29 Aug

Cyber security boost as cluster launches to support SMEs and local firms

DMU Headshots. Ismini Vasielou

A new cyber cluster has been launched to support SMEs across the East Midlands in the cyber security industry to help the sector grow and boost the region’s economy.

Backed by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and endorsed by the UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration (UKC3), it will create networks and collaboration between cyber security companies across the East Midlands.

Its three founding directors are De Montfort University Leicester’s Dr Ismini Vasieliou, David Nicholls, MD of Better IT, and Phil Harding, director of CyRisk. 

The collaboration is one of several projects that form the second phase of the LLEP’s Digital Skills Partnership, funded by £90,000 of Government investment. 

By mapping the ecosystem and hosting events, the East Midlands Cyber Cluster will bring together people and companies working in cyber, whether it be products or services, across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Northants.

The cluster aims to boost collaboration by mapping the current ecosystem and hosting events and training sessions such as masterclasses.

It will help support activities to address the digital skills shortage, promote the region’s cyber expertise and showcase innovation at a national level.

Phoebe Dawson, LLEP Chief Executive, said:

Ensuring local businesses are cyber secure is incredibly important. 

This project is enabling companies to become as resilient as possible and lower the threat of cyber attacks whilst also upskilling the local workforce.

I would encourage local businesses to engage with EMCSC and explore the other programmes on offer as part of the Digital Skills Partnership.

The East Midlands has among the country’s lowest levels of cyber security companies, despite producing thousands of graduates from cyber security and computing courses every year.

One of the aims of the cluster is to look at ways of retaining graduates by making sure they are aware of the career opportunities which exist in the region.

Dr Ismini Vasieiliou, Associate Professor in Information Systems at DMU, said:

The East Midlands Cyber Cluster will be a key pillar in supporting the East Midlands Economy, promoting strong partnerships between cyber security businesses so we can build upon and grow our cyber ecosystem.

We want to have a positive impact on the region’s economy and help create a talent base that will  support innovation and skills, and we’d encourage cyber companies to get in touch.

By building cyber security knowledge, skills, infrastructure, and capabilities the cluster plan to support local businesses to become more resilient to cyber-attacks.

The new cyber cluster will complement East Midlands Chamber’s work with the Leicester Skills Improvement Plan to give employers the best access to information on where to upskill and train their staff, and access the best talent.

David Nicholls, MD of Better IT, said:

Working with SME’s in our region means I get to see the disruption and longer-term impact of cybersecurity incidents up close.

I am delighted to be involved with the EMCSC as it gives the East Midlands an independent platform to educate businesses and collaborate to improve cybersecurity skills and standards.

Linda Smith, Chair of UKC3 and Strategic Advisor to Midlands Cyber, said:

UKC3 is delighted to acknowledge the formation of the East Midlands Cyber Security Cluster and to welcome all future members into the wider national ecosystem.

This important sector economic representation for the region will provide many new opportunities for collaboration and growth.

Find out more about EMCSC