NEBRC: a reflection on our work to date and focus for the future

By Supt Rebecca Chapman, NEBRC Director

It has been challenging but extremely productive past 12 months for the North East Business Resilience Centre (NEBRC) as we move into our third year since inception next month.

Cyber crime and fraud remain a key and very real threat for businesses, with the head of Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Lindy Cameron recently quoted as saying that ransomware – that is malware (malicious software) that attackers can deploy on a victim’s computer network to encrypt files – is

“the most immediate danger to UK businesses”.

Our role at the NERBC is to help educate and empower regional business leaders and their teams to prepare for, and protect from, such warnings.

Established in late 2019 as a result of a pioneering, police-led partnership, with an overarching aim to support regional businesses from cyber crime and fraud, the NEBRC today has just short of 1,000 members, having achieved over £50K via membership programmes, alongside additional revenue from our successful student services programme.

Besides our commercial ambition, we continue to drive awareness to all key audiences, reaching over 1,500 each month via our website, which is supported by our social media interactions across Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook: with almost 10,000 Twitter impressions and 1,500 LinkedIn impressions obtained last month alone.

Late last year the Centre was appointed by Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership following a competitive pitch to deliver a £100K programme to support the self-employed and micro-businesses across the Leeds City Region. At the time when so many businesses were facing ongoing change and distribution as a result of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions this support became a key part of the region’s recovery plan to produce resilient and thriving businesses. As a result of the programme, we engaged with over 170 regional businesses and conducted 150 bespoke Cyber Health Checks.

We are proud that the formation of the NERBC has brought together police, academia, public and private businesses, investors, and members, all working to deliver business resilience services, protecting people, places, and processes from risk - and indeed has been used as a template for other centres across the UK.

We were delighted to recently learn that we have been selected as a finalist for an Outstanding Cyber Security Performance Award for our work this year, having also won an award last year. And we were honoured to have been guests of Commissioner Ian Dyson at this year’s National Cyber Awards – pictured **below** alongside Board Member Richard Holmes, CGI and BRIM founder and Executive Chair, Mandy Haeburn-Little.

A nod in the line of successes this past year must also go to DI Martin Wilson, Head of Student Services at the NEBRC, who achieved a top mark in his Master’s degree despite working part time - and managing a young family. His work and forthcoming PhD is supporting the Centre to target the SME market in a more intelligent manner. A brief mention too to our students who have achieved fantastic private and public sector positions following their roles at the NEBRC. Congratulations to all.

Last month we completed the incorporation of the North East Fraud Forum (NEFF), reflecting our widening programme into fraud. The swelling of expertise within NEBRC has allowed the team to work towards becoming a certifying body for the respected Counter Fraud Fundamentals IASME scheme, after already achieving the Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation. Following this expansion we have recently restructured our support groups: we now have a Cyber Experts Panel, made up of local companies that are accrediting bodies for IASME, and tech specialists; and a Student Services Steering Group to ensure our students get the most from their affiliation with the Centre.

Put simply, everything we work towards translates into guidance and confidence for our members and those that are looking to invest in the North East.

Looking ahead, our focus remains on renewing paying members and widening our reach and programme across the region. We are excited about the future and the support and impact we can offer to businesses within the digital era and we are looking forward to working with our partners again in 2022.

For further information on the NEBRC contact us at: