MORE than 150 delegates attended the flagship event of this year’s #CyberFest.

The day-long event was held at Newcastle University’s Urban Sciences Building as part of the month-long #CyberFest, which is focusing on the challenges and opportunities of the cyber security sector.

#CyberFest is organised by regional IT champions Dynamo North East and features various events throughout September at venues across the region.

Key speakers from regional and national businesses joined academics to address the delegates at Thursday’s event.

A director from The National Cyber Security Centre talked about what the government is doing to combat the threat and meet the opportunities arising from cyber security.

Tony Smith from Northumbrian Water explored balancing the demands of its traditional water distribution business and the new demands of a connected customer, and Susan Bell of Waterstons highlighted the challenges of staying secure in a modern and flexible working environment.

Other speakers included Nick Taylor from #CyberFest sponsors Accenture, who looked at the state of the region’s cyber market; Aad Van Moorsel from Newcastle University, who talked about emerging trends in cyber security, and James Holmes from North P&I who examined the real challenges of cyber security in the maritime sector.

Caroline Churchill from Womble Bond Dickinson led a panel discussion on cyber security in a changing world.

Break out sessions were held in the afternoon and included Game of Threats, a head-to-head digital game that simulates the experience of executives when their company is targeted by a cyber attack. Other break out sessions gave basic information and guidance on what to do if your business is attacked, and an exercise on how to protect a fictional company from determined hackers.

Companies and organisations represented at the event included tombola, Sage, Accenture, Waterstons, Newcastle University, The Institute of Coding, North P&I Club, Womble Bond Dickinson, SRM, PWC and Northumbrian Water.

Phil Jackman, Dynamo Cyber Security Lead and one of the organisers of #CyberFest, said: “#CyberFest aims to raise awareness of the North East as a place to address cyber resilience and to educate and inform of the threats and opportunities from cyber.

“We were delighted with the numbers and calibre of people who attended #Cyberfest’s main event – we’ve had some great feedback and there was a real buzz during the day.

“I’m sure the delegates learned something on the day and hopefully made some valuable contacts too. It’s a growing sector and one which the region can play an important and leading role in – we certainly have the expertise as shown by our speakers and panellists.”

Forthcoming #CyberFest events include:

·       September 17 – Evening event at Northumbria University, hosted by Not Equal and North East Initiative on Business Ethics. This event will look at building security into business and dealing with the ethics of cyber security as you grow;

·       September 18 – A local civic cyber resilience event for public sector, hosted by North East ICT Managers;

·       September 24 – Advancing manufacturing event at Alnwick Castle, hosted by Northumberland Estates, Advance Northumberland and Womble Bond Dickinson; the event will look at managing disruption caused by digital technology and the fallout of cyber security as business models are changing;

·       September 26 –  Cyber Skills for App and Web Developers hosted by Sunderland University and Institute of Coding in conjunction with Digital Union.

Book tickets for any of the free #CyberFest events here.

Dynamo was established in 2013 and works to grow the north east’s IT economy through promoting the region as a hub for the enterprise IT sector. It is made up of IT organisations and employers, technology hubs, educational establishments, local government and employer support initiatives.

Phil leads on Dynamo North East’s cyber resilience cluster, which is supported by Accenture, and aims to champion the region’s cyber-security and resilience sector; work with universities to develop cyber research and development; to enhance skills in the sector and to work with law enforcement and other agencies to meet regional and UK-wide cyber security objectives.

Keep up-to-date with #CyberFest events on Twitter using the hashtags #CyberFest and #CyberNorth.

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