NorthInvest’s first Cyber Security Summit shines spotlight on data protection and security trends.

by Charlotte Scott|23rd February 2019

“Be the change you want to see in the world”. If you want to build a stronger, more secure business, start at the top.”  Mahatma Gandhi.

On February 13th, not for profit business catalyst NorthInvest and Digital Leaders hosted its first ever Cyber Security Summit at the University of Leeds Business School.

Attendees were joined by guest speakers Prof. Adam Beaumont, founder of aql and NorthInvest, Melanie Oldham, CEO of Bob’s Business, David Rogers CEO of Copperhorse, Gary Hibberd CEO of The Agenci and Mike Nelsey, Director of Risk Operation at KPMG.  Robin Knowles of Digital Leaders chaired the panel discussion.

All of the speakers delivered lively presentations around the latest trends within cyber security with over 80 attendees leaving the event inspired to transform their business security online and more aware of the solutions they could implement to foresee and negate dangers online.

According to the PwC Global State of Information Security Survey 2018, the business impact of cyber-attacks is increasing. At the same time, more than a quarter of companies (28%) do not know how many breaches they have had.

In an increasingly interconnected world, we as consumers are more susceptible to cyber attacks, so security should be at the heart of everything we build and and do online. ‘In this day and age, especially with GDPR in force, data breaches can be catastrophic for brands. We’re seeing more businesses targeted; look at BA who had a hacker swipe the details of 380,000 customers over a 16-day period. Curry’s Digital has also been hit this year, Superdrug too. A breach can happen to anyone and that’s why it’s so important that we raise awareness through events. Understanding how to deal with a threat before it happens is crucial to business reputation and longevity.’ Cited UK Fast CEO Lawrence Jones MBE.

Gary Hibberd, Managing director of The Agenci commented, ‘It’s great to see so much interest in our Cyber universe from such a diverse audience.  The panel gave some great insights into our digital universe, and the challenges before us. But my key takeaway was that whilst we rely on technology, we can’t forget the human side of it to. From training and awareness, to user-interfaces, and to leadership. Technology is the vehicle. But people are the drivers.’

Mike Nelsey, KPMG said, ‘I was delighted to be a part of the event. It illustrated the depth and breadth of talent in the North.  The panel selected illustrated the diversity of organisations bringing their expertise to the challenges we face in the increasingly complex cyber world we live and work in.’

Melanie Oldham, CEO of Bob’s Business outlined the human aspects of cyber, her five key takeaways were:

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Human issues need to be addressed with humanity.
  3. Don’t underestimate the importance of compassion.
  4. Encourage open, honest and transparent communications.
  5. Breakdown barriers to build trust.

NorthInvest and aql founder Prof Adam Beaumont’s takeaway of the evening for businesses was to “take advantage of what’s out there, do the work to find the information and support services provided through the government, there’s a lot of free advice and support if you know how to look for it!” Adam’s predictions for future cyber security included ‘everyday behaviour being used to authenticate your identity. All this stuff is data and you can build up trust data.’ That is definitely more secure than using a password!

NorthInvest founded by Prof Adam Beaumont is dedicated to building a stronger and more connected tech investor and startup community across the North of England.  We see early stage funding as fundamental to this and have created a not-for-profit, socially aware organisation which connects investors to tech founders spanning many different areas of expertise.

By building diverse sector conversation and hosting regular public events we are bringing  together a wide range of sector community members to discuss technical, financial and regional strategy approaches, whilst actively supporting and championing diversity in the Tech start-up ecosystem. The North is a an outstanding tech hub, making a real difference in many people’s lives and we look forward to welcoming you to one of our events in the near future!

Link to Photo album.