A flourishing cyber security ecosystem in Wales.
With a membership of over 2,000 that spans the whole country, Cyber Wales is a representative body with the aim of being the Heart and the Voice of the cyber communities in Wales.
- The Heart - because very few people or organisations really understand Cyber.
Not all "Technology" or "Digital" is Cyber and not all Cyber is "Technology" or "Digital" and bleeding these communities together causes confusion and handicaps growth. Thankfully, we have a deep pool of cyber experts who can cut to the heart of the matter and focus their attention where it should be – the cyber threat. More than half of ALL crime is now cyber dependant or cyber enabled and the threat is growing every day.
- The Voice - because too many people and organisations claim to speak for Cyber.
Bad cyber advice is worse than no cyber advice at all because people will believe they are protected when they are not. Thankfully, we have the National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ) sitting at the head of the ‘Severn Valley Cyber Launchpad’ on the Welsh border. NCSC are recognised as being one of the best sources of cyber capability and intelligence in the world and, combined with assistance from DCMS, DIT, FCO, TechUK, other UK clusters and global partners Cyber Wales are able to gather and share vast amounts of advice and guidance.
Cyber Wales is a registered CIC and the Management Team, the Cluster Managers and the Steering Committee all strive to provide a platform for Members to find Guidance, share News, ideas and best practice, to encourage collaboration through Clusters, Events and Competitions and to identify Opportunities for the cyber Communities in Wales to thrive and grow.
There are currently 9 Clusters in the Cyber Wales Ecosystem which are friendly, open and collaborative gatherings, with Welsh cakes for all, not how most people would picture the supposedly secretive cyber security industry. However, this kind of informal collaboration is essential because, if we do not all work together to share knowledge and find new ways to fight cyber attacks, we won’t be able to combat them.
In 2014, the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster, a monthly meet-up for anyone involved in cyber security was formed to provide a forum in which people could discuss industry issues face-to-face and this prompted the discovery of a wealth of cyber security expertise in the region.
The movement grew rapidly with cyber security people and organisations formed out of the electronic warfare and military intelligence units in Wales, large government data-crunching organisations, international cyber primes and large finance companies with specialist cyber teams who all came forward to contribute from right across Wales. Within a year the North Wales Cyber Security Cluster was formed to cater for the extensive cyber community north of the mountains.
These two geographic Clusters were followed by subject-specific Clusters including:-
- Capture the Flag Cluster (using gamification to accelerate cyber skills learning)
- Education & Training Cluster (universities, colleges, schools and training companies)
- Women in Cyber Wales Cluster (including encouraging girls to take up cyber)
- Critical National Infrastructure Cluster (including industrial control system and IOT)
- Data Protection Cluster (prompted by GDPR and the fresh laws in every country)
- IP Wales Cluster (advice to protect the innovations of small tech businesses)
- Middle East Cluster (Welsh companies running cyber sessions for Middle East organisations)
All of these groups are nurtured and promoted by Cyber Wales Group C.I.C., a not-for-profit umbrella organisation which has built up a globally recognised brand, without any funding from any source.
In just six years, Cyber Wales can point to many real-world successes. New companies have been formed to take innovative ideas to market and joint ventures have grown out of members meeting at Clusters. In 2017, Cyber Wales was invited to become a Founding Member of GlobalEPIC, the ‘Ecosystem of ecosystems for Partnerships & Innovation in Cyber’, that today includes 30 cyber ecosystems in 18 countries spanning 6 continents.
Having memorandums of understand and collaboration with more than 30 international partners provides unparalleled access to cyber expertise and resources. As an example of how this global collaboration works, each country’s ecosystem undertakes to provide a “Soft Landing” to help any other members who want to set up businesses or research projects in a different country, helping with mentoring, desk space and introductions to key players. Already, cyber businesses from Japan, Israel and the UAE have used the programme to establish a presence in Wales and Welsh companies have established themselves in Canada and the Middle East.
This recognition organisations at home and abroad helps people to realise that they don’t need to go to London to find cyber security experts. There is a real ‘field of diamonds’ right here in Wales when it comes to cyber. So, if you want to learn more about careers in cyber, how to better secure your organisation and/or grow your cyber business then Come to Wales!