The South West Cyber Resilience Centre is teaming up with the University of Gloucestershire to provide affordable cyber services to vulnerable small businesses and charities in the county that can't afford their own cyber experts.
The Cyber Path initiative will connect small businesses and charities with talented students who are trained and insured to deliver small business cyber services, under the supervision of the university's experienced cyber practitioners.
The University of Gloucestershire is one of only four institutions selected to work with the South West Cyber Resilience Centre on the police-led initiative, which is being funded by the Home Office.
Students will provide an honest analysis of any insecurities and, using recognised methodologies and tools, will look at everything from website security to how easy systems are to hack.
They can also provide advice on company policies and business continuity plans, ensuring they are robust; train staff and volunteers; and provide a concise analysis of the publicly available information which could put organisations at risk.
With benefits for both businesses and students, it provides the opportunity for learners to apply their skills to a real-life situation, giving them valuable on-the-job experience, all while helping small organisations afford crucial cyber services on a no-obligation basis. There's no intention of upselling additional services, either — all jobs conclude with a formal report and presentation session to the client, with details of any areas which may require the expertise of a cyber partner.
One of the current MSc students said: 'It breaks down some very technical problems and issues into digestible chunks for a fraction of the large cost. It helps identify critical vulnerabilities all the way down to smaller and more technical issues in configurations. It would also provide peace of mind to an organisation that they have had professionals analyse their everyday systems.
'It helped me build my confidence in delivering services and what it's like to work in a cyber security role and team. In one short sentence, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.'