Increasing cyber skills and collaboration between agencies such as CGI are the key to keeping daily life – and the state – secure 

This week has seen experts from across the UK converge on Glasgow to look at the future of protecting our security online.

As any of us who regularly use the internet know, staying safe is vital, from the banking app on our mobile phones to threats to our national security through potential cyber attacks.

Cyber Scotland Week, an initiative between the Scottish Government and ScotlandIS, the trade body for digital technologies, was the first of its kind and brought together UK-wide government bodies and companies at events looking at not only cyber resilience and the future of the industry itself, but also the diverse range of careers in the industry.

CGI already has more than 5,000 employees across the UK, with Richard Holmes, Head of Cyber Security at CGI, looking after around 200 on a specialised cyber crime team.

CGI has clients across government agencies, from national level to local authorities as well as defence, policing, healthcare and banking, and many others that require the round-the-clock defences that cyber security brings.

“From our perspective, Cyber Scotland Week is a great example of an initiative by the Scottish Government to raise awareness of cyber more generally. We attended a number of the events and were happy to be part of the ecosystem  of organisations taking part.

“To my mind, it complements other events such as the Scottish Cyber Awards, which I was involved in judging last November. This week is another event that allows cyber to have a wider profile among a greater set of stakeholders.”

During Cyber Scotland Week, the National Cyber Security Centre brought the UK’s biggest government cyber security event to the Scottish Event Campus on Wednesday and Thursday. At CYBERUK 2019, there were more than 130 speakers and around 2,500 attendees keen to hear about the future of cyber resilience.

Richard said: “To build this into a wider week of cyber security awareness was a good idea and we were delighted to take part in events where we could not only engage on what we have been doing in the field of cyber, but also look at growing our workforce.”

During this week one of the main strands of CYBERUK 2019 and Cyber Scotland Week has been about growing the diversity of the workforce. 
Richard added: “A good example of that was an event which took place on Friday at the Radisson Blu Hotel and hosted by Skills Development Scotland. 

“This informative event allowed all those there to hear about what the UK and Scottish governments are doing around the learning and skills strategy for cyber. For us it’s an ongoing mission to show what a broad range of skills and careers cyber incorporates.”


‘As everyone becomes more cyber literate the opportunities to use technology increase’

CGI was among suppliers who provide cyber services such as, strategic planning, security designs, and detection and response to clients at CYBERUK 2019.

Another important event as part of Cyber Scotland Week was Skills Development Scotland’s Cyber Resilience Supplier Information Day in Glasgow, which looked at how cyber suppliers can work together to achieve the broad range of skills required.

“Cyber is there in everything we do now,” says Richard Holmes. 

“I feel very privileged in that I can work across all of our sectors, particularly considering the breadth of sectors across which we work at CGI. Increasingly cyber is a conversation that all of our customers want to have.”
As Richard explains, an important part of CGI’s role is taking away that fear of the unknown. 

“When we can’t see the threat, or indeed the opportunities, it can certainly be more difficult to get to grips with. Part of our role is to give people confidence in cyber. 

“As everyone becomes more cyber aware and literate, then comes the courage to embrace the technologies that we have been presented with, whether that’s in the public sector or the private sector. There are so many great services in existence, as well as just around the corner, and it’s all about the government and organisations addressing cyber appropriately.”
In many ways, as we become more comfortable with the services, they become something that becomes normalised to us.

“As well as making our lives easier, these services will also allow us to do so many things we couldn’t do previously. These are undoubtedly exciting times, particularly to be working in cyber.”