On Tuesday 23 April 2019, Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy opened the first College Cyber Security Conference as part of Cyber Scotland Week 2019.

Designed for college staff, this national event provided engaging opportunities for college staff to gain an understanding of the essential aspects of cyber resilience. The revised Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland’s Colleges makes explicit reference to cyber resilience and a series of keynotes and workshops offered ideas and resources that colleges can use to embed into their learning and teaching. In addition, it looked at the opportunities for students to pursue cyber security career opportunities.

Kate Forbes MSP said: ‘Cyber resilience is a shared outcome for all of us, and the college sector plays a crucial role in this. As well as helping Scotland’s citizens to become more cyber aware, the sector can also help train the cyber security professionals we need, filling industry vacancies and strengthening Scotland’s digital capabilities. The College Cyber Security Conference provides a key opportunity for college staff to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the cyber security issues, placing us in a stronger position to tackle these going forward.’

In her keynote speech, Chelsea Jarvie, Security and Information Risk Manager that the Scottish Government looked at ways that colleges can support a growing demand for cyber specialists and encourage more women to join the field.  She said: ‘The cyber sector is really exciting. A great cyber specialist will be a great communicator. The technical knowledge is key, but you need to be able to articulate yourself well and the risks that you’ve found, you need to get business and senior leadership buy in. Being customer and delivery focused is also really important.’
Participants selected from a range of interactive workshops.

Some of the highlights included ‘Staying Safe in a Digital World’, led by Eamonn Keane, Head of Cyber Security and Innovation, Scottish Business Resilience Centre, along with a student ethical hacker from Abertay University. This session explored the cyber threat landscape and steps colleges and their students should take to remain safe.

Gary Ennis of NSDesign provided a highly engaging presentation on ways of protecting against cyber security risks. The event concluded with a sneak preview of The Big Data Show, which combined digital gaming with live performance to tell the story of the first prosecution of hackers in the UK. The show demystifed online privacy, data security and what it means to be a digital citizen.

Photographs from the day can be viewed below:

View the College Cyber Security Conference overview video here:

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