Lockheed Martin unveils cybersecurity cluster to support SMEs


Picture: Around 140 delegates attended the launch of the Virtual Technology Cluster

The rise of digital networks leads to increased vulnerability of our information to attackers, so there is a need for enhanced capabilities to fight cybercrime.

That was the message last week at the launch of the Virtual Technology Cluster, created by Lockheed Martin and Restoration Partners, a boutique technology merchant bank.

Basically it’s a support base for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) to obtain professional support, guidance and advice along with investment to help develop their technologies and find a route to market.

The keynote speaker on the day was Francis Maude MP, Minister of the Cabinet Office with responsibility for Cyber Security who outlined the government’s intentions to make the UK a world leader in cyber technology.

Addressing an audience of about 140 people, he said there are 14 cyber security clusters in regions across the UK and Maude says the new VTC will add to that, bringing together investors and innovators to help grow these companies.

“We have always maintained that along with the risks that cyber brings, it also brings unprecedented opportunities for growth,” he said.

John Plumb, Operations Manager of the VTC, told SecurityNewsDesk that the Cluster began with Lockheed Martin’s pilot programme for assessing niche technology from small enterprises. This led to working with Restoration Partners who could provide the investment and business advice these companies needed.

Ken Olisa, Chairman of Restoration Partners, said there were many advantages to becoming a member: “Whether you are an established business or a guy in a university with an algorithm that you want to do something with, you are part of a community where you can discuss your subject and look for commercial opportunities.”

We interviewed a number of member companies – including BlinkData, Modux and Osirium – who produce niche cyber security products who agreed that the community was invaluable to their continuing development.

Prof Nikos Antonopoulos, Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology at Derby University, is a supporter of the VTC. “I am confident that the VTC will be able to evidence growth in SMEs, development of further innovative products and services, creation of jobs and really linking everything together into a successful high tech economic society,” he said.


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