CyberUK 2019, the UK Government’s flagship cyber security event (and possibly one of Surevine’s flagship events too) is done for another year. Hosted by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), this year it travelled up to Glasgow following a very successful event in Manchester for 2018.
Surevine’s week started off making the trip to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, donning our high-vis jackets and setting up for the 2 days ahead. Switching up venues and moving around the UK is a great aspect of the show, demonstrating how the NCSC are there to support the whole nation.
Moving onto the Wednesday and Thursday, the event itself appeared to be much larger than previous years. More people, more interaction, more to cover in less time, and of course, being Surevine, more green.
The days were pretty non-stop, featuring a whole range of sessions, complete with world-class cyber security experts who each brought something new to the table. With seven varying streams (including our favourite, the “Collaborating Securely” stream) there was a lot to cover. CyberUK is the main UK Government cybersecurity event, because it’s not simply about the cyber threats, but because everyone is as a demonstration of how we can all, including Government and Industry, work together to move forward.
Day 1 opened with Jeremy Fleming, Director of GCHQ recognising three former Directors of GCHQ who were Scottish. He went on to talk about how GCHQ and the NCSC were prioritising support to regulated industries which form part of our Critical National Infrastructure. He likewise emphasised how essential information sharing and collaboration is, with the NCSC aiming to de-classify cyber intelligence and share it with industry as near to real-time as it can.
The second plenary of day 1 brought us something new, as the Heads of each of the Five Eye’s Cyber Security Agencies met in public in the UK for the first time ever. There was a strong message of unity and collaboration, illustrating how essential working together across borders is for our collective cyber security.
And Day 2 brought us more in the way of collaboration, with David Lidington, the Minister for the Cabinet Office picking up on the theme announcing that “all of us remain stronger and more resilient through working together”.
One panel discussion which stood out focussed on cyber security for individuals and families, looking at a recent nationwide survey of the public commissioned by the NCSC and DCMS. The survey results and commentary from Nicola Hudson, the Director of Communications from the NCSC, were very enlightening. It highlighted how we need to be careful with our language if we are to engage and support the citizen: how likely is the man on the street to know what 2FA is, she asked? We also heard that people are more likely to respond to a message about “supporting yourself and others” than a message about threats. This is important, given how much cyber messaging can focus on instilling fear about the threats.
There was plenty more to be taken from this year’s event, but collaboration and the idea of working together to work better continues to be a key theme.
Planning has already begun for #CyberUK20 which is to be held in Wales. We look forward to seeing you all again next year!