17 Nov 2022

Event round-up: Cyber Innovation Den 2022

Catch up on all the highlights of techUK’s flagship cyber event, including the fourth annual cyber innovation pitching competition.

On Thursday 3 November, techUK was delighted to host our fourth annual Cyber Innovation Den, where this year’s keynote sessions explored some of the efforts being made to realise the ambition set out in the National Cyber Strategy. Our fantastic speakers, including Sally Walker from WithYouWithMe and Andrew Elliot, Deputy Director Cyber Security at DCMS, looked at the progress made to date, the areas where we still need to do more (skills and diversity), and what industry can do to support the acceleration towards a whole-of-society approach to cyber. We also heard from BT and CAPSLOCK on their successful cyber security reskilling programme, and ThinkCyber on their journey as an SME with an innovative cyber offering.

techUK’s Cyber Innovator 2022 announced!

The event once again featured our popular Cyber Innovation Pitching Competition. This showcases the pioneering work and latest capabilities of some of the most exciting and innovative SMEs across the UK cyber ecosystem as they pitch their products and services to our expert panel which this year included Andy Williams, Global Transatlantic; Robin Kennedy, Innovate UK KTN; Sally Walker, WithYouWithMe; and Dave Rowley from Plexal.

The competition was of a high standard this year, with many fantastic pitches, but one company stood out above the others and that was CyberHiveYou can watch CyberHive’s winning pitching here.

Catch up on this year’s Cyber Innovation Den keynote speeches, as well as the pitches of all ten of our fantastic competition finalists, below.

Keynote 1 – Sally Walker, Board Member at WithYouWithMe and formerly Director of Cyber Operations, GCHQ

This year’s event was opened by Sally Walker, formerly Director of Cyber Operations at GCHQ and now Board Member of the digital skills organisation WithYouWithMe, who spoke to the human factor in cyber security, and the benefits of exploring new approaches through teamwork and innovation.

One of the key issues highlighted by Walker during her speech is the fact that the cyber ecosystem isn’t well understood by the citizen: it’s often seen as difficult, exclusive and impenetrable outside of the ecosystem, but it can’t afford to be viewed this way ...

“Having the skills to operate safely in the cyber world has to be innate to each and every one of us”

When building the UK’s National Cyber Force, Walker and her team mobilised innovative thinking and innovative doing from various sources of expertise; and built a diverse and different team, across organisational boundaries – all with the crystal clear focus on the mission in hand and a belief in building a better world for the future. And the same approach is needed to generate a national cyber competence. Therefore, Walker called on the sector to rise to four challenges:

  1. Put Trust at the heart of everything.
  2. Make the cyber sector world class by thinking differently about how you develop Talent.
  3. Identify what you can do right now to focus on the Sustainable credentials of your cyber security ideas.
  4. Reach across barriers to explore different opinions and build cross-disciplinary, cognitively diverse, high-performance Teams.

You can watch this insightful keynote session in full and find out more about these challenges here.

Keynote 2 – An Innovation Case Study: BT & CAPSLOCK Cyber Security Reskilling Programme

The second keynote session of the day focused on the innovative cyber security reskilling programme that BT and CAPSLOCK (one of 2021’s Cyber Innovation Den winners) have implemented this year.

Natalie Little from BT and CAPSLOCK’s Dr Andrea Cullen and Lorna Armitage discussed how the reskilling partnership programme came about; what it set out to achieve; why BT chose this particular route; the obstacles they had to overcome; and how it’s addressing the diversity issue in the cyber sector. One of the most interesting aspects of the programme is the human side of the story – that is, the positive impact it’s having on the people who’ve gone through the programme.

The discussion also touched more broadly on removing the barriers to careers in cyber, and thinking innovatively about bringing new talent into the sector. This means not necessarily looking at where people have come from, but focusing on what their potential could be and harnessing their transferable skills as well as helping them to build new ones.

You can watch the full keynote session here to find out more about BT & CAPSLOCK’s reskilling programme, as well as what’s next for CAPSLOCK and their top tips for other SMEs.

Keynote 3 – Andrew Elliot, Deputy Director Cyber Security, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The government keynote in this year’s Cyber Innovation Den was delivered by Deputy Director for Cyber Security at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Andrew Elliot, who provided attendees with an overview of the work that government is undertaking around the National Cyber Strategy Eco-System Pillar and its current priorities in this area.  

