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Somerset Council joins partners to help businesses stay cyber secure

Cyber experts from across industry and government gathered together to discuss the increasing importance of cyber security at a sold out event on 26 September.

Alongside Baroness Nicky Morgan and the Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Shelford, guest speakers included cyber experts from Microsoft, Leonardo, Quoram Cyber, C3iA Solutions, Cysiam, Securious, and the UK Hydrographic Office.

Organised by the South West Business Council the event also allowed guests the opportunity to get a sneak preview of Somerset Council’s inspirational Firepool Centre for Digital Innovation in Taunton.

The centre is due to be launched early in 2024, and represents an £11 million public investment, with external funding from the European Union Regional Development Fund, the UK Government and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.

Cllr Ros Wyke, Lead Member for Economic Development, Planning and Assets at Somerset Council, said: We’re delighted that the first use of our new building is to support the message of cyber resilience. This fits with our role as a centre for digital innovation, it also aligns with our desire to make Somerset a safer place to do business.

“Cyber resilience is a unique kind of risk: it affects virtually all businesses, and it has the potential to immediately stop operations, without notice or warning, often to devastating effect.

“Recognising the importance of our suppliers being cyber secure Somerset Council has worked closely with the Cyber Resilience Centre for the South West and has already contacted nearly 2000 suppliers to advise them of measures they can take to be safe digitally. Signposting the small businesses that we depend on, towards free support, has been an important part of that for us.”

The Cyber Resilience Centre for the South West is directly funded by the Home Office and regional policing to help businesses and charities in the region become more cyber resilient. Their Director, Mark Moore, said: “We were honoured to be able to co-host this event at such an exciting venue. The conference showed a real appetite to develop ‘herd immunity’ with a collective approach to cyber resilience, and there are exciting times ahead. We’ll be continuing the conversation with new partners, as we expand our mission to provide free cyber support to as many regional small businesses as possible.”

Paul Coles, CEO South West Business Council, said: “I am hugely excited and impressed by the new Firepool Centre for Digital Innovation. A fabulous location with the mainline train station and multi-storey car park seconds away it is both a great venue and also a location where exciting businesses can locate and thrive. For my team, it was an obvious choice for collaborating with the South West Cyber Resilience Centre and Police and Crime Commissioner Shelford on our Cyber conference.”

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