Bruce Rodgers and Billy McLeod, IS, collect award for Outstanding Cyber Team

Inside Strathclyde Strathclyde team scoops top cyber award

Strathclyde’s Cyber Security Team has been named Outstanding Cyber Team at the Scottish Cyber Awards 2019. The awards ceremony, held at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh and attended by Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution Derek Mackay, is the flagship event for Scotland's cyber community, showcasing leading educational and business talent and recognising the country’s key cyber influencers.

Collecting the award on the team’s behalf were Bruce Rodger, Head of Infrastructure and Billy MacLeod, Senior Cybersecurity Specialist.

Bruce Rodger and Billy McLeod, IS, accept Outstanding Cyber Team Award, 20 November 2019The Cyber Security team within Information Services was created in 2017 and comprises two technical specialists, supported by a group of four engagement and training specialists, and strong leadership from Information Services. The team’s key focus is to increase security across the University community while ensuring cyber security is not a barrier to conducting business effectively and efficiently.

By positioning security as a business enabler, the team has worked hard to challenge perceptions that making the campus cyber secure makes it harder to work efficiently. Highlighting the benefits, such as being able to bid for more work by meeting the security requirements of partners and implementing new management and investigation services, has helped change the culture of the University with regard to security.

In just two years the team has:

  • Achieved Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation in major business units and Cyber Essentials accreditation in specific research groups
  • Implemented business ownership and risk rating of systems
  • Implemented centralised management of anti-virus
  • Implemented awareness training across the University
  • Implemented training on security and risk management
  • Implemented a system for central logging of security events to enhance efficiency of investigation
  • Implemented incident investigation
  • Implemented vulnerability scanning

The team is going from strength to strength, working with the Scottish Government on the development of a framework and assessment tools, as well as mentoring and supporting Strathclyde undergraduates and postgraduates on cyber security related dissertation projects.

They have also recently provided work experience for a secondary school pupil, giving them valuable insights into the potential career opportunities within the field of cyber security as well as the opportunity to attend security related conferences.

In terms of supporting staff wellbeing, the team are the first to deal with the personal and emotional effects of a cyber security incident and play a crucial role in helping victims in an empathetic and supportive manner, while signposting sources of support and counselling, both within and outwith campus.

Catherine McMillan, Deputy Director IS and Head of IT Services said: “The scope and breadth of work delivered in such a short period of time is testament to the team’s commitment to making Strathclyde a safer place online.  Their skills in both the technical and business improvement aspects of cyber-crime prevention have helped introduce real cultural change across the campus. Knowing what to do is one thing, but being able to navigate the often complex academic and technical environment and to be able to deliver positive and tangible change is another.  

“This team consistently goes above and beyond to achieve this, maintaining their professionalism and engaging with the University at every level.  I’m delighted to see them being recognised at a national level - it’s a fantastic and well-deserved honour.”