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Our pride in great SMEs … step forward ECS

We think to innovate … you need to be small, smart and agile … and we love ECS for breaking through and pushing the boundaries of computer security! Sometimes you get to see the birth of something, and then see the growing pains, and then where you see something blossom … that’s ECS for us!

We have seen ECS grow over the years, and we hope we have given them some great graduates in order for them to achieve their vision. And the nicest thing is when they get rewarded for their work:

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and it adds to other awards, including SME of the year. From afar, we are so proud of our local SME, that now stands high in pushing forward cybersecurity. Their awards include:

  • Partner award at Splunk’s global Revolution Awards ceremony.
  • Splunk’s Partner of the Year UK and Ireland award.
  • Best Security Company 2016 in the Cyber Security Awards.
  • Managed Security Partner 2016 in the Computing Vendor Excellence Awards.
  • No. 40 in list and the UK’s fastest growing IT security firm.

Watching the birth of something special

We are in the privileged position to work with some great SMEs, and have seen them move from companies of just a few people to ones who contribute extensively to economic activity and who drive innovation. At their core they have spotted opportunities and moved quickly. They generally have thrived through innovation, but their roots often can be traced to just a few people who took risks and managed to battle through.

We have watched as people like Don Smith [] and Richard Lewis [] helped lead DNS (a small company security based on Princess Street) to its scale-up and then to be taken over by SecureWorks, and then onto Dell SecureWorks. They now have a considerable base in Edinburgh. Often we have listened to the requirements of these companies as they have grown, and tried to match this to our teaching, who that the companies came back on a continual basis and asked for more graduates as they grew.

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Federico Charosky

And it is to ECS that we are so proud of, as we have helped play our small part in their growth by providing them with graduates on a continual basis. We have seen them grow, from the early days of Federico Charosky [] and Nathan Dornbrook [] and then onto them winning the SME of the Year.

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With them, from afar, we felt the roller coaster ride of the ups and downs of the small consultancy company looking to make its mark in setting up Security Operations Centers (SoCs), and where late payments from customers could cause such problems. But they took risks and continued their vision, with determination and drive, and have succeeded to push many companies forward in the creation of SoCs.

Growing through vision and talent

And so ECS has grown, and have continued to source many of their graduates from our courses, as we hope that we produce graduates who can match themselves to the demands of the Cybersecurity industry. They, too, can spot talent when the see it, and it is this talent that has made ECS successful.

It is this eye for talent and knowing how to drive Cyber Security within companies that has resulted in the award of SME of the Year:

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We are so proud of the company who have continually provided us with guest speakers — for no cost — and for sharing their thoughts and vision with us, and which has helped us develop. They have also helped sponsor our events in the early days of The Cyber Academy, and which gave us the courage to move forward with its creation.

Without companies like ECS, there would be fewer good quality jobs around for our graduates, and so the synergy between industry and academia works well, and where companies such as ECS thrive on smart people, as it is people who drive innovation. A small company in IT can only survive by moving quickly and innovating on limited resources. It takes endless hours of commitment, determination and drive.

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Figure: Nathan Dornbrook at Conference on Cyber Security and Education at Tulliallan, Oct 2015 []

Built on attracting (and keeping) the best

The success of ECS is thus based on the talent of the individuals involved, and in spotting opportunities and innovating quickly. I could easily show you the decisions that they have made, but perhaps I should leave it to them. We have watched them with great respect, and wish them all the best for the future. They have made Edinburgh one of the leaders in the integration of Cyber Security in the finance industry, and it has a vibrant and growing industry, built on smart people.

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Figure: David Calder at Cyber Security Conference, Jan 2015

And here is one of our great graduates showing how to integrate machine learning into Big Data solutions for Cyber Security (and our most popular video on The Cyber Academy YouTube channel):

So … well done ECS! You’ve helped support us, without ever demanding one thing. Companies like ECS make our job so much more interested. We love SMEs, and we hope to continue to support them, as they help us focus our work too. At every turn that have helped support our development and encourage our students:

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We are lucky too, that there are so many individuals who contribute to our work, without ever asked for financial gain, as they are keen to pass on their experience and passion onto the next generation. They know, too, that if they can interest students, the smart students will want to go and work with them, and contribute to their success. That’s the way that things work in this Information Age.

Conclusions

As we say … when you are up against Goliath … go David! Great SMEs survive because they are smart and can see opportunities, and invest in innovation. Big companies often carry on in their same old groove, with little though of doing things differently.

Written by

Professor of Cryptography. Serial innovator. Believer in fairness, justice & freedom. EU Citizen. Auld Reekie native. Old World Breaker. New World Creator.

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