Plexal-run London Office for Rapid Cyber Security Advancement opens for business

The Here East campus on the site of London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The Here East campus on the site of London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

A new centre dedicated to cyber innovation – the London Office for Rapid Cyber Security Advancement (LORCA), has been officially opened at Plexal by Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. LORCA is being delivered by Plexal in partnership with Deloitte’s cyber team and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University in Belfast.

The opening coincides with specially commissioned research by LORCA that reveals more than half of large businesses have suffered a cyber security attack in the last 12 months, while almost a quarter of UK businesses (24%) don’t think their cyber security solutions are fit for their needs.

As the business threat of cyber crime increases, the new study of 500 UK C-Suite executives also reveals that more than half (53%) don’t have a formalised protocol in place for cyber attacks. Most breaches or attacks are via fraudulent e-mails that attempt to coerce staff into revealing passwords or financial information or opening dangerous attachments.

Despite this, the majority of businesses (70%) surveyed said they haven’t purchased a cyber security solution from a start-up company or SME in the last two years. The reasons why they might not seek external specialist help depend on the size of the company: the largest proportion of SMEs (37%) chose awareness of the solution as the key challenge when implementing a new and innovative solution to cyber threats. This contrasts with the larger companies surveyed, where integration concerns were considered the most significant barrier (47%).

Safe from online threats

The Government-funded centre for cyber security innovation will help position the UK as a global leader in the growing field of cyber security and keep the nation safe from online threats.

LORCA will help some of the UK’s brightest cyber security stars across all stages of growth address business challenges and achieve greater impact with their innovative solutions. The ten organisations that will make up its first cohort include B-Secur which specialises in using biometric heartbeat solutions as a means of authentication, as well as for health and well-being purposes.

LORCA has also announced that Lloyds Banking Group will be the first founding partner. As part of its mission to ensure the financial services sector is sufficiently prepared for cyber crime, Lloyds Banking Group will be closely involved in selecting and supporting innovators, over and above Government funding, with a specific focus on cyber security in the financial industry.

Plexal, which operates London’s largest innovation space and specialises in helping high-tech start-ups in Artificial Intelligence, augmented reality and the Internet of Things, will run the £13.5 million innovation centre in Plexal City at Here East on the site of London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

LORCA will be delivered in partnership with Deloitte’s cyber team and the CSIT at Queen’s University, Belfast in a cross-disciplinary team with strategic, entrepreneurial, engineering and cyber security technical skills.

Threat is continually changing

Lydia Ragoonanan, director of LORCA, said: “The threats posed to businesses by cyber attacks are continually changing. We’re proud to be working with industry to understand their needs, with investors who can help develop and scale the solutions at pace and with incredible innovators who are helping to secure the UK’s position as a world leader in cyber security. By bringing all these things together in our new centre we will stay ahead and help British businesses grow and succeed.”

Matt Hancock responded: “Britain’s future prosperity will be based on its digital technology. No technology can work without cyber security so expanding this sector is critical to our future. It’s fantastic to open this new centre where some of our most talented entrepreneurs and innovative companies will develop the cyber security technology of tomorrow. This will boost London’s booming tech sector and benefit businesses across the country. We are investing £1.9 billion to protect the nation from cyber threats, have introduced new laws to strengthen our defences and developed a wealth of free help and guidance for businesses available through our National Cyber Security Centre.”

Gavin Poole, CEO of Here East, added: “The threat of cyber attacks is something that most businesses are familiar with and there’s no doubt that many of them could do more to protect themselves against such an eventuality. Cyber is fast moving and constantly changing and we need to stay ahead of the game. That’s why Plexal creating the LORCA at Here East is hugely important and exciting for us. It will be at the forefront of some of the most fascinating areas in cyber innovation. We look forward to welcoming cyber innovators to our campus and seeing how they will collaborate with the hugely diverse range of businesses already located here.”

Stephen Wray, director of cyber innovation at Deloitte, observed: “We’re supporting clients to solve cyber challenges in over 150 countries. LORCA will connect innovators with these global market opportunities. We look forward to bringing our domain expertise to help amplify the impact of LORCA members for the benefit of the UK economy.”

Academic engagement and thought leadership

Dr Godfrey Gaston, director at the CSIT, commented: “The CSIT is delighted to be a partner in LORCA. We will replicate our unique innovation model to assist the start-up community within the new centre. This will be achieved through our dedicated engineering support and delivery of an academic engagement and thought leadership programme. This is a strategically important initiative and we’re excited to start working with the next wave of UK cyber innovators.”

Sharon Barber, CSO at the Lloyds Banking Group, informed Risk Xtra: “As a founding partner, we are delighted to foster growth, creativity and support cyber security innovators as they mature and scale up their proposition as it goes to the heart of our strategy to help Britain prosper.”

Paul Goswell, managing director of Delancey, explained: “Here East has quickly become the natural home for some of Europe’s most innovative companies. The arrival of LORCA strengthens that even further and enables London to position itself as the global leader in cyber security. As well as making the Internet safer for all, LORCA will create jobs and boost Britain’s reputation around the world as the go-to destination for technology start-ups.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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