The UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration (UKC3) have officially recognised the county of Surrey as a cluster within the cyber security sector, with Royal Holloway becoming part of the team.
This cluster will support the growing success and prestige of the sector across the region and will help put Surrey on the map as a key player within the cyber security space.
Surrey County Council’s Economy and Growth team worked closely with senior university and business leaders to develop Surrey’s cyber security cluster offer as part of the newly established Cyber Security Working Group. This project saw the group conducting a review of everything Surrey had contributed to the cyber sector, as well as the growth and potential for the future.
In order to qualify for cluster recognition, Surrey needed to demonstrate several different points, including evidence of supporting cyber sector growth in the region, appropriate governance, ability to deliver tangible impacts and proof that current operations are in line with the Cyber Cluster Operating Framework.
Playing a vital role in supporting growth of the cyber sector throughout the UK, clusters are uniquely positioned with regional focus and highly engaged communities of cyber security businesses.
As well as being home to the highest number of cyber security firms in the UK (outside of London), including major names such as BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, Cap Gemini, F5, CGI, Cisco and VMWare, Surrey also supports the future of the sector, boasting two of the UK’s five Gold Standard Cyber Security Universities - Royal Holloway and University of Surrey.
Royal Holloway’s world class research in cyber security has been recognised by GCHQ and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), one of only three universities in the UK to achieve such status. Royal Holloway is also one of the founder institutions of the International Cyber Security Centre of Excellence. The University of Surrey also has Academic Centre's of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (one of only 19 in the UK).
Mark Pearson, Head of Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise at Royal Holloway, said: “I am delighted that Royal Holloway will chair the Surrey Cyber Security working group and bring our expertise and knowledge of the industry to the group. The opportunity will help the university strengthen its regional and national position in cyber security and provide further opportunity to engage with local companies, with the potential of engaging students in internships and work experience within the cyber security field.”
Rob May, Managing Director of Ramsac added: “I’ve been greatly encouraged by the support and enthusiasm of everyone involved in the Surrey Cyber Working Group. It has been good to see representation from many key organisations in the regions cyber business community, along with academic involvement from Royal Holloway and the University of Surrey and collaboration with ‘Invest in Surrey’, the region’s inward investment service, and the Department for International Trade which will help to promote the regions cyber security offerings internationally.
Unfortunately, cyber security and cyber resilience will never be a destination, this is very much an ongoing journey and collaboration is vital. This is to ensure that as SCSC we can successfully deliver on the strategic priorities working in partnership across the cluster and externally with government, academia, business and other clusters to achieve its goals.”
Developing this cyber security cluster represents an important stage in Surrey’s ‘Plan for Growth’ and involves strategizing based on the priorities of the region as well as collaborating with other clusters to create a national network of knowledge sharing.
Working in this collaborative way will help ensure organisations across the country have the best possible protection from cyber-attack, something that experts like Steve Coburn of Project Five, are highly aware of, adding: “Cyber Crime has long been the number one criminal activity and, as we went through the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no furlough scheme for criminals, so they had to step up their online activity to maintain their income.
“At the same time, we all stayed at home, bought online and, as a consequence, were exposed to increasingly clever scams from these cyber-criminals. So, for Surrey’s cyber-security players to come together and form the Cyber Security Cluster at this time, is an extremely important initiative to promote the industry, and help all businesses and individuals understand the very real threats that we face today.”
As part of Surrey County Council, the Invest in Surrey team are thrilled to be supporting the cyber security cluster, along with businesses of all shapes and sizes from across the region, in order to positively impact and shape the future of business in Surrey.