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A Cyber Cluster Wrap

It’s the final blog of 2021 from our Head of Cyber, Ciara, as she reflects on all of the cluster activities from the past year, as well as the successes of our cluster companies.

I’m getting a sense of deja vu while sitting down to reflect on the past year. Who would have thought that 2021 would have seen such an ongoing impact from COVID-19 and with so much uncertainty still lingering. I feel the one outcome has been that we are all, as individuals and our businesses, more used to working and succeeding despite prolonged periods of uncertainty – but I am also equally aware that this time has not been easy for many and it has been particularly harsh for some individuals and businesses.

However Christmas is usually a time to celebrate and reflect, so despite the challenges, there were still many success stories throughout the year and I wanted to highlight some of them – I can’t cover them all so my apologies if you are not mentioned!!

We have seen a number of our companies pick up awards throughout the year, such as Poly Digi Tech making the DCMS list of UK’s most innovative companies, as well as being recently announced as a Tech Nation Scotland Rising Star winner (one of 5 winners). Ionburst won this year’s EIE competition, which is open to all sectors, and a tough competition to win! Barrier Networks and my 1st Login are finalists for the UK Security Excellence Awards. Adarma were winners at the UK Computing Security Awards for Security Service Provider of the Year, and were also winners in the One to Watch category too. Many of the companies mentioned in the article were also recent winners at the Scottish Cyber Awards of course too!

We had a number of our start-ups and scale-ups successfully apply for innovation programmes such as Strathclyde University having an entry in Cyber ASAP, VistalWorks participating in the NCSC for Start-ups early in the year, and Lupovis has just been announced as one of 4 companies being recently accepted onto this programme. A number of companies are also currently participating in the Cyber Runway virtual programmes such as Memcrypt and CyberShell solutions to name a few.

In terms of investment we saw a number of companies receive significant sums of investment, such as Lupovis receiving £650k, Siccar secured £3m led by Par Equity, and Cyan secured £5m which was also led by Par Equity. Kick ICT secured £8.7m from BGF and will be seeking to expand their existing cyber services as part of their plans for expansion and growth.

We have also seen many of the companies achieve significant growth, for example Amiqus trebled their revenue in the last 12 months, and Adarma and Quorum Cyber both grew their teams significantly in 2021.

We have also seen a number of our companies play a huge role on the UK and international stage such as Cyan who had a significant inclusion in a new article published in the US by the National Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), and Obashi CEO Fergus Cloughley now sits on the International Data Transfers Expert Council. This comes on the back of Obashi being the first Scottish company to be invited to join the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community and its Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2020.

In academia, we saw Abertay University among the first eight UK universities to be awarded gold standard by the NCSC for Cyber Security Education. Edinburgh Napier has been awarded silver standard. Scotland still has claim to the only fully certified NCSC degree which is offered at Edinburgh’s Napier University. We now have 4 Scottish universities with NCSC certified masters courses – Edinburgh Napier, Abertay, Heriot Watt and RGU.

And now for a very brief summary on the cyber cluster activities. We have set up a number of cyber specialism groups across OT/ICS, 5G/IOT and digital identity. The Cyber Innovation Hub business case is now well underway and will be completed in Q1 of 2022. The engagement from so many of you had been amazing and especially thanks to the hub advisory group. Equally a huge thanks to the cyber cluster advisory group, many of whom have been involved for over 2 years now! We created our monthly newsletter in early 2020 (thanks for all the great feedback) and we have run numerous events including community events, market insights, women in cyber, cyber innovation clinics and cyber start-ups clinics – we are hoping we can move some of these to in-person in 2022! And we have spoken – and more recently met – with many of you along the way; always a huge pleasure to learn more about the amazing companies we have in Scotland.

Another highlight was the establishment of the UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration (UKC3) and having a representative from the Scottish cyber cluster on the board. It has been great to help other clusters across the UK and also to work with and learn from the more established ones. Back in Scotland, we were also active partners in the Cyber Scotland Partnership that launched in Feb 2021, and we also set up the Scottish Cluster Ecosystem Alliance (SCEA) which brings together 17 different tech clusters across Scotland to drive collaboration and sharing on all things cluster related! On the international stage we continued to establish relationships with international cyber clusters through Global EPIC and David Ferguson had the pleasure of speaking at the Estonian Cyber and Space conference where he promoted the Scottish cyber sector.

2022 is already looking to be a busy year with a Cyber Runway Scotland event being planned for February 8th and 9th (invites to start-ups will go out soon) and Cyber Scotland Week plans are now well underway – running on the week of 28th Feb 2022. CSW2021 was the biggest yet and we are looking for ways to make it even better in 2022, so do get in touch with any ideas you have. We are also eagerly awaiting the launch of the Cyber Quarter at Abertay and look forward to many visits there throughout the year!

ScotlandIS Cyber would like to wish you all a lovely Christmas and New Year when it comes and hope you all get some much-deserved time off to relax and unwind over the festive period.

Your Cyber Cluster team,
Ciara, David, Eamonn, Amy-Lou

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