From left, Brian Lord OBE, managing director for cyber at PGI, Karen Bradley, Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, and Vice Admiral Sir Tim McClement, chairman of PGI, during the live hacking demonstration at the PGI launch of the Bristol training centre
A world-first cyber crime fighting training centre opened in Bristol aiming to help businesses government agencies and even police forces keep ahead of this growing threat.
The centre, run by Protection Group International, was opened by Organised Crime Minister Karen Bradley, who said it was a “major step forward” in the ongoing fight against cyber crime.
She said: “To stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals, we need to ensure enough people in all sectors of the economy have the right skills to understand and take action against the threat they pose.
“PGI’s innovative training facility is an excellent example of how British know-how and capability can help governments and businesses around the world protect themselves in cyberspace.”
The £5-million centre in Aztec West is the first of its kind and already employs 50 people recruited from specialist fields.
Chief executive Barry Roche told the Post Bristol was the perfect site for its new facility.
“Bristol rose to the top of the shortlist very quickly because of the talent pool in the South West,” he said. “Bristol has a long technology heritage as well as fantastic transport links. It is the right place.”
Customers range from large corporate firms to public sector organisations such as councils and police forces and foreign governments.
The 4,000 square metre facility includes three classrooms and a dedicated network, giving people the chance to work in a so-called sandbox – a safe environment where they can play around without fear of damaging their own network.
Barry said training courses for IT and CYBER SECURITY professionals are “very technical”. But there are also courses for chief executives and board members, with facilities to host board meetings on site at the same time.
He said it was often at the highest level of an organisation that awareness and understanding of cyber crime was lowest.
“The need for organisations to protect themselves against cyber crime has never been greater,” he said. “Regulators, customers and employees all expect their data to be kept secure and the burden of accountability rests squarely with those responsible for maintaining that security.
“Whether you’re a board member, IT manager or IT professional, ensuring that you’re not the weak link when it comes to CYBER SECURITY is a business-critical issue.”
Barry is a former Royal Marine while managing director Brian Lord is the former deputy director of Government listening base GCHQ in Cheltenham, where he ran the intelligence and cyber crime operations.
Brian said the threat was as much the people as the technology.
“Attackers exploit human vulnerabilities and the weaknesses inherent in IT systems and infrastructure due to human errors in coding, design, maintenance or procurement,” he said. “Consequently, a strong cyber security programme should also consider human factors from the vulnerability of the systems’ users to the motivations guiding attackers.”