The University of Gloucestershire’s C11 Cyber Security and Digital Innovation Centre continues to respond to its clients’ needs as COVID-19 begins to recede across the south-west.
Among the many challenges currently facing business owners there are two stand-out issues that Gloucestershire’s ‘C11 Cyber Security and Digital Innovation Centre’ is designed to address – firstly, the myriad of cyber-security threats which have rapidly risen throughout lockdown, and secondly the provision of a secure work, demonstration and networking environment that allows organisations to meet and collaborate safely.
Founded in 2017 as part of the University of Gloucestershire, C11 sits within the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park at Berkeley Green, offering a peaceful 16,000sq ft workspace with free parking and broadband, overlooking the River Severn, and easily within reach of the M5 and M4.
C11’s primary function is to fire-up the growth and advancement of specialist firms in a discreet, yet accessible environment. As such it comprises purpose-built conference and event facilities, incubation offices and support for start-ups, and cyber-forensic labs with high-spec PCs and technology demonstration zones.
C11 tenants notice the difference
Despite the impacts of the pandemic, C11 staff and clients have continued to their stated goal of ‘helping bring brilliant minds and businesses together,’ both onsite and remotely in the ever-changing cyber and digital sectors.
Examples of this successful partnership approach include on-site C11 tenants: Aetek Ltd – Philip Curzon: “Aetek is an aerospace and defence consultancy providing support to global aerospace companies. C11 is ideally situated between the aerospace hubs of Bristol and Gloucester, and the connections I’ve made with fellow occupiers here have really helped me advance my business goals.”
CamEra Group – Patrick Goodenough: “CamEra Group CCTV and 3ITC Limited are an efficient and cost-effective security company which has been delivering the installation of high-end security equipment for over 25 years. Our requirements are to be surrounded by hi-tech, innovative organisations involved in cyber security and AI surveillance development and we’re delighted to have become a tenant of C11.”
Active Building Centre – Ron Cowley: “We love being part of C11 because it offers our business secure cybersecurity facilities which our government infrastructure authorities, including the DIO, MOD and MOJ demand we use to test and develop security aspects of our Internet of Things platforms. We use the C11 board rooms for high-level meetings, and the facilities and support services are exceptional giving our clients, who travel from all parts of the UK to visit, a positive perception of ABC.”
CGTech – Gavin Powell: “CGTech has been the global leader in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) code simulation with VERICUT since 1988. We offer a wide range of products and solutions to make CNC machines collision-free and manufacturing processes more efficient. C11 is the base of our UK technical support team and our apprentice and two engineers are permanently located here with the remainder of our UK employees working from home around the country. We appreciate C11’s facilities, working atmosphere, meeting rooms and especially the views across the river.”
Even C11’s immediate neighbours have positive things to say, as Ruth Frett, Business & Development Manager at the Sabrina Centre police training and conference facility for Gloucestershire Constabulary, adds: “We thoroughly enjoy being part of the collaborative community at Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park. We’re especially thrilled to be next door to C11. The team there are incredibly welcoming and helpful and we look forward to working closely with them on future projects.”
Now, with plans to exit lockdown in the UK beginning to take shape, C11 is looking towards expanding its remit to further support organisations in Gloucestershire and across the southwest in need of the latest technologies and state-of-the-art digital security.
Rayelle Pentland-Smith, C11 Business Development Director, explains: “Digital technologies drive our daily lives, from the hardware that helps keep our borders secure, through to the software monitoring home energy use and keeping our bank accounts running smoothly.
“Simply put, in 2021 the world can’t function effectively offline. To face the continually-developing digital landscape UK business needs facilities that are fi t for purpose, flexible, private and supply networking opportunities to equip future workforces.”
Getting into the zone
As part of this offer C11 is the only facility of its type in the south-west to subdivide its services into increasingly secure technology gradients, depending upon the needs of its clients.
Zones 1-4 offer a mix of cyber security, conferencing, networking and digital seminar programme space. As a meeting point these all provide outstanding facilities for start-up and incubation firms, as well as networking room and presentation space for industry experts.
The areas are also flexibly-equipped for event needs and can be configured to seat up to 140 people alongside exhibition and breakout space.
Zone 5, the Cyber Learning Zone, is a controlled-access area providing secure labs and specialist facilities for private technology meetings. Perfect for training and development it is equipped with high-spec PCs capable of open or closed network configurations and interactive presentation equipment, all with guaranteed privacy and security, ideal for debuting new technologies and collaborating on classified projects.
Finally, Zone 6 is a restricted facility housed in an exclusive environment with government-approved security, making it a world-class base for the most sensitive cyber and digital work.
For companies involved in cyber-security or digital innovation which have been struggling to find physical facilities throughout the pandemic, C11 still offers availability in our incubation offices and rental space.
“The sheer volume of these areas allow for excellent levels of social distancing and our teaching and learning facilities have continued to be used for key worker training throughout lockdown.” Adds Rayelle.
Engaging in good security practice at all levels
Professor Ali Al Sherbaz, Technical and Applied Computing lead at the University of Gloucestershire and one of the academics with special responsibilities for supporting businesses based at C11, adds: “Cyber-security is one of the biggest risks facing businesses today in a world in which data management and protection has become a crucial aspect of everyone’s day-to-day interactions, particularly with a high number of workers still operating remotely in the wake of COVID-19.
“Sadly a cyber-attack on your organisation is almost inevitable. It’s really not a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’
“C11 is working intensively with the University of Gloucestershire through our undergraduate, postgraduate and apprenticeship courses, as well as our clients and partners, to realise the development of the ‘smart city’ concept. This essentially focuses on urban areas and the collection and analysis of digital data that delivers a better quality of life for people.
“This could, for example, involve the development of intelligent public transport systems that use information and communications technology to improve efficiency.
“To achieve this we need to formalise cyber and data governance strategic partnerships that both strengthen business opportunities and ensure the continuous improvement of cybersecurity solutions.
“To face the digital challenges ahead we also need a highly-skilled workforce with knowledge of the software and technology required to prevent cyberattacks and keep us safe, operating from a facility that’s fi t-for-purpose, flexible, secure, and which offers networking opportunities to equip all of us for the future.
“We’re confident C11 is this place and look forward to discussing the way forward with our client base as working life begins to return to some semblance of normality.”
To find out more about the C11 Cyber Security and Digital Innovation Centre: Tel: 01453-707511 / 07912 770053 Email: C11@glos.ac.uk