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South west cyber meet

South west business people, Devon and Cornwall Police, and the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez came together at an event at the Exeter Science Park on Tuesday, December 6, on cyber-crime.

The day was organised by the South West Cyber Security Cluster (SWCSC) alongside Devon and Cornwall Police. Discussed were prevention techniques and cyber security regulations, with a speech from Alison Hernandez. She introduced the SWCSC and her role in the region’s cyber security landscape through supporting individuals and businesses to stay safe online.

Members of the SWCSC spoke about the ways that businesses can use to mitigate or respond to online threats and fraud, the regulatory imperatives and best practice. Pictured are Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez and the chair of the SWCSC based at Science Park, Roz Woodward. Roz says: “The aim of the Cluster is and has always been to raise cyber security awareness and best practice. It’s not about scaring people, it’s about arming them with the knowledge they need to better protect themselves.

“We know that 74 per cent of businesses and 90pc of major businesses had a cyber security breach in the past year. We can’t eradicate the threat, but there are simple steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of becoming victim to online crime and attendees at the event have gone away with ideas that can be implemented at any business to reduce threat levels.”

The Cluster, based at the Science Park, off junction 29 of the M% on the outskirts of the county town, is made up of specialists from the region working in the field of cyber security. As a not-for-profit organisation, the Cluster seeks to support businesses and prevent cyber-crime in the region. The SWCSC was founded in February 2015, and is part of the UK Cyber Security Forum, set up to connect cyber security firms across the UK. Devon and Cornwall Police are officially supporting the Cluster as are the University of Exeter, Plymouth University and the Devon and Cornwall Business Council.

Roz added: “High profile hacks such as TalkTalk, Yahoo and Three Mobile have helped to bring cyber security to the forefront of people’s minds, but often, businesses aren’t aware of the changes they can make to improve security or who to approach for independent help. Hosting this cyber-security event was the first step in gathering the regions experts and setting the south west as a leading location in cyber security awareness, practice and expertise. We will continue to host regular events and offer online advice and one-to-ones with any businesses needing some extra advice. All of our services will be free and impartial.”

Devon and Cornwall Police Crime Reduction Team Leader Bob Bunney spoke of the police’s role.

Bob said: “Devon and Cornwall Police support the South West Cyber Security Cluster in contributing to the National Cyber Security Strategy which sets out a plan to make Britain confident, capable and resilient in a fast-moving digital world.

“Cyber-crime is a very serious and real threat to businesses worldwide. We are hearing more and more about ‘cyber attacks’ that lead to financial or credibility loss, which is why it’s so important that we ensure businesses are aware of the threat landscape and fully equipped to manage these ‘attacks’. The cyber-security conference was an excellent opportunity and has already led to requests from local businesses for help and advice which we welcome. The event has helped us and the Cluster reach out to local businesses and raise awareness of the potential pitfalls that faces all of us when we use technology and the internet.”


For more about the Exeter Science Park Centre visit


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