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24/04/23 | Kurtis Toy, vCISO and Convener of the CCoE

CCoE Sponsors SOCITIM’s Top Talent London 2023

It should be well known that cyber security is an essential aspect of today’s digital world, and local authorities are not immune to the ever-increasing threat of cyber-attacks. In fact, local authorities are prime targets for cybercriminals due to their vast amount of sensitive data and critical infrastructure.

The UK Cyber Centre of Excellence aims to assist with the full remit of what an organisation needs to do and know to stay as cyber secure as possible. Sitting behind the CCoE is an Advisory Forum of some of the UK’s leading experts and technologies in cyber security. This forum includes Kurtis Toy; CEO and lead virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) of Onca Technologies and the convener of the CCoE. To assist with addressing some of the existing gaps in public sector cyber resilience, the CCoE have sponsored SOCITIM’s Top Talent London 2023 leadership program and Kurtis has provided the project brief for this year’s Top Talent cohort.

Local authorities are responsible for providing essential services such as healthcare, education, transportation, and public safety. They also hold sensitive data such as personal information, financial records, and confidential government documents. A cyber-attack on a local authority could compromise this data, leading to severe consequences such as identity theft, financial loss, and reputational damage. Moreover, such an incident could, and has previously, disrupt the delivery of essential services, leading to chaos and potentially endangering lives. For example, a cyber-attack on a hospital’s information system could compromise patient data, leading to incorrect medical treatment with potentially life-threatening consequences. Councils are also responsible for critical infrastructure such as power grids, water treatment plants, and transportation systems. A cyber-attack that targets Operational Technology such as this could cause significant damage to the local community, with a high cost and reputational price tag for the local authority.

Therefore, local authorities must take cyber security seriously and implement robust security measures to protect their systems and data. With this in mind, the project brief for the SOCITIM Top Talent program challenges the public sector leaders that have signed up to handle an example cyber security incident on a fictional local authority.

Inspiration for the staged incident in the project brief was based loosely on real world examples of cyber-attacks on local services within the UK in recent years. Hackney Council experienced a ransomware attack that caused critical services to shut down for weeks, while Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council suffered a cyberattack which impacted over 135,000 residents’ access to vital services.

The delegates of the Top Talent London 2023 project will research previous events, lessons learned, current infrastructure, technologies, roles, processes and data during the course of the program. They are then tasked with presenting a report that concludes the ongoing ramifications that may result from each of the six improvised stages of the cyber-incident. As well discussing the impact of the full scenario on the public image of the local authority and their constituent’s faith and trust in the authority’s ability to manage public services.

The CCoE will assist in reviewing and judging the London 2023 final presentations and will collate the information gathered to provide recommendations for a governance structure for cyber security within local authorities in the UK and how they can best prepare for such incidents.

To find out more about the SOCITIM Top Talent Programme 2023, please visit:


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