With organisations more digitally connected than ever and the threat of cyber attacks always looming, being prepared for when (not if) one happens is vital.

The Cyber Security Longitudinal Survey recently highlighted how nearly three-quarters of businesses (74%) and eight in 10 charities (81%) had experienced some form of a cyber security incident in the past year.

For organisations of all sizes, these stark numbers show how safeguarding against cyber threats is critical. However, protecting against online threats on their own is a challenge, and the power of collaborative partnerships cannot be underestimated.

These can take many forms, from joint efforts between different organisations to share knowledge, to alliances between businesses and charities with cyber security experts to educate teams and increase resilience.

Partnerships can also help organisations to reduce even the risk of cyber attack. Working as a team, cyber security experts and organisations can identify vulnerabilities in their systems and develop strategies to mitigate them.

It’s amazing what can be achieved when partnerships are given the opportunity to flourish. February marked two years since the CyberScotland Partnership was created, formed to increase awareness and understanding of cyber security issues among the public, private and third sectors, with the clear remit that it will take this joint effort to do so.

The relationships we’ve forged over the last two years have been vital in providing and disseminating clear and coherent information to support individuals and organisations in their efforts to stay secure and resilient.

By growing the partnership from 10 to 17 members, we have brought together organisations from a cross-section of sectors, all working with a united goal of increasing cyber resilience within their own networks.

While there have been many highlights since the partnership was launched, several milestone moments have been particularly memorable. 

In October last year, we brought over 200 delegates together to the first CyberScotland Summit. Lindy Cameron, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), praised Scotland’s approach to cyber security and reinforced the power of collaboration when mitigating the impact of cyber attacks. 

We also saw great success with the launch of the “DIGI Ken” campaign, based on the NCSC’s Cyber Aware campaign. The adverts are currently being shown on TVs nationwide during CyberScotland Week to help everyone stay safe and secure online.

Access to free resources, like the introduction to cyber security staff training guide, are further key benefits of working with other organisations. Cyber security can be costly, and many organisations, especially those in the third sector, simply lack the resources to invest in the necessary technology and personnel on their own.

Free resources can also come in the form of practical collaborative workshops too, like the Exercise in a Box sessions. Developed by the NCSC and delivered by our own Cyber and Fraud Centre – Scotland, over 450 businesses have already taken part since its conception in 2020.  They also brought organisations together in these sessions who could share best practice. 

These free workshops help organisations test their defences in a safe environment, and a number are being held throughout CyberScotland Week.

As the threat of cyber attacks continues to grow, partnerships in cyber security will become increasingly important for organisations of all sizes in their efforts to create a stronger cyber defence. The work of the CyberScotland Partnership is just the start.

Only through collaboration and cooperation can we all hope to stay ahead of the ever-evolving world of cybercrime.

CyberScotland Week is running until the 5th of March, drawing together a wide range of online and in-person events across Scotland designed to make businesses, organisations and individuals more cyber-aware and resilient. Find out more here.

The 17 participating organisations in the CyberScotland Partnership are:

CENSISCollege Development Network; Cyber and Fraud Centre – Scotland; Education ScotlandHighlands and Islands EnterpriseIASMENational Cyber Security CentrePolice ScotlandScotlandISScottish Council for Voluntary OrganisationsScottish EnterpriseScottish GovernmentScottish Social Services CouncilSkills Development ScotlandYoungScotYouthLink Scotland; and the UK Cyber Security Council.