In this special bonus episode of Security Nation, Jen and Tod chat with Pete Cooper and Irene Pontisso from the UK Cabinet Office about their current competition aiming to promote cybersecurity culture among small businesses. They highlight their 9 hypotheses, which touch on the role of human factors, the distinction between cyber culture and security culture, and the importance of leadership. They chat about why they decided to get help validating these ideas through a competition format — the “Bakeoff Approach,” as Irene calls — to promote collaborative thinking and get a sense of what organizations are doing on these issues today.
The deadline to apply for the competition is fast approaching on Monday, November 8, and winners will be awarded contracts to carry out the competition over 12 weeks, beginning in late November. Check out the Invitation to Tender to submit your entry!
Pete Cooper is Deputy Director Cyber Defence within the Government Security Group in the UK Cabinet Office, where he looks over the whole of the Government sector and is responsible for the Government Cyber Security Strategy, standards, and policies as well as responding to serious or cross-government cyber incidents. With a diverse military, private-sector, and government background, he has worked on everything ranging from cyber operations, global cyber security strategies, advising on the nature of state-vs.-state cyber conflict to leading cybersecurity change across industry, public sector, and the global hacker community, including founding and leading the Aerospace Village at DEF CON. A fast jet pilot turned cyber operations advisor, who on leaving the military in 2016, founded the UK’s first multi-disciplinary cyber strategy competition, he is passionate about tackling national and international cybersecurity challenges through better collaboration, diversity, and innovative partnerships. He has a Post Grad in Cyberspace Operations from Cranfield University, is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Scowcroft Centre for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, and is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Department of War Studies, King's College London.
Irene is Assistant Head of Engagement and Information within the Government Security Group in the UK Cabinet Office. Irene is responsible for the design and strategic oversight of cross-government security education, awareness, and culture-related initiatives. She is also responsible for leading cross-government engagement and press activities for Government Security and the Government Chief Security Officer. Irene started her career in policy and international relations through her roles at the United Nations Platform for Space-Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER). Irene also has significant industry and third-sector experience, and she partnered with the world's leading law firms to provide free access to legal advice for NGOs on international development projects. She also has experience in leading large-scale exhibitions and policy research in corporate environments. She holds a MSc in International Relations from the University of Bristol and a BSc from the University of Turin.
- Learn how to apply at the competition’s Invitation to Tender.
- Read up on the Small Business Research Initiative.
- Dig into the UK Government’s Functional Standard for security.
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