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Newcastle firm launches tool to boost industrial cyber security

March 15th 2021

A NEWCASTLE data firm is supporting clients to boost cyber resilience with the launch of an assessment tool to spot gaps that digital fraudsters can exploit. 

Digital Technologies Group (DTG), which is headquartered in Ayrshire, and recently launched a Newcastle arm in Helix’s Catalyst building, has launched its innovative Cyber Assessment Tool (CAsT), with backing from Scottish Enterprise Research & Development (R&D) grant funding.

The tool helps Pharmaceutical and Process Industries to increase their Operational Technology cyber resilience, identifying security weaknesses in systems and offering solutions to increase an organisation’s resilience to emerging cyber threats. By creating visibility of risks and modelling the impact of proposed changes, CAsT can protect business and digital operations from the detrimental effects and disruption of cybercrime.

DTG’s North East business development manager, Tim Gowling, said the company expected a lot of interest in the new tool, with a large number of manufacturers at risk of cyber attacks as they move towards more digitised production. 

He said: “As organisations adopt industry 4.0, installing complex digital technologies to deliver process efficiencies using big data and smart analytics, they are becoming more dependent than ever on digital networks.

“With potentially hundreds of insecure devices now connected around an industrial plant, hackers often use OT devices as a backdoor into larger corporate networks - generating a new wave of security risks that businesses must address.”

Ian Campbell, DTG’s operations director, added: “The first step to identifying your cyber vulnerabilities is building an accurate inventory of all assets. Many organisations don’t know how many assets they own or their exact location, so it’s not surprising there are security discrepancies.  We have developed a tool that will highlight issues and allow customers to quickly remedy them, leaving them less vulnerable to attacks.”

Through thorough data collection, CAsT compiles a detailed OT asset inventory, identifies security weaknesses, and proposes risk reduction solutions. Using data visualisation software, these proposed solutions can be simulated, making it easy for decision makers to address their immediate OT cybersecurity needs and incrementally tackle less significant risks.

Scotland's national economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, provided DTG with an R&D grant, which was instrumental in the design and construction of CAsT.

Joe McArdle, Innovation Specialist at Scottish Enterprise, said: “As the impact of Covid-19 continues to be felt across the economy, it’s vital that Scottish businesses are innovative, ambitious and outward-looking. DTG is a fantastic example of a business using innovation to develop its offering, and we wish Ian and his team all the best as they launch this new cyber assessment tool.”

The tool is just one of a suite of services that DTG offers to companies in the North East, as it builds its customer base outside of Scotland.  The company hopes that – in having a base at The Catalyst, which is home to a dynamic cluster of businesses focused around data - it will be able to identify opportunities to collaborate and add value to businesses across the region.

The Catalyst is home to the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD), which was set up to spur on the growth of the region’s tech and digital cluster.  The building is managed by Oxford Innovation, the UK’s leading operator of innovation centres, and provides a hub for entrepreneurs and researchers in data to collaborate and create new companies, services and products.  The Catalyst creates a supportive ecosystem for firms to grow and develop new ideas, products and services, alongside world-leading creative thinkers.

Ryan Blake, Assistant Centre Manager at The Catalyst, said: “Businesses based in The Catalyst are doing some really remarkable work in their own right, so it’s easy to see how – by coming together – they can build on that and achieve much more.

“DTG’s work to use data to address cyber security vulnerabilities will do much to increase the resilience of manufacturers and their supply chain across the region, and we’re proud that a business that is based in our fantastic centre is finding such positive ways of using data to tackle this growing threat.”

To find out more about The Catalyst, visit www.thecatalystnewcastle.co.uk.  To find out more about DTG’s new CAsT offer, visit https://www.digtechgroup.com/cast or email info@digtechgroup.com

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