A rainy evening in Sunderland

Image thanks to Sunderland Echo

We’re trying hard to get people back to in-person events but understand that being online has to be part of the mix. That’s why we are working hard to provide some form of low cost hybrid option for CyberNorth’s events. With Andi’s help (from OWASP) we thought we had cracked it but somebody was trying to tell us something different. 

Holding CyberNorth’s last meetup of the year in the centre of Sunderland turned out to be quite a challenge. To start off we had had rain over the previous few days of biblical proportions and we chose the same night that the Christmas lights were being turned on. (I didn’t get the memo).  The lure of former Sunderland AFC striker and club legend Kevin Phillips was perhaps more than we could compete with.

Having arrived at Virgin Money’s branch in Fawcett street, I learned that our main speaker was unable to come due to illness and that another was stuck on the Metro some distance away and would not be able to make it either. But faint hearts never won a fair maiden and so we vowed to carry on with a bit of jiggling around with the agenda. By the time we got going there were a dozen or so on site and more than that online and so not a bad audience after all.

Graham was up first to give us an update on the Cyber Resilience Guide for Business Managers that he has been working on since the Northumbrian Water Group Innovation Festival. I followed this with an update on our involvement with the CyberFirst programme to bring more young people into the sector. Thankfully Danielle was able to stand in and gave an introduction to the shared cyber security apprentice scheme we are hoping to develop. This certainly sparked off a lively and encouraging conversation which took us to the break.

It was at this point that we had problems with the tech. Unbeknown to us our licence only allowed an hour of transmission, by which time it was too late to let everyone know and so the second half was not broadcast yet thankfully recorded.

Those on site got to hear where we are with CyberNorth and our upcoming plans. This and some questions posed on Slido again led to some interesting discussions and it was a shame not everyone was around to take part.

Getting the balance right between in-person and online is still a challenge. I am persevering as I am convinced that there is no substitute for having people together in the same room, especially if you need feedback. What we tried this time worked in part yet there are lessons for the next time.

It was still a great event and thanks to Virgin Money for its support.

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