerton, CEO and founder of Plexal, said: “The UK has a strong heritage in tech innovation and a fertile business environment for start-ups to grow. But our future international standing as a world-leading digitally-enabled economy depends on a robust and forward-thinking cyber security sector. The centre will help this to develop by delivering bespoke business development programmes, engineering resource, professional services, access to corporate buyers and ambitious investors. Our mission is to bring the whole industry together to accelerate innovation, entrepreneurship and business growth for UK PLC.” And Robert Hannigan, former director of GCHQ, said: “The London Cyber Innovation Centre will be the launch pad for a whole generation of new cyber security companies, benefiting both the UK’s economy and its security. By combining academic excellence, expertise in innovation and access to investment, the Centre is uniquely placed to secure this country’s preeminent position in cyber security.”
An innovation centre in Cheltenham opened in early 2017 with the launch of the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator. Seven startups have graduated with a further nine companies taking part.
Paul Farrington, Director, EMEA Solution Architects, CA Veracode, welcomed the Centre. “With news today that cyberattacks against UK organisations are at an all-time high, the need for greater expertise will be crucial in securing the nation’s data and services. However, it is important that industry doesn’t see the cyber skills gap as the Government’s problem to solve – especially as we see security becoming an increasingly prominent part of other technology roles.
“In software development, for example, in 44pc of organisations, the development team are responsible for the maintenance of third-party commercial and open source components. This suggests a move in responsibility for the ongoing management of security vulnerabilities, such as the Apache Struts2 vulnerability that led to the Equifax mega-breach. Even as we’re seeing this shift, our research has also shown that 70pc of developers were not required to complete any courses focused on security when getting their degree. It is crucial that organisations invest in improving the skills of their employees to assure their security of their services and solutions. Providing eLearning can improve security standards by an average of 19pc, for example. Improving the nation’s cyber hygiene is a collaborative effort, and those companies that rely solely on the Government’s investment will find themselves burnt.”