Posted on December 15, 2017 by staff

Manchester must put cyber security at heart of future plans


One of the many exciting aspects of The Mayor’s vision for digital opportunities amongst the communities of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is ‘newness’. This is all too often taken as a bandwagon to ride roughshod over experience and decry anything that is ‘not invented here’.

So at last week’s Digital Summit (2.0) it was refreshing to see not only the active participation of Arto Aas of Estonia but the inspiration that the audience were drawn to derive from him.

You could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather when the discussion in this session of the summit had The Mayor addressing the challenge of cyber security.


Estonia has an approach of encouraging children in (a) critical thinking and (b) that they can create their own business rather than expect just to ‘leave’ education and get a job. The key to lasting success is resilience, so the whole process part of ‘the plastic’ is brilliant and takes integrates the human element of the system of Estonian community life.

Greater Manchester

GM’s digital aspirations will need resilience built in. Being in the top digital cities is a big RSVP to cyber criminality. Even the motivations of football rivalry will entice adversarial team fans to seek succour in taking out Manchester on-line.

It’s the digital equivalent of smashing up a bus shelter.Cyber security is an odd beast. It about Hollywood-style glamour when a breach is detected – hate or admire the ‘hackers’…it’s about righteous indignation about whose fault it is (rarely targeted at the criminals) and it’s met with rolling eyes if you try to address resilience before the event!


New and upgraded infrastructure. This could be Manchester’s greatest attractor.

The future is putting its trust in us. The digital infrastructure is a great opportunity to build resilience into the GM-CA community (and not dump risk on the digital user part of the community).

As the National Cyber Security Strategy is to make the UK the safest place to be on line, then GM-CA has the opportunity to lead by example. The call to heed the experience and views of the third sector (charities) is the way to bring in the vulnerable, remove vulnerabilities and avoid creating a sub-culture of the digital disillusioned.

Let’s use what we will know about people on line for inclusion and to keep the community safe. And let’s make inclusion safe and free from expectations of selling or managing our digital souls.


Don’t expect GDPR to cause us all to evolve into data protectionists. GDPR is good…but as our digital life evolves, the NIS Directive could be far more relevant to this gathering (and fellow citizens).

Data has never needed protecting – it’s about protecting people.


History is made by those who turn up… today community collaboration… following on from Wednesday’s stepping forward with Alan Turing’s heritage at the university…You can feel the community spirit of collaboration here. This will be shown to be a critical success factor. (And for children… Manchester is the birthplace of the Green Surf Code!)

All ages…all…true diversity… And those labelled business people, the politicians, the medics, the engineers, the social scientists, the psychologists, the computer scientists, the lawyers, the labourers, the artisans, and on and on…we’re all obligated to talk with a systemic view. It’s about communities…

Two people once lost in a forest at night. Lighting flashed momentarily. One looked in awe at the sky. One used the moment to find the path. Manchester must have cyber security at the heart of its digital route map. It is the heart…pump, pump, pump. Teamwork… community work.