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I find myself talking a lot about cybersecurity these days. Sorry but it is occupying much of my time. To be honest, since lockdown I haven’t had much else to distract me, other than my granddaughter of course. 

I’m not a cybersecurity expert by any stretch of the imagination, I couldn’t even claim to have any real knowledge of the subject yet I have ended up leading the regional cluster. I have arrived here by a circuitous route. That doesn’t mean that my skills are not relevant, as I keep saying to anyone who will listen, the cybersecurity industry needs all talents. What I think I have brought is organisation and enthusiasm. 

I feel that we are making real progress, not only at a regional level but, equally importantly at a national level. This year has seen us make strong relationships with the national cybersecurity cluster group, which brings all of the other UK cybersecurity clusters together. It has also seen us grow relationships with organisations that sit on this group and can help us enormously in future. 

As well as the London Office for Cybersecurity Advancement which I already have strong relations with, there are two main central organisations that will help determine whether CyberNorth is a success or not, the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). Again we have been developing close ties with both of these and are recognised by both as representing the region.

For example, we are supporting DCMS in its research of the cybersecurity industry across the UK and working with other clusters on joint events and initiatives. I have also become a CYberFirst Ambassador, to help the NCSC in its programme to bring more young people into the industry. 

Relationships take time to build, as well as a lot of effort. You have to go at the pace that the other party wants to go at, yet in the end it is these that will make the biggest difference to CyberNorth. It may seem that at times nothing is being achieved but when people talk about what is going on across the region in the corridors of power, then something is going right.

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