This week, we had the pleasure of attending the launch of the Tees Valley Cyber Security and Information Protection Cluster (CSIPC) at Teesside University’s Darlington campus.

The CSIPC aims to encourage cyber security knowledge, skills and capabilities amongst businesses, primarily in the Tees Valley, but also across the wider North East region.

The cluster has been incorporated in partnership with TeraByte IT, Maizhenhal Business Consulting, deBrohn Limited, New Business Visions and with support from NERSOU, Digital City and Teesside University. By bringing strategic partners on to the steering group, the Community Interest Company has been formed to improve the cyber security and information protection expertise of businesses.

Cluster founder, Laura Dempsey, Managing Director of TeraByte IT, opened the event by introducing the aims and goals of the cluster, citing the now booming Yorkshire Cyber Security Cluster as the inspiration to set the Tees Valley group up.

Guest speakers included Dr Razzaque, Senior Lecturer in Computer Networks at Teesside University, who gave an almost terrifying outline of the cyber crime and cyber attack statistics affecting businesses globally, and also highlighted the ‘human’ element of data breaches – 95% of them caused by human error! The second guest speaker, Samir Rihane from vulnerability scanning software house AppCheck, also offered insights into the most common security vulnerabilities, but this time from a website perspective, as well as outlining things businesses should look for when performing their own data security housekeeping.

Supported by Teesside University, Digital City, NERSOU, Darlington Borough Council, Invest in Darlington, and AppCheck, the launch event was a great first at pushing the word out into the region that businesses need to be mindful of their cyber and information security. The threat is very real and growing. The potential impact on people’s carefully built businesses – it’s not just the big names that get hit – is huge. It’s often the ‘little guy’ that is greater impacted by cyber crime, with reputational damage and the potential of fines from the ICO (the ICO fines will be fair and proportionate to companies, the maximum has increased in order to make companies take notice).

CSIPC is hoping to change all that by raising awareness in the region and is already gearing up for their second event in November. We’ll be sharing details of that on our social media feeds, so watch this space.

For more information about the Cyber Security & Information Protection Cluster, please visit their website or get in touch by emailing If you’d like to speak to us regarding any cyber security concerns you may have, please get in touch.