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London cyber security innovation centre issues open invitation

Government-backed cyber security innovation centre is calling for innovators to address key challenges facing the cyber security industry, offering a year of bespoke support to scale quickly

The London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (Lorca) has announced an open call for applications to join its third cohort of cyber innovators.

The centre, led by innovation hub Plexal in partnership with Deloitte’s cyber team and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast, was officially opened in June 2018, when the first companies to pass through the incubator were introduced.

Lorca is aimed at helping startups to scale their organisations at pace and to access and grow into new markets, secure further investment, and recruit and retain the best talent. By 2021, Lorca is expected to have stimulated the growth of at least 72 high-potential companies, grown up to 2,000 jobs, and secured £40m in investment.

The first cohort, announced in June 2018, was tasked with focusing on cyber security orchestration and automation; the second cohort, announced in January 2019, was tasked with focusing on user-centric security and security supply chains; and the latest cohort will focus on security by design, enabling organisations to get cyber security basics right and proactive, intelligence-led security.

These three areas were identified as the most pressing cyber security issues by industry leaders at Lorca’s Innovation Forum.

As people use more technology in their everyday lives, there is a growing need for products that are secure through their design to make it easier for people and businesses to remain safe online, said industry leaders. 

Lorca is therefore looking for cyber security solutions that make it significantly cheaper or easier for products to be made secure. This includes ensuring products are secure as standard, rather than requiring an add-on, and at code level, because this remains a challenge across the sector.

Although the cyber security market is saturated with products and solutions, even in mature sectors such as financial services, there remains a demand to get the basics right, the industry leaders said, identifying a need for best-in-class cyber patching and vulnerability management to deal with gaps in security. Lorca is also looking for cyber scaleups that can help enhance fundamental security controls with accurate and automated regulation and compliance metrics. 

In addition to the basics, the industry leaders said Lorca needs to support innovative approaches that go beyond current offerings and provide proactive, intelligence-led security solutions. These include products that take a fresh look at technology advances to bring efficient and effective security technology to market.

Read more about UK cyber security innovation

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Cyber security innovators accepted onto the Lorca programme will receive a year of bespoke support to engineer and iterate their product and scale their businesses quickly within a dedicated space at Lorca’s base at innovation hub Plexal at London’s Here East tech campus in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Participating companies will receive support from leading experts, including one-to-one commercial and technical support from Deloitte’s Cyber Risk Service team and academic and engineering support from CSIT, alongside external experts brought in to help the scaleups develop their business.

Crucially, Lorca said members of the third cohort will be given opportunities to engage with industry, helping to ensure their products are a good fit for the market’s needs.

Lydia Ragoonanan, director of Lorca, said: “Having already seen how many talented and inventive cyber security innovators there are in the country with our first two cohorts, we are really looking forward to seeing what great ideas emerge now.

“As the UK’s dedicated space for industry-led cyber security innovation, it is vital we are always moving the conversation on to make sure we are creating genuinely useful solutions to the problems impacting industry most.”

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