States’ National Security Agency (NSA) earlier this month for his “exceptional contribution” to the UK-US cyber partnership, has even started to work for the SBRC in Scotland, delivering CEO-level cybersecurity training to busi- nesses. Tat’s in addition to SBRC delivering Exercise in a Box, a training programme developed by NCSC, which has helped 250 companies navigate real-life cyber scenarios in the last year.

But McCorry, who is used to handling multi-million-pound tech programmes on behalf of government, thinks much more needs to be invested in cyber. At Te Data Lab – one of Scotland’s eight innovation centres – she worked with a budget of over £11m in promoting data science. At SBRC her budget is a small fraction of that. Commendably, government Digital Boost grants have provided cyber health checks for every business in receipt of one; but the irony of

not spending nearly as much on protecting data, compared to cre- ating it, is not lost on McCorry. “We need to start protecting

it, data is a huge asset,” she says. “People say about Estonia being a great model, but it was built out of necessity, with a hostile neighbour in Russia, and the potential of a massive cyber- attack. We don’t have that on our doorstep but what we don’t want is for some big incident to occur in order for things to be taken seriously. We need a planned ap- proach to this. If there are innova- tion centres for everything else, why is there not one for cyber?” McCorry mentions the recent

ransomware attack on the Scot- tish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), and remarks that it was fortunate that it was not more serious. In the US, there have been countless cyber-attacks on public hospitals, and in Ger- many the first recorded incidence of a patient actually dying as a result of an ambulance being re-

directed away from a hospital hit by a cyber-attack. Again, in the US, a recent cyber-attack targeted a water treatment plant which could have spilled lethal chemi- cals into the water supply.

McCorry would like to see a Scottish equivalent to the NCSC, albeit a scaled down version, which would act as a dedicated national resource set up to pro- vide incident response, threat intelligence, all the tools in the cyber armoury to defend Scot- land’s business community from online harm. She says: “I think a lot of people

would sleep better in Scotland if we did have some sort of col- lective agency, like a smaller version of NCSC. Ireland had one, Northern Ireland had one, so it becomes an agency that people know they can trust for advice around prevent and protect, but also support if they can rebuild.” Te Irish story is also one of be- ing able to sell itself globally. Mc-

Corry recounts how it seduced the big US tech firms whenever they were in town. She would like to see more of that attitude in Scot- land, to start banging the drum for international investment. “We need to be a bit more

Irish,” she laughs. “People say to me that you’re probably better than Scottish people at selling Scotland. But when Michael Dell went to Ireland the red carpet was rolled out. Te red carpet gets rolled out in Estonia, too. Tese are very organised trips, they’re very slick and smooth, and that’s the bit we miss. We need to sell.” She adds: “Because we actually

have the right infrastructure, the great universities, innovation and tech communities. And that’s arguably something Dublin and London doesn’t have as much of – the network and support. We have all of that, so I think we need to do much more to create that brand awareness, not to be stuck having the conversation ‘why Scotland’ all the time.” l


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