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Scottish Cyber Awards 2021 | Scotland’s Cybersecurity Champions

Michael Behr

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Scottish Cyber Awards 2021
The awards recognised the people and organisations building Scotland’s cyber resilience, and reminded everyone of the importance of collaboration.

The finals of the Scottish Cyber Awards 2021 took place on Thursday November 18th at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh.

Hosted by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), the fifth annual Cyber Awards recognised and celebrated stand-out individuals and organisations making a positive impact in Scotland’s cybersecurity sector.

At the awards, SBRC CEO Jude McCorry said: “It was amazing getting everybody into a room again, and we had very worthy winners. We’ve all supported each other to make sure, post-Covid, that we work together the same way we pulled together over the last 18 months.”

The winner of the Champion of Champions award was Skills Development Scotland (SDS), which was recognised for its Discover Cyber Skills Programme. This programme has engaged with over 100,000 pupils, helping support teachers and run online courses.

Digital Skills Project Manager at SDS Debbie McCutcheon said: “It’s a great honour to win this award. Building the talent pipeline in Scotland is so important to us, working with industry and developing skills so that Scotland has the best cybersecurity sector in the world.”

Competing in the Best Cyber Startup category, Polydigi Tech was named the winner for its unique technical functionality and ease of use. The digital ID verification company beat out CyberShell Solutions and Lupovis to take the prize.

Polydigi Tech CIO Monika Ohashi said: “This is the first time we’ve won, having been finalists in other competitions. It’s a big milestone for us since we established in 2019. We hope this will help us move on to the next stage.”


Building Resilience

George Miliken from Education Scotland won the Best New Cyber Talent prize, which recognised the work he has done to use his talent to enthuse the next generation of cybersecurity talent.

The Collaboration with Police Scotland award was won by the Cyber Resilience Bulletin, which provides information about the latest threats, scams, news, and updates covering cybersecurity and cyber resilience topics.

Kirstie Steele, Cyber Resilience Community Lead at the SBRC, said: “Collaborating with Police Scotland and sharing threat intelligence with them over the past year was vital to getting the cyber resilience message out to the Scottish people. We’re doing it for the good of Scotland.”

Lead Scotland, which develops and delivers training and awareness for people with disabilities and their carers, was named as Diversity Champion.

The SQA-sponsored Cyber Educator award was won by Colin McLean, Lecturer in Computing at Abertay University.

He said: “I’m so glad to get this award after this horrendous year and trying to educate people under difficult circumstances.”

The Leading Light Innovation prize was taken by MemCrypt, beating Ionburst Cloud and Seric Systems. It received the prize for its unique ransomware detection and privacy-protecting reporting product that detects the presence of ransomware, and can automatically recover files already encrypted.

Pete Jaco, CEO of MemCrypt Ltd, said: “As the fourth cyber spinout from Edinburgh Napier University’s cyber research group, what we are doing in the anti-ransomware space is truly revolutionary and we are looking forward to talking to potential customers, partners and investors about our technology.”

In the Best Cyber Breakthrough category, Capito Ltd beat PlanB Consulting and Softworx to take home the prize.

Managing Director at Capito Mark Gibson said: “What this does is validate the hard work the Capito team have delivered over the last 18 months, supporting the Scottish Government, health and education organisations through the pandemic, responding to our customers challenges and addressing cyber incidents, including ransomware attacks.”

In addition to the Champion of Champions award, SDS received the Best Cyber Education Programme award for its Discover Cyber Skills Programme, beating Education Scotland and Stop it Now!


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Ascent Cyber beat Seric Systems for the Best Customer Experience award.

The Cybercrime Harm Prevention Team was named as the Outstanding Cyber Team over Capito and Converged Cyber Security Team.

Police Inspector Mark Gallacher said: “We’re absolutely delighted to receive this award. We’ve been working hard with internal and external partners to keep the most vulnerable members of our society safe while online, and we will continue to do that.”

And two winners were named in the Outstanding Woman in Cyber category – Ashley Beck and Sarah Cunningham.

Police Sergeant Beck has demonstrated a strong commitment to encouraging women into cybersecurity careers and upskilling law enforcement colleagues, while Information Security Consultant at Waterstons Cunningham has shown a huge commitment and enthusiasm to promote cybersecurity in her own time and inspiring young people into cybersecurity.

Beck said: “I just want my young female students to follow suit and see how cybersecurity can lead to positive experiences and pathways to an exciting career.”

Cunningham said: “Before Waterstons at Abertay University, I saw all the women coming up through our course. It’s an inspiration to see how many are coming into cybersecurity.”

Michael McCullagh was recognised for his Outstanding Leadership for his competence, compassion, honesty, and support.

Finally, a special recognition award went to Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SPEA) CEO Terry A’Hearn for his leadership and transparency during the major ransomware attack that hit his organisation.

During his speech, he noted the importance of cooperation and collaboration in meeting the cybersecurity challenges facing Scotland and the world.

“You have no hope unless you work with internal and external partners,” he said.


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Michael Behr

Senior Staff Writer

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