Prashant Pillai, Professor of Cyber Security and Director of the Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute, has nearly 16 years of research experience and specialises in the areas of communication networks, cyber security and intelligent algorithms. His current research interest lies in the developing novel security solutions for safety critical systems (like smart grid, autonomous cars, aeronautical systems and satellite networks).
Data is one of the most important assets held by any organisation and digital technologies are playing a pivotal role in the digitalized modern economy, often called the digital economy. However, protecting our digital assets is a growing challenge with the rise in cybercrime. Professor Prashant Pillai takes a look at what are the challenges and how the new Midlands Centre for Cyber Security will support businesses to be safe in this modern era.
While many organisations are still understanding the use and impact of first wave of digital technology: cloud, mobile apps, and analytics, the next wave - Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Augmented Reality – is already taking shape. Many organisations both in the public and private sector are going through various digital transformation projects to capitalise on these with a view to improve productivity and efficiency, customer service and automate processes. These disruptive technologies have not only made us question the traditional models, but have also paved the path for new models of ownership, governance and business interaction. However to exploit these benefits and realise the future dreams of connected smart cities it is imperative that security of assets, data and systems are carefully considered.
Cybercrime is on a rise and according to Zurich Insurance Group, Cyberattacks have risen to 5th in the ranking of global risks to doing business. 43% of Cybercrimes are targeted at small businesses and 60% of those effectively hit close their doors within six months of an attack. 17m people in the UK were victims of cyber-crime in 2018 and £4.6bn was stolen from them. We are seeing not only a rise in cyber-attacks but also an increase in sophistication of these attacks. The attacks are not coming from just by lone hackers in a garden shed, but by organised criminal groups many at times backed by nation states.
The new Cyber Quarter - Midlands Centre for Cyber Security aims to provide a single hub for cyber security needs for small or large businesses. It will provide cyber consultancy, security testing, Research & Development and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training services all under one roof. So if businesses want security assessments of their services/processes, want help in getting compliant to industry standards like ISO or GDPR, want their systems or products to be tested for vulnerabilities then they can approach the centre. The centre also will provide a bespoke CPD training portfolio for upskilling and reskilling in the cyber domain that can be catered around the needs of the organisations. The centre is backed by the strong academic team of the Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute who bring in their extensive skills and expertise in cyber security.
The World Economic Forum recently reported that cyber security is “A global threat requires a global response”. It is imperative that UK is ready for this global challenge and plays a leading role in the fight to protect our society. The Midlands Centre for Cyber Security aims to create a national hub of partners from business, government, international organisations, academia and civil society to enhance and consolidate national and international security. It aims to be a key player in the Cyber Valley that spans across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. This region boasts the highest concentration of Cyber based businesses in the UK; Cyber Valley is home to 15% of the UK's top 600 cyber companies. It will be based at the Skylon Park, Hereford's Enterprise Zone that has a key focus on the defence and security sector.
 Cyber security facts you should know, Teiss, 2018
 £130bn stolen from consumers, The Guardian 2018.