Greater Manchester Digital: Going global…one step at a time

By Joanna Munnelly, 12th May 2022

Greater Manchester (GM) Digital have been on the road this week, showcasing our cyber ecosystem at CYBERUK22 in Newport. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) flagship event for the cyber sector, bringing together thought leaders and technical professionals from the UK and beyond.

In Greater Manchester we have a bold ambition to be world leading in global cyber, so the opportunity to connect with an (inter)national audience was not to be missed. Held over 2 days CYBERUK combines plenary and masterclass sessions with exhibitors from across the cyber sector. In an exhibition hall dominated by industry from SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprise) to global brands we were certainly an anomaly, but one that drew much interest.

Held over 2 days CYBERUK combines plenary and masterclass sessions with exhibitors from across the cyber sector. In an exhibition hall dominated by industry from SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprise) to global brands we were certainly an anomaly, but one that drew much interest.

Our stand brought together seven partner organisations to highlight 6 collaborative cyber initiatives, from the Cyber Foundry that catalysed the GM cyber story to the new Digital Innovation Security Hub (DISH). A real example of the government-industry partnership Sir Jeremy Fleming identified as a key future priority.

Opening the event Director of GCHQ, Sir Jeremy underlined the importance of a whole of society approach to cyber, imploring that not only must we protect everyone in our society, but everyone must benefit from the opportunities that CYBER brings. He cited Manchester thriving community and fast-growing tech cluster as an example of a place that embodied this whole of society approach.

We also heard from BT celebrating the industry first partnership they have formed with local organisation CAPSLOCK to re-skill the workforce, calling for greater diversity and echoing the ambitions we hold in GM for inclusive and responsible cyber.

The plenaries and masterclasses were packed with messages that both resonated and inspired, the importance of acting and defending our cyber space as one, the importance of supporting victims of cyber harm, of harnessing imagination to get ahead of those who seek to cause harm.

Alongside stories of practical cyber application, the TryHackMe university dissertation turned into an enterprise through Cyber First, the Ministry of Justice learning how to give prisoners access to tech in a secure way that has made prisons safer.

And the challenges that still lay ahead, the rapid growth of ransomware, the importance of digital trust and the need for privacy by design.

Back at the exhibition stand we connected with colleagues from across the cyber sector.

Meeting some of the GCHQ team relocating to the Manchester, who we look forward to welcoming soon.

Discussing with NCSC and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUCH) colleagues the opportunities for collaborations in the city region.

With industry partners existing and new, some considering relocation to the city other keen to understand what more their business could be doing to support our cyber ambitions.

We came to CYBERUK keen to test if and how a multi-agency ecosystem could take the messages of a city region to a new audience, we came back confident that this is something we can and must do more.

We connected with some of the most exciting and innovative cyber operations in the country, and the Greater Manchester story of doing digital differently was well received by all we spoke to.

See you in Belfast for CYBERUK 2023, but before that we’ll be looking to other opportunities to take GM Digital global!

Those exhibiting with the GMCA Digital team at CYBERUK 2022 were DiSH, MIDAS, Greater Manchester Cyber Foundry, SPRITE+ and University of Manchester Digital Futures.

Find out more on Greater Manchester’s cyber ambitions.

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