CSC Launched to Support Scotland’s Cyber Community
Cyber Scotland Connect will aim to build a stronger, more coordinated cybersecurity community in Scotland.
A new merger will see two of Scotland’s key cybersecurity Meet-up groups combine under the Cyber Scotland Connect (CSC) banner and newly designed brand.
Cyber Scotland Connect has been established to provide a central platform for Scotland’s cybersecurity practitioners. The key purpose of the group is to build a strong, inclusive and coordinated community, which offers an effective support network and encourages dialogue and collaboration.
The group was formed by Harry McLaren and Stu Hirst. The initial plans were announced during a panel discussion at DIGIT Expo in November, with the strategy then shaped through the input from stakeholders across the community.
Over recent months these initial plans have solidified, the member base has grown and the organisation has merged with the Security Scotland Meet-up under the CSC brand. The new organisation has also selected a group of moderators from the local community who will help guide the next stages of development and operate similarly to a board of trustees.
Cyber Scotland Connect moderators announced
- Harry McLaren, ECS Security
- Stu Hirst, Photobox
- Maggie de Jager, easyJet
- Jamie Graves, ZoneFox
- Federico Charosky, Quorum Cyber
- Chelsea Jarvie, Scottish Government
- Jamie O’Hare, Edinburgh Napier University/ENUSEC
- Jordan Schroeder, HEFESTIS
- Rory Alsop, HSBC
- Gary Hunter, Skyscanner
- Rich MacFarlane, Edinburgh Napier University
- Liam Somerville, FanDuel
A group that can make things happen
The CSC Moderators will operate as a semi-informal structure to ensure that the focus is guided by the issues that matter to the wider community. This leadership group can respond to these issues and promote change, which CSC strongly believes the group can deliver.
Harry McLaren commented: “We want the community to drive what we do, what we spend time on and the nature of the events and conversations we have. We would like the community to engage with us and tell us what is missing in the ecosystem and highlight the main problems currently affecting the sector.
“With the moderators that we have involved, we have a group of people that can address these issues and make things happen.”
The group will host a series of regular informational Meet-ups where individuals of all levels of expertise can come together to discuss ongoing industry topics. It is hoped this regular forum will create ties between the participants and offer support, learning and mentorship opportunities to community members. Supporting this is their Slack chatroom (invite) which hosts a number of channels for discussions and even emotional well-being.
CSC will also run an online platform where people can access a range of resources, such as speaker databases and skills workshops. The site will also help connect relevant parties by directing people looking for assistance to those that have volunteered to provide advice.
By creating this dual forum, the group aims to improve the cohesion between different individuals and organisations across the ecosystem. While they saw that a lot of good work was being done by different groups, the founders felt that there was a lack of coordination and awareness.
By improving ties and connections, CSC hopes to address this issue and encourage greater alignment and collaboration. As part of this process, McLaren hopes to establish links with other groups and existing networks
He explained: “Our aspiration is that we can develop a relationship with the other cyber communities across Scotland and branch out into the academic and business spheres.
“We already have had discussions with the cyber cluster, run by ScotlandIS, and the Scottish Business Resilience Centre so it’s a key goal to cooperate with existing groups and work together.”
Just the beginning
The initial response the group has received has been encouraging. However, this is very much the start of the journey.
McLaren said: “We’ve been really encouraged by the level of engagement and support that we’ve had already. All 10 of the moderators that we reached out to agree to get involved and help with the group, and then when we put a call out to get help with our rebrand, we had Sophie Lanc come forward and offer to do the full brand design and website pro-bono. So, we’ve been really grateful for the support we’ve had”
“But this is just the start for us, with the moderators in place and the website up and running we want to continue the momentum and look at things we can change and improve. This begins with helping with engagement and support, but we also want to look at what we can do for inclusion, and help address the gender imbalance and encourage more women into the industry.”
A charter has already been established in conjunction with the organisations’ moderators, that will assess how greater diversity can be achieved, as well as promoting access for people from different social backgrounds. CSC believes that improving inclusion in this way is essential for the long-term success of Scotland’s cybersecurity sector, offering a larger talent pool and greater prosperity.