There is a cyber cluster tucked away in rural Worcestershire - and it’s making a big impact! Used as a case study in the recent Government report regarding Information Economy in the UK, Malvern and the surrounding Worcestershire area has gained a reputation as a ‘Cyber Valley’ (a nod to the highly successful Silicon Valley in San Francisco). Due to the density of innovative cyber companies in the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster, the area has been named as ‘one of the primary locations in the UK for the research, development and commercialisation of cyber security products and services.’
The Worcestershire area has existing cyber ties through QinetiQ, its proximity to GCHQ, the Malvern Science Park facilities and its links with London’s Tech City, and this has attracted many start-ups and industry professionals in recent years. To bring this wealth of cyber security expertise and innovation together The Malvern Cyber Security Cluster was established in 2011 and now has over 40 member organisations.
Since its conception The Cluster has built momentum and encouraged cyber engagement locally and nationally with coverage by the Telegraph’s Technology News, the PM program of Radio 4 and BBC News. The Demystifying Cyber Security event co-hosted by a group of Cluster members was set up last year to offer free cyber advice to SMEs and following this the first Malvern Festival of Innovation was launched. The Festival showcased innovation and technology produced in Worcestershire and, organised locally by Key IQ, drew in speakers and attendees from across the country.
By offering SMEs advice and exposure to new technologies in this way, The Cluster is contributing to the Government's aim of getting 'UK businesses and organisations, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), confidently using technology...seizing technological opportunities and increasing revenues.' (Information Economy Report June:2013)
Ian Whiting, CEO of Cyber Security Software Company Titania and Malvern Cyber Security Cluster member said, ‘I am pleased that the Government has recognised the importance of Clusters in its Information Economy Report. Without communities like The Malvern Cyber Security Cluster, proactively raising cyber awareness and supporting the training of professionals in the area, Worcestershire’s cyber industry would not be thriving the way it is. It is essential that we continue to work together to attract cyber professionals to the area, and train new ones, if we are to meet our recruitment needs and allow the companies here to achieve their full potential.’
The report acknowledges that, 'Without long term action and planning to address skills shortages, organisations will struggle to recruit the right staff' and that ‘successful clusters help companies attract the best people and investment.’
The Malvern Cyber Security Cluster in particular is working closely with educational institutions, recruitment companies and the LEP to address the need to find and retain a workforce with the necessary cyber skills to drive innovation. Initiatives to this end include the pending launch of an E-Skills program and the continuing recruitment of apprentices and work experience/internship opportunities available to young people.
At Titania we develop cyber security auditing software. We currently provide our flagship product Nipper Studio to global organisations in 40 countries. Nipper Studio allows organisations to produce their own network security audits on network devices without generating network traffic. We have recently launched our new product Paws, (Professional Auditor for Workstations and Servers). This tool enables organisations to produce advanced and intelligent compliance audits on their own network windows based, workstations and laptops.Our customer base is made up largely of organisations in the financial, telecommunications, IT security, and government and defence industries. However any organisation that has sensitive data to protect can benefit from using our network security auditing tools.