Book Your Place: University of Gloucestershire C11 Cyber Symposium – 17 June 2021

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If you’ve ever wondered how your organisation can tackle the growing and constantly evolving threat of cyber-attacks by sourcing and developing skilled employees with the perfect level of expertise then get your diary out and mark the date for the…

University of Gloucestershire’s inaugural online 

‘C11 Cyber Symposium 2021’ – Thursday 17 June, 9am – 4pm

This event, held in partnership with the University’s C11 Cyber Security and Digital Innovation Centre, is set to bring together leading academics, businesses and thought leaders from across Gloucestershire and the South West, with the purpose of reviewing the very latest developments, research and solutions in cyber security and protection.

With a special emphasis on skills development, the day will be packed with the most up-to-date information on how employers can engage with cyber education and security advice from a range of regional suppliers, along with demonstrations and discussion on research breakthroughs and emerging technology, all designed to benefit industry at local, national and international levels.


Tackling the cyber skills barrier:

Associate Professor in mobile and network security, and Head of Technical and Applied Computing at the University of Gloucestershire, Ali Al-Sherbaz, explains:

“The cyber skills gap being experienced across the sector is vast and presents a real barrier to progression for UK businesses. In the face of continually worrying data we and our partners have decided to take real action to help connect employers with the people and knowledge they need.” Indeed latest government data in the field of cyber-defence paints a grim picture, including the following headline statistics:

  • Approximately 653,000 businesses (48%) have a basic skills gap, with employees in charge of cyber security lacking confidence in carrying out basic tasks detailed in the government-endorsed Cyber Essentials scheme, including setting up configured firewalls, storing or transferring personal data, and detecting and removing malware
  • 408,000 businesses (30%) have more advanced skills gaps, in areas such as penetration testing, forensic analysis and security architecture
  • Some 27% of businesses have a skills gap in incident response (and don’t outsource this)
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of cyber firms have faced problems with technical cyber security skills gaps, either among existing staff or job applicants. 25% say that such skills gaps have prevented them from achieving business goals
  • Technical skills gaps are relatively high in threat assessment; assurance, audits, compliance or testing; implementing secure systems; and governance and management
  • Three out of ten cyber firms (29%) say job applicants lack non-technical skills, including communication, leadership and management, preventing them from meeting business goals

“It’s against this background that we’re thrilled to be launching our 17th June Cyber Symposium,” adds Rayelle Pentland-Smith, Business Development Director at C11 Cyber Security and Digital Innovation Centre, based at the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park in Berkeley Green.

A packed agenda:

The event has a packed agenda featuring expert speakers from the county and beyond, including: Paul Crichard, BT’s Chief Security Technology Strategist; Juliet Grout, Security Architect at IBM; Paul Keasey, Detective Superintendent, Director of Intelligence & Specialist Operations at Gloucestershire Constabulary, and guest panellists from BAE Systems and CGI.

Juliet Grout, Security Architect at IBMAnother focus will be the work of Dr. Qublai Ali Mirza, a Senior Academic in Cyber-Security at the University’s School of Computing and Engineering, showcasing his new malware security solution – CloudIntell – which uses AI and cloud computing to work independently or alongside conventional security mechanisms.

The University of Gloucestershire’s Buck Rogers, Emeritus Professor of Cyber Security, will flag new developments in his fi eld of study, while digital and cyber degree students will present their achievements working with real-life case-studies of cyberattacks which have strengthened their skills and employability.

(Pictured: Juliet Grout, Security Architect at IBM)


Apprenticeships offering cyber, digital and technology solutions:

Apprenticeships are yet another important topic that will come under discussion as the advantages of educating and training the next generation of cyber professionals comes into sharp focus.

“The University of Gloucestershire’s School of Computing and Engineering offers apprenticeships in two areas – cyber security and digital and technology solutions,” comments Dr Abu Alam, Senior Lecturer in Computing and Cyber Security.

“Cyber security professionals work in sectors ranging from the economy, including critical energy, transport, water and finance infrastructure, through to public and private organisations. They can lead teams that research, analyse, assess and manage cybersecurity risk, while designing and operating secure systems that detect and respond to incidents.”

His colleague, Dr Thiago Viana, Senior Lecturer in Computing, adds: “Digital and technology specialists work in areas such as software, business and systems analysis, cybersecurity and network infrastructure. Their role is to implement digital technology which enables businesses to develop new products and services that increase productivity.”

A platform for industry insight – The day will further feature:

  • Real-world insight and best practice on how to manage your own cyber skills gap
  • Demonstrations on the latest breakthroughs in research, and what these mean
  • Grilling of the experts, where you can ask the difficult questions
  • Engagement with students, tomorrow’s workforce, demonstrating their capabilities • Access to an exploded network and opportunities for SMEs and multinationals alike
  • Direct input into the future of regional cyber education and training.

Professor Kamal Bechkoum, Head of the University of Gloucestershire’s School of Computing and Engineering, concludes: “It’s an unfortunate reality that a cyber-attack on your organisation is inevitable. It’s really not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when.’

Professor Kamal Bechkoum UoG

“Current forecasts for the number of online-linked devices, otherwise known as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT), vary from between 26 to 75 billion, and if there’s one lesson to be learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that more of us than ever before have been working remotely and often mixing the use of personal and professional devices to stay connected.

“There is so much information created by these devices – up to and beyond 2.5 quintillion bytes – that 90% of the world’s data has been produced in the last two years alone.

“Considering this massive volume it’s perhaps understandable that cyber defences can never be 100% secure. The grand challenge is to improve workers’ understanding of where threats are most likely to come from, and engage in habitual good security practice at all levels.

“Our default approach to all IOT systems should always be one of suspicion, particularly because 95% of internal cyber breaches are caused by human error.

“I’m very pleased that the C11 Cyber Symposium will be welcoming leading figures from business, along with our academic staff , students and supporters to this important debate on 17th June.

We’re looking forward to developing many more long-standing partnerships that will continue to help industry stay secure.”


To find out more about the C11 Cyber Security and Digital Innovation Centre: Tel: 01453-707511 / 07912 770053 Email:

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