Lancaster University: New cyber network to leverage multi-billion pound opportunity

Lancaster University is supporting the launch of a new network for organisations working in cyber security, following the announcement the government’s National Cyber Force (NCF) will be located in Samlesbury.

The Lancashire Cyber Alliance (LCA) has been set up to foster collaboration among cyber security professionals and is open to organisations including SMEs, large businesses, skills providers and public sector organisations.

The LCA will be officially launched during an event on 22 February focussing on Lancashire’s importance in the North West Cyber Corridor, which takes in GCHQ’s Manchester headquarters, the NCF at Samlesbury, Lancaster University – the only university in the North West of England to be triple accredited for excellence in cyber education and research – and beyond.

Dion Williams, Associate Dean for Enterprise & Engagement and Director of Research, Enterprise & Innovation at Lancaster University, said: “The decision to locate the new National Cyber Force in Lancashire is worth billions of pounds to the local economy and it is important we build on this government investment by creating a thriving regional innovation ecosystem through initiatives like the Lancashire Cyber Alliance (LCA). As with all these types of government investment, there is an imperative for private sector investment to come on board and do its bit to support the levelling up agenda.

“The LCA will be vital in enabling us to put together a picture of where our strengths and capacity lie within the sector, and give us a stronger voice when having discussions with government about the new opportunities on our doorstep.

“This kind of opportunity only comes along once in a generation and it is important we are ready to embrace it when it arrives.”

The LCA will also act as a spoke of the North West Cyber Security Cluster (NWCSC), which already supports the region’s ambitions around the sector. The NWCSC is affiliated to UKC3, the National Cyber Cluster and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The event will be held at the University of Central Lancashire’s new state-of-the-art Engineering Innovation Centre and online – with a welcome address from Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin.

Speakers at the event will discuss how local businesses can make the most of this opportunity and will include a representative from a relevant government department which is planning significant growth in the North West.

Other speakers include:

Dr Daniel Prince – Senior Lecturer in Security and Protection Science at Lancaster University. Dr Prince specialises in Cyber Risk Management and Network Security in complex socio-technical systems, particular cyber physical systems and the financial services sector. He also works closely with organisations to help them understand the economic growth potential of cyber security.
Dr Andrea Cullen – Lead Tutor and Co-founder of CapsLock. Capslock is a highly successful commercial education provider offering intensive training to become a cyber security professional, with the potential to pay only when employed in the industry.
Zain Javed – Co-founder and CTO at Mitigate Cyber, Lancaster. An entrepreneur and technology professional, with over 15 years’ experience in the cyber security industry. With a wealth of knowledge in training, managing and creating cyber security strategies for organisations worldwide, Mr Javed leads a team of experts who conduct red team, social engineering, ethical hacking, penetration testing and vulnerability assessments for clients.
Mr Javed added: “Lancashire Cyber Alliance has been created to provide a voice for the sector regionally and nationally through collaboration, innovation and skills.

“We are excited to launch LCA with a fantastic line up of speakers, highlighting Lancashire’s importance in the cyber corridor, and are passionate to see Lancashire and the cyber sector prosper.”

Speakers will cover topics including:

the extent of the cyber risk faced by businesses and organisations
the need for a diverse, inclusive and skilled workforce
the economic growth potential of cyber innovation
the rich existing cyber talent and businesses
the future of the cyber security sector in Lancashire
Kerry Harrison, project lead for the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, said: “This is a great opportunity for cyber businesses in Lancashire to be at the forefront of developments in the area. Networking can provide excellent business opportunities for all involved.”

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