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Lorca calls on security scaleups to tackle coronavirus challenge

Lorca innovation programme has launched an open call for its next cohort of cyber security scaleups, with a timely focus on coronavirus challenges

The London Office for Rapid Cyber Security Advancement (Lorca) is on the hunt for security scaleups to address the challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, such as securing remote workforces and digital citizen services, and tackling disinformation.

As with previous groups, the fifth cohort of scaleups to move through Lorca’s scheme will receive support in scaling their businesses, securing investment, accessing new markets, and expanding internationally. The ultimate aim is to grow the UK’s cyber security industry and help make the internet a safer place to be for all.

As usual, the selected scaleups will receive mentoring, access to networking opportunities with investors, and commercial and engineering expertise from Lorca’s delivery partners, including consultancy Deloitte and Queen’s University Belfast’s Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), and corporate partners including Lloyds Banking Group, Dell, Kx, Kudelski Security and the Global Cyber Alliance.

“As well as meeting the needs of industry today, Lorca catalyses innovation that caters to the cyber security challenges on the horizon that will intersect both society and business and require new models of collaboration to solve,” said Saj Huq, Lorca programme director.

“We know there is cutting-edge technology available to meet these challenges, and we want to ensure those solutions get the support they need to scale, access the right funding and develop in direct response to what the market requires.

“Coupled with this, the current global pandemic has underlined and increased our reliance on technology. With this, it has brought very real cyber security challenges to the fore. This is a time to support the cyber security innovations that our digital world needs most and we look forward to enabling this next wave of high-potential SMEs to scale and succeed.”

“At this time of Covid-19 related international emergency we are seeing the online spread of disinformation aggravate the public health crisis, rapid adoption of remote working putting pressure on information security and malicious actors seeking to take advantage of weak links in cyber security and overburdened IT teams,” said Louise Cushnahan, head of innovation at CSIT.

“Sometimes the most innovative, resilient and successful companies grow out of times of uncertainty and adversity. Our highly experienced academic and engineering teams are looking forward to engaging with and delivering impactful support for Cohort Five in the months ahead,” she said.

Huq said that, over the years, the industry has made it clear to Lorca that it needs “new breeds” of security products and services to tackle the growing complexity of the digital world, so it is particularly keen to support innovators working on what it sees as the next frontier for security, with solutions that protect individuals across the full spectrum of their digital lives – something that has become highly relevant over the past fortnight.

This includes, for example, securing digital workforces; fighting back against disinformation, fake news and social media trolls; and enhancing user privacy. Lorca said that as data becomes a kind of digital currency, the tech sector must adapt to serve individual needs, and not those of corporations, building trust in technology and empowering normal people to take back control of their digital lives.

In light of the pandemic crisis, for the first time, Lorca will run the programme as a digital-first effort, with all course curriculum and some other events being delivered online. Interested parties have until 4 May 2020 to apply to be a part of the coronavirus cohort via Lorca’s website.

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