“UK must act to fill cyber skills gap” delegates told at 2017 Cyber Security Summit & Expo

The UK must foster a new generation of diverse talent to effectively tackle the cyber security skills challenge. That’s what Mark Sayers, deputy director for cyber and Government security at the Cabinet Office, told delegates at the sold out 2017 Cyber Security Summit & Expo and co-located General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Conference that ran on Thursday 16 November in central London.

Sayers – who oversees the delivery of the UK’s National Cyber Security Strategy – said: “We’re investing £1.9 billion to enhance the UK’s cyber capabilities, and a key part of this involves developing the UK’s skills base in order to meet the increasing demand for cyber professionals.”

Sayers also informed delegates that working internationally to develop effective partnerships is critical when it comes to fighting cyber crime, in addition to the essential need for a shared approach across both the public and private sectors.

This year saw record attendance at the Cyber Security Summit & Expo and co-located GDPR Conference, the UK’s largest one-day event dedicated to vital cyber risk management for the business community. Delegate numbers grew three-fold year-on-year, representing the successful first stage of a strategic growth plan for the event over the coming years. Delegates at this year’s event included CISOs, CIOs, CTOs and COO-level executives from across the public and private sectors.

Sayers’ fellow Summit Keynote speaker Nausicaa Delfas, COO at the Financial Conduct Authority, explained that: “No serious company director can afford to ignore cyber security.”

Rehearse cyber preparedness strategies

Alison Whitney, deputy director for digital Government at the National Cyber Security Centre, urged delegates to rehearse cyber preparedness strategies like they would a fire drill. “Practice what you will do in the event of a breach,” said Whitney. “How would your systems cope?”

Senior business leaders from brands such as Admiral Group, Bupa UK and GlaxoSmithKline attended the event alongside Government policymakers, including those responsible for Critical National Infrastructure, HM Revenue & Customs and the Ministry of Defence.

Sponsored by Egnyte, the co-located GDPR Conference proved to be so popular that sessions were recorded and will be made available to all attendees.

Central role for cyber risk management

Exceptional demand for places at this year’s event reflects the central role that managing cyber risk now plays in any organisation, as did the almost full attendance at all briefings designed to garner knowledge and insights from Government agencies, cyber specialists and leading business experts.

David Roberts, event director at GovNet (organiser of the Cyber Security Summit & Expo), explained to Risk UK: “This year’s record event demonstrated that a cross-sector response to cyber risk and data protection is vital when it comes to tackling the challenge of cyber security. Our pre-conference survey of delegates showed that 72% expected their organisation to become the victim of a cyber attack at some point in the next 12 months, reinforcing the importance of companies of all sizes developing a security culture that includes every employee from the Boardroom down. Sharing experiences about procedures that really work is essential for collectively tackling the varied and complex threats that are now evolving.”

Organised in association with the Government, the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Crime Agency, next year’s Cyber Security Summit & Expo will take place on 15 November at the Business Design Centre in London.

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.

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