Elliot covered the key priority areas for government including addressing challenges such as the cyber skills shortage. Indeed, he highlighted that, although a cyber career is a safer bet than other areas, the opportunity is still lost on many people. So work continues to focus on remedying this – for example, with the CyberFirst programme and, of course, the UK Cyber Security Council which is on a journey to be ‘the beacon’ emitting cyber career pathways, while it sets professional standards, and this will needs industry’s continued support. Indeed, Elliot called on industry to get involved with the Council to help shape its work.

Also touched upon during this keynote session were the government initiatives that support the UK cyber ecosystem, from various accelerator programmes to regional development (including through UKC3 and the various clusters), all of which will encourage innovation and investment in the sector; government taking account of its own cyber resilience; and how government is measuring the success of the National Cyber Strategy.   

You can watch the government keynote session in full here.

Keynote 4 – Update from last year’s joint Cyber Innovation Den winner: ThinkCyber

Tim Ward, CEO of ThinkCyber provided an update on his organisation’s journey since winning the competition last year, which included taking advantage of the exposure offered by the award and the support offered by organisations like techUK.

Ward also spent some time reflecting on the fact that innovation is hard. The start-ups’ job of changing people’s thinking isn’t easy, and you’ve got to be able to measure, and then evidence, that your way of doing thing works and is having the desired impact and improving outcomes. It’s important to ThinkCyber to continue innovating and they’ve done this through grant projects such as those from Innovate UK, which Ward recommended other start-ups look at. Indeed, Ward encouraged other start-ups to throw themselves into as many opportunities as possible, and this session also included a useful discussion about ensuring that smaller cyber companies have a forum to put forward their perspectives.

Find out more about what ThinkCyber have been up to since winning the 2021 competition by watching the full keynote session here.

You can watch the pitches from the 2021 Cyber Innovation Den here.

The 2022 Cyber Innovation Den Pitching Competition – watch the finalists in action!

This year’s ten fantastic finalists offer a broad range of cyber security solutions. You can find out more and watch their 3-minute competition pitches below.

  • Assured is a cyber-only insurance brokerage focusing on providing the C-Suite with confidence when it comes to a cyber incident. Watch Assured’s pitch here
  • Blueskytec technology protects industrial control systems (ICS) and operational technology (OT) from the risk of cyber-attacks. Watch Blueskytec’s pitch here.  
  • Crypto Quantique provides end-to-end IoT security for semiconductor and device manufacturers using an IP block they can add to their designs to ensure a cryptographically encrypted secure identity for the device. Watch Crypto Quantique’s pitch here.
  • CyberFish helps clients to better handle cyber incidents by running incident simulation exercises with them, analysing their responses under stress and selecting learning modules to help them make improvements. Watch CyberFish’s pitch here.  
  • CyberHive‘s Trusted Security Platform features world-class security, highly performant zero-trust mesh connectivity and post-quantum resistant cryptography. Watch CyberHive’s pitch here.
  • Exalens’ solution bridges cyber security and physical production monitoring (IT and OT visibility), with AI which informs businesses in seconds if and why cyber incidents are occurring, and what production impact might be. Watch Exalens’ pitch here.
  • Nquiring Minds’ TDX-Cyber is a secure router platform to help detect and protect against IOT security threats, implementing Zero Trust principles and continuous assurance for devices connected to the network. Watch Nquiring Minds’ pitch here.  
  • Praeferre’s SaaS platform uses blockchain to track and trade data, connecting companies to latest customer preferences, providing confidence in compliance and access to additional data customers choose to share. Watch Praeferre’s pitch here.  
  • Proofmarked goes beyond domains and padlocks, making it obvious (in a human-centric manner) if a URL is authorized by the company the user intended to interact with, displacing cybercriminals' website impersonations. Watch Proofmarked’s pitch here.  
  • Zerodai is a cyber-focused productivity platform, which empowers cyber teams to reduce cost, increase productivity, better understand cyber risk and drive secure business agility. Watch Zerodai’s pitch here.  

You can watch the full event here. 

If you’d like to find out more about techUK’s Cyber Security Programme and how you can get involved, please do get in touch!

Dan Patefield

Dan Patefield

Head of Cyber and National Security, techUK

Jill Broom

Jill Broom

Programme Manager, Cyber Security, techUK

Freddie MacSwiney

Programme Manager - Defence and Cyber, techUK

Tracy Modha

Team Assistant - Markets, techUK