Introducing LORCA: the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement

A new centre dedicated to cyber innovation, the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA), is being officially opened at Plexal today by Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). LORCA is being delivered by Plexal in partnership with Deloitte’s cyber team and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast.

The centre’s opening coincides with specially commissioned research by LORCA that reveals more than half of large businesses have suffered a cybersecurity attack in the last 12 months, and almost a quarter of UK businesses (24%) don’t think their cybersecurity solutions are fit for their needs.

As the business threat of cybercrime increases, the new study of 500 UK C-level executives also reveals that more than half (53%) do not have a formalised protocol in place for cyber attacks.

Most breaches or attacks are via fraudulent emails – such as attempting to coax staff into revealing passwords or financial information or opening dangerous attachments.

Despite this, the majority of businesses (70%) surveyed said they haven’t purchased a cybersecurity solution from a startup company or SME in the last two years. The reasons why they might not seek external specialist help depend on the size of the company: the largest proportion of SMEs (37%) chose awareness of the solution as the key challenge when implementing a new and innovative solution to cyber threats. This contrasts to larger companies surveyed, where integration concerns were considered the most significant barrier (47%).

LORCA is releasing these stats ahead of its official launch today, after announcing in April that the contract had been won by innovation centre Plexal. The government-funded centre for cybersecurity innovation will help position the UK as a global leader in the growing field of cybersecurity and keep the nation safe from online threats.

LORCA will help some of the UK’s brightest cybersecurity stars across all stages of growth address business challenges and achieve greater impact with their innovative solutions. Today it’s announcing the 10 organisations that will make up its first cohort, including B-Secur which specialises in using biometric heartbeat solutions as a means of authentication, as well as for health and wellbeing purposes.

LORCA is also announcing today that Lloyds Banking Group will be the first founding partner. As part of its mission to ensure the financial services sector is sufficiently prepared for cyber crime, Lloyds Banking Group will be closely involved in selecting and supporting innovators, over and above government funding, with a specific focus on cybersecurity in the financial industry.

Plexal, which operates London’s largest innovation space and specialises in helping high-tech startups in artificial intelligence, augmented reality and the Internet of Things, will run the £13.5m innovation centre in Plexal City at Here East, on the site of London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. LORCA will be delivered in partnership with Deloitte’s cyber team and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast in a cross-disciplinary team with strategic, entrepreneurial, engineering and cybersecurity technical skills.

Lydia Ragoonanan, Director of LORCA, said: “The threats posed to businesses by cyber attacks are continually changing. We’re proud to be working with industry to understand their needs, with investors who can help develop and scale the solutions at pace, and with incredible innovators who are helping secure UK’s position as a world leader in cyber security.

“By bringing all these things together in our new centre we will stay ahead and help British businesses grow and succeed.”

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“Britain’s future prosperity will be based on its digital technology and no technology can work without cyber security so expanding this sector is critical to our future.

“It’s fantastic to open this new centre where some of our most talented entrepreneurs and innovative companies will develop the cyber security technology of tomorrow. This will boost London’s booming tech sector and benefit businesses across the country.

“We are investing £1.9 billion to protect the nation from cyber threats, have introduced new laws to strengthen our defences, and developed a wealth of free help and guidance for businesses available through our National Cyber Security Centre.”

Gavin Poole, Chief executive, Here East, said:

“The threat of cyber attacks is something that most businesses are familiar with and there is no doubt that many of them could do more to protect themselves against such an eventuality. Cyber is fast moving and constantly changing and we need to keep ahead of the game. That’s why Plexal creating the London Cyber Innovation Centre at Here East is hugely important and exciting for us. This centre will be at the forefront of some of the most fascinating areas in cyber innovation. We look forward to welcoming cyber innovators to our unique campus and seeing how they will collaborate with the hugely diverse range of businesses already located here.”

Stephen Wray, Director of Cyber Innovation at Deloitte, said:

“We are supporting clients to solve cyber challenges in over 150 countries. LORCA will connect innovators with these global market opportunities. We look forward to bringing our domain expertise to help amplify the impact of LORCA members for the benefit of the UK economy”

Dr Godfrey Gaston, CSIT Director, said:

“CSIT is delighted to be a partner in LORCA. We will replicate our unique innovation model to assist the startup community within the new centre. This will be achieved through our dedicated engineering support and delivery of an academic engagement and thought leadership programme. This is a strategically important initiative and we are excited to start working with the next wave of UK cyber innovators.”

Sharon Barber, Chief Security Officer, Lloyds Banking Group, said:

“As a founding partner we are delighted to foster growth, creativity and support cyber security innovators as they mature and scale up their proposition as it goes to the heart of our strategy to help Britain prosper.”

Paul Goswell, Managing Director, Delancey, said:

“Here East has quickly become the natural home for some of Europe’s most innovative companies. The arrival of LORCA strengthens that even further and enables London to position itself as the global leader in cyber security.

As well as making the internet safer for all, LORCA will create jobs and boost Britain’s reputation around the world as the go-to destination for technology startups.”