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An Insight into Student Cyber Services, with Paul Boam


At BRIM, we’re very proud of our Student Cyber Services programme, which we develop in partnership with universities nationwide. The programme is designed to provide guidance to SMEs who are new to cybersecurity and need help getting started. In a lockdown-impacted world, many SMEs are also struggling to remain financially buoyant. Our programme has quickly become a viable solution for providing affordable cyber services too, ensuring no small business is left unsupported as they adapt to their ‘new normal’.


Introducing new tech-based social distancing solutions, such as online ordering or booking and contactless payments, as well as remote working, are areas we’ve seen which can cause an increase in security risk. Utilising the knowledge of top student cyber talent from across the UK and giving them additional training to deliver our programme, overseen by national Policing, is unique and provides a powerful solution.


Cyber Talent Pipeline is managed by Paul Boam from BRIM, a former consultant for Her Majesty’s Government and a highly recognised technical consultant. Paul mentors and guides students across the network of Cyber Resilience Centres in developing their skills, getting them workplace ready with a balance of relationship management, handling highly sensitive technical security cases and the service provision that Centres provide for their business community.


We sat down with Paul to find out more …


Firstly, what is Student Cyber Services?

Student Cyber Services is a provision that we are rolling out across the UK’s first network of Cyber Resilience Centres (CRCs), which