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ScotlandIS Cyber – what’s all that about then?

I am now three months into my new role as Head of ScotlandIS Cyber and it has been a hectic few months where I have had the chance to speak with many amazing individuals and organisations and also meet with some very exciting and interesting cyber security companies. There are still many more to meet with so apologies if you have got in touch and we are yet to meet or have not yet heard from me, do get in touch.

It has been great to get real insight into all the good work that the Scottish Government Cyber Resilience team are doing across all 5 actions plans but the ones I have been most engaged with is the economic opportunity action plan and also the learning and skills. There are so many people and organisations focussed on supporting the cyber ecosystem and improving the skills and development of pupils, individuals and companies. SDS have created some great collateral showing the wide range of courses available to study cyber security and also have completed a cyber security job mapping exercise – check out their Digital World website for info. And they are now starting a pilot looking at re-training veterans into cyber security which I think is such an important area to address, not just veterans but allowing anyone (regardless of gender, age or background) at any stage of their career to re-train into cyber security.

It has also been great to get a better understanding of Scottish Enterprise’s work in cyber security and also SICSA Cyber Nexus, CENSIS, Technology Scotland, NCSC, SCVO and many many more and to start to share insights and collaborate with MaaS Scotland, SBRC, Fintech Scotland and the other Cyber clusters throughout the UK.

I often get asked along the way what exactly a cluster is? Clusters are the geographic concentration of businesses, suppliers and institutions in a particular field. So the cyber cluster is made up of all companies developing, selling or using cyber security products and services or have a key role in cyber security in some way. The overall aim is to enable Scotland and Scottish companies to benefit from the economic opportunity that comes with the increasing demand for cyber security product and services globally.

So what has been happening over the last few months and into the next few? Well it has been a busy period with a send off for Polly Purvis, outgoing CEO and a welcome to our new CEO Jane Morisson-Ross, a rebranding for ScotlandIS, launch of the cluster management part of the organisation and the launch of the Cyber Capability directory – which is the one window to all those cyber security companies based or having a presence in Scotland.

We have also run a number of events or participated in others and I enjoyed delivering my first  conference talk at the FutureScot Cyber Security conference in Glasgow end November which was a great day of sharing insights and knowledge with the public sector and key partners. I also really enjoyed my 2 trips to Aberdeen and the first cyber cluster meeting which was held there – there is a growing cyber community there with a great collaborative and supportive atmosphere, so I felt very welcome. I have my colleague Jen Scott to thank for connecting me into this community there and I look forward to being involved in further events in future there. We also have a number of exciting events planned for the new year with the first cluster member event happening on Jan 30th – details will be confirmed but get the date in your diaries, it will be an opportunity for the cluster to meet, learn about our plans and visions, gain insights from other clusters and share thoughts on what the challenges for the industry are.

And finally thank you to all of you that have made time in your diary to meet with me, it has really helped me to learn more about the cyber ecosystem in Scotland and I look forward to having further insightful and thought provoking meetings over the next few months.

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