August 19, 2020 @ 10:04 by Alison Cowie
A North East digital festival is returning next month, aimed at promoting and growing the region’s cybersecurity sector.
The third annual #CyberFest is again being organised by regional tech network Dynamo, with support from global professional services company Accenture, and is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund.
Last year #CyberFest hosted six events around the region, which were attended by more than 600 people.
This year’s free event will be online, allowing more small and medium-sized businesses from the North East to take part.
There are ten events planned between September 4 and 29. Events will cover a range of cyber security-related topics and the month will culminate in the unveiling of a speciallyn commissioned, cyber-related piece of art.
Phil Jackman, Dynamo cyber security lead and one of the organisers of #CyberFest, said: “Cyber security is an existential threat to businesses with many being hacked, disrupted, held to ransom, fined or simply letting their customers down due to lax online security.
“It is not just the big companies that have been targeted. Last year saw a change in the size of companies under threat, with attacks targeted at smaller businesses. According to the Federation of Small Businesses more than 60 per cent of SMEs have been hit in the last year, resulting in substantial recovery costs.
“Meanwhile, COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. Most businesses have moved to at least some trading online, with many of their people working remotely from home. With so much to think about in keeping their businesses alive, eyes have been taken off the ball when it comes to cybersecurity. There has been a significant increase in the number of attacks during the pandemic, both attempted and successful.
“So there is plenty to talk about and explore at #CyberFest, which has not been immune to global issues – this year we’re not going to be able to meet physically and instead all the events will be held online.”
Jo McGovern, Accenture’s UK ATC and tech regional operations Lead, added: “Accenture is delighted to be working alongside Dynamo again this year to support #CyberFest 2020. Now more than ever the security of our clients and data is of paramount importance. Developing a robust and collaborative cyber security community here in the North East is key to future business growth and career opportunities for the region.
“Building a thriving hub of awareness and activity around cyber security requires input from all sectors including corporates, SMEs and our academic providers – #CyberFest is the perfect platform to bring all of these strands together.”