Cyber security is a team sport – what position will you play?

It’s the new year, so you might be busy thinking about taking up a new activity – football, netball, weightlifting, yoga, street dance; the choices are endless.

But if you’re looking for real camaraderie, something you can do as a group, have you ever given much thought to cyber security? It’s a team sport after all, according to our CCO Saj Huq.

Saj recently sat down with Liz Green, European Advisory and Cyber Leader at Dell Technologies for the company’s Need to Know Podcast series in association with VMWare and AMD, which invites leading cyber security experts to probe issues and share best practices for combatting current and emerging threats.

Kicking off with an introduction on Plexal for those unfamiliar with the business, Saj detailed to Liz: “Plexal is an innovation company. We specialise in closing the gap between the challenges and opportunities associated with emerging technology.

“We help our customers – large enterprise and central government – to unlock the opportunities associated with emerging technology and often that includes working with startups and innovative SMEs in areas of critical importance to the UK, such as cyber security.”

Liz enquired on the significance of startups and their role in driving innovation within cyber security, prompting Saj to first highlight how innovation has been featured within the government’s cyber security strategy. He added that continually changing technology means we, as society, businesses and industries, must all rethink how to interact with it.

“We can’t stand still with regards to the type of technology developed from a security perspective,” Saj detailed. “Hence, we need to look at new methods, techniques and technologies and how that’s going enhance resilience at a systems level, at national level and at international level.”

He reasoned that startups have long been key to this process, bringing forth new ideas, products and services that are critical in cyber – a sector that’s key for the economy, having crossed a value of over £10bn in 2021. “It’s incredibly important, not just for national security, but for long-term prosperity and economic growth,” Saj said.

The subject moved to specific innovations and focuses startups have their sights set on. Reflecting on working with cyber startups for more than four years and supporting founders to introduce new products to market through Plexal innovation programmes, Saj noted that there’s been a shift.

“A lot of early-stage businesses are now focusing almost beyond the enterprise from a cyber perspective to think about non-traditional assets,” he opined, highlighting this is a result of new technology domains presenting themselves. According to a December 2022 report from the European Space Agency and Dealroom, 2021 was a record year for European space tech investments and 2022 is expected to surpass it. With the commercial space market experiencing such rapid growth, this is one such domain that presents fresh cyber security challenges – but equally opportunities to innovate to provide solutions.

As a member of the National Cyber Advisory Board, Saj is part of a group informing the UK’s strategic approach to cyber. He referred to data that found there were 2.7 million cyber-related frauds to individuals and businesses in the 12 months to March 2022, telling Liz that demonstrates just how much more must be done to help individuals.

Part of the solution to find new opportunities and harness emerging technologies to strengthen the UK’s digital economy and drive greater cyber resilience is through collaborative ecosystems. “These are ecosystems that bring together large organisations, end users with challenges that need to be solved and those who are trying to innovate from a technology perspective,” Saj explained. “Cyber security is a team sport.”

With that in mind – what position will you play?

Listen to the full podcast below and check out other episodes of Dell Technologies’ Need to Know podcast here.