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A Guide to Student Services – what they do and how they help businesses with cyber resilience


You may have read about Student Services at regional Cyber Resilience Centres, but what are they, and are they worth using?


Each CRC that BRIM has helped to establish in the UK offers Student Services to businesses in the area. Partnering with local universities leading in cyber, Student Services harness the knowledge and skills of current students in the field of ethical hacking to offer affordable services to businesses who may not have the understanding or budget to go straight to professional providers first. By learning their most basic risks, SMEs can then improve resilience and make better informed decisions about engaging a commercial supplier.


If you’re still not sure about Student Services, read on to find out some of the pros and cons of engaging with them:


PROS:


Contributing to the UK talent pipeline development

Student Services are mutually beneficial to both client and CRC, as they allow the students to test their knowledge in the field and hone their experience of dealing with real life scenarios, customers, and reporting. By engaging with Student Services, businesses are helping to nurture and develop the talent pipeline of UK cyber resilience for years to come. With a significant skills gap, this could make an important contribution to UK resilience.


Up-to-date knowledge for true resilience

By utilising current students with ethical hacking skills, Student Services can tap into the most cutting-edge industry knowledge and best practice for its clients. The students are supervised and guided by programme leaders, Policing, and partners at their regional CRC, so that clients can be assured of the most informed guidance available.


Affordability for small businesses and charities

Student Services are provided through the non-profit CRCs, making them an appealing and affordable option for SMEs and sole traders who may not have the budget to engage with more expensive providers. For some, it gives them a way to learn what to ask for before they begin the journey to finding a professional supplier.


Diverse range of services

From vulnerability assessments to security policy reviews and even security awareness training (human error being one of the biggest reported risks to small business and third sector organisations), Student Services has a wide offering to suit organisations of any size, in any industry. Whether it’s a small business that want to find out what’s relevant to them, boost their existing cyber resilience capabilities, or a sole trader with no cyber resilience set up looking to establish a baseline, Student Services can help.


CONS:


Some skill limitations

The students are able to offer a range of services, but because they are not yet professionals in the field, there is a limit to what they can do during their time with a business. It’s possible they might discover an issue that they are unable to solve in its entirety. What they can do is identify what is needed and help you find a local regional trusted partner to finish the job. That way clients can fix their problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.


No free services

While Student Services offers incredible value and a reduced rate from professional services, there is still a cost involved, which is something to consider for smaller businesses on a tight budget. However, each regional CRC does offer a free Core Membership to businesses in the area, so they are still able to access guidance and support no matter their financial status.


Student services are a smart option for any business, individual, or third sector organisation to explore. Not only can it help to boost a business’ own cyber resilience, it also contributes to the essential training and skill building of the UK’s cyber talent pipeline at a time when cyber resilience is a business essential, not a luxury.


For more information on the Student Services offered at your nearest CRC, find your regional Centre on our Network page and visit their website.