The chief executive of Scotland’s environment agency is among the winners announced at the Scottish Business Resilience Centre’s (SBRC) awards ceremony yesterday.

Terry A’Hearn, leader of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), received special commendation for his “honesty and openness” following the company’s cyber attack in December 2020.

Now in their fifth year, the Scottish Cyber Awards celebrate the individuals and organisations “working to improve Scotland’s cybersecurity”.

Skills Development Scotland won the top award of the evening – Champion of Champions – for their “phenomenal” cyber skills education programme.

This year’s event was comprised of 11 judged categories, with new title Best Customer Experience chosen by the public and awarded to Glasgow-based cyber security specialists Ascent Cyber.

The awards, hosted by Scottish comedian Fred MacAuley, were held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh.

Jude McCorry, chief executive of SBRC, said: “It’s encouraging to see that – despite cyber attacks increasing in number – the Scottish cyber security sector has worked hard to present a united front.

“From Memcrypt and Napier University’s development of a ransomware detection product, to Polydigi Tech’s collaboration with companies throughout the country; the nominees have proven their dedication and commitment to combat cyber threats that impact all individuals and organisations throughout Scotland.

“It was fantastic to celebrate with the winners in person and share their achievements but, truly, we’re all winners here: if these awards have shown us anything, it’s that Scotland is home to a united cyber defence community that shows no signs of slowing down.”

Andrew Scott, senior security delivery manager at Accenture and judge at the Scottish Cyber Awards, added: “The calibre of entries this year were second to none, which made it harder than ever to declare a winner. In some cases, we felt that the title deserved to go to two individuals as in the case of Outstanding Woman in Cyber, as both women have excelled in encouraging others into the field whether that is through upskilling or while at school.

“While all the winners should be applauded for their work, we especially wanted to recognise our Champion of Champions. Skills Development Scotland – Discover Cyber Skills has done phenomenal work engaging with over 100,000 young people with the hopes of inspiring them to enter cyber careers and provided fantastic support to teachers across the country. In fact, they collaborated with most of the organisations who were shortlisted, showing their dedication to helping expand the cyber community in Scotland.”

The full list of 2021 winners include:

  • Best Cyber Start Up, sponsored by Varonis: Polydigi Tech Ltd
  • Best New Cyber Talent, sponsored by Change Digital: George Milken, Education Scotland
  • Diversity Champion, sponsored by Sapphire: Lead Scotland
  • Collaboration with Police Scotland, sponsored by Check Point: Cyber Resilience Bulletin
  • Cyber Educator, sponsored by SQA: Colin McLean, Abertay University
  • Leading Light Innovation, sponsored by Scotland IS: MemCrypt with Napier University
  • Best Cyber Breakthrough, sponsored by Quorum Cyber: Capito Ltd
  • Best Cyber Education Programme, sponsored by BT: Skills Development Scotland – Discover Cyber Skills
  • Outstanding Cyber Team, sponsored by FullProxy: Cybercrime Harm Prevention Team, Police Scotland
  • Outstanding Woman in Cyber, sponsored by Gigged.AI: Sarah Cunningham, Waterstons and Ashley Beck, Police Scotland (tie)
  • Outstanding Leadership, sponsored by Closed Door Security: Detective Inspector Michael McCullagh, Police Scotland
  • Best Customer Experience, sponsored by The Tech Force: Ascent Cyber (chosen by the public)
  • Champion of Champions, sponsored by Accenture: Skills Development Scotland – Discover Cyber Skills

People across Scotland nominated their organisation, themselves, or another individual they felt deserved recognition for helping to combat cybercrime.

The judging committee included representatives from across the public and private sectors to “reflect the wide-ranging impact” of the cybersecurity sector.