The South West Cyber Security Cluster (SWCSC) and the Force prepare to hold a joint cyber-security conference, bringing together experienced and qualified cyber security experts.
The news comes as the SWCSC and the Force prepare to hold a joint cyber-security conference at the Exeter Science Park on 6th December, bringing together experienced and qualified cyber security experts as well as some of the region’s most influential business people and representatives from trade bodies, such as the Federation of Small Businesses.
The Cluster, based at the Exeter Science Park Centre, is made up of specialists from the South West working in the field of cyber security. It is a not-for-profit organisation, with the sole aim of supporting businesses and sharing best practice.
Devon and Cornwall Police, is joined by the likes of the University of Exeter, Plymouth University and the Devon and Cornwall Business Council as members of the Cluster.
The SWCSC was founded in February 2015 and is a unique collaboration setup to raise awareness of the cyber threat landscape, offering free advice and support to businesses to protect themselves from cyber threats such as hackers and online fraud. The Cluster is part of the UK Cyber Security Forum, a national initiative set up to connect cyber security firms working across the UK.
Chair of the SWCSC and co-founder of a local cyber security company also based at Science Park, Roz Woodward explains:
We founded the South West Cyber Security Cluster in order to help raise awareness of the increasing risk to business and to set-up a support system for local business people. 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.
SWCSC steering group member Geoff Revill added:
There are a number of highly qualified and experienced cyber security specialists in the south west. Having worked in this industry for a number of years, we felt a need for an independent body to raise the profile of cyber security issues and help the region’s businesses and organisations take steps to counter the threats. With the support of the Devon and Cornwall Police and Exeter Science Park, we offer free advice, events and expertise to help businesses understand how they can protect their data and their reputation.
Joining the event will be Devon and Cornwall Police Crime Reduction Team Leader Bob Bunney. Bob will discuss the Police force’s role in the Cluster and its cyber-crime prevention work. Bob said:
Devon and Cornwall Police is pleased to be working with the South West Cyber Security Cluster (SWCSC) 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.
We are hearing more and more about ‘cyber attacks’ that lead to financial or credibility loss e.g. hacking, phishing and ransomware. As more and more people become aware of and use technology, the more cyber related crime is becoming more frequent, increasingly complex and with economic impact at a local regional and national level. Internet and digital related crime has a consequence for people and businesses, and the people associated to them, including staff, customers and stakeholders. Why then would anyone not take an interest in reducing the risk they or their business is open to.
Cyber risk will not go away. It cannot be stopped but it can be mitigated. This is why Devon and Cornwall Police support the principles of the South West Cyber Security Cluster. We can do this because it is a ‘not for profit’ collaboration of business representatives who are professionals in their field, covered by an agreed Terms of Reference setting moral standards and clearly defined objectives.
Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez will also be speaking at the event, discussing her role in the region’s cyber security landscape and supporting local individuals and businesses in keeping safe online.
The escalation in the scale and scope in cyber related crime is evident. Barely a week goes by without a substantial new cyber-attack receiving national coverage. It is important that the business community recognise the threats to their operations posed by these attacks and take simple steps to protect themselves, their customers and clients.
As Police and Crime Commissioner of Devon and Cornwall, I am pleased to endorse the South West Cyber Security Cluster and the proactive approach it is taking to work with the business community to protect businesses from attack.
The event will also have short presentations from a number of the region’s cyber security experts detailing some of the latest threats and steps businesses can take to protect themselves. Speakers include Sham Miah from Webroot and Kate Doodson and Durgan Cooper of the SWCSC.
Roz Woodward continued:
The launch of the South West Cyber Security Cluster is 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.