Manchester is leading the way in creating an eco-system that helps businesses become resilient against cyber-attacks via innovation, education and partnership.
Here’s five ways the city-region is responding to the growing demand for cyber security.
1. A city that scales
Greater Manchester’s history in innovation and evident success in nurturing businesses to scale, has helped it to grow a £5bn digital ecosystem.
The city-region is home to over 10,000 creative, digital and technology businesses at all sizes, from start-ups to SMEs and large businesses including Google, BooHoo, Microsoft and THG.
It has also nurtured homegrown digital security companies including NCC Group and Secarma that have helped Manchester become recognised as a Top 20 European Digital City, due to the depth and breadth of the digital and technology industry.
This concentration of businesses creates a unique opportunity for collaboration, knowledge exchange and a buzzing atmosphere with open and honest communication in and around the city.
2. People Power
Across the nation, there is a huge demand for people with the right skills to provide technical support, consultancy, product development and education in cyber security.
Positioned in the heart of the Northern labour market, there are already 104,000 people working in the creative, digital and tech sector and this continues to grow due to the ever-evolving pathways into this field.
These routes often begin at the city-region's five universities, the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Salford, University of Bolton and University Academy 92; and although in close proximity, each institution boasts a variety of world-class specialisms and research centres with unique offerings.
A future pipeline of over 100,000 students stems directly from the universities and provides a sustainable, skilled workforce right at the fingertips of businesses in the city-region. Statistics also show that a huge 51% of talent is retained due to the exciting future opportunities and quality of live on offer.
3. Support System
Here, public and private sector work together to establish a world leading cyber super hub which has the infrastructure, leadership and mandate to keep the UK safe.
Cyber assets include Manchester Digital Innovation and Security Hub (DISH). The recently launched £10m cybersecurity innovation centre that will be a place for collaboration between Manchester's business and entrepreneurial community, leading academics, public sector organisations and the voluntary sector to identify digital security threats and innovative responses to them.
The North West Cyber Resilience Centre, a joint venture between Greater Manchester Police and Manchester Digital, the Cyber Resilience Centre supports and helps protect SMEs, supply chain businesses and third sector organisations in the region against cybercrime.
The GM Cyber Foundry, is another unique asset available for businesses in Greater Manchester. This £6m ERDF funded initiative,is a concept based on the partnership of four universities from the North West that are using their expertise and specialisms to increase security by design in products and services through knowledge transfer.
HOST is a state-of-the-art Innovation Security Operations Centre (SOC) offering an affordable cybersecurity subscription-based support service to SMEs innovating and adopting digital and cloud technologies. It allows businesses to use real anonymised data to build, develop and test ideas in a safe sandbox environment and get new technologies ready to take to market.
Through these assets and more, the community is encouraging and supporting businesses to start, grow or move to Greater Manchester.
4. Focus on digital connectivity
In February 2020, the city launched the new Greater Manchester Digital Blueprint, which set out a three-year approach to meeting the city-region's ambitions for the city-region, reviewed regularly in line with the pace of digital change.
This commitment has helped it to be recognised globally as being a digital first location that makes things happen, putting innovation in digital at the centre of its plans, with a key priority being cyber.
By leveraging public services to find better solutions with clear plans, information and initiatives, Greater Manchester is taking huge strides to becoming a leading centre for digital and cyber ethics, trust and security that will carry its businesses along the journey.
5. Investment at government level
In 2019, GCHQ, The UK’s government security agency established a strategic hub right in the city and the diverse talent pool and strengths in cyber security were key factors when determining the location of the office.
The agency has successfully embedded itself into the city, creating waves in the industry and teaming up with on-the-ground experts to encourage a clustering effect.
It now runs partnership programmes from the office, mentoring and supporting start-ups, working with academics on difficult national security challenges and working with local schools to encourage more local young people to consider careers in both STEM subjects.
Overall, the city-region is well equipped to support the nation’s efforts to keep the country safe and provides an accessible, sustainable and ambitious place to invest, work and live in the industry.
MIDAS was previously funded by ERDF. To find out more about our previous ERDF funded offer click here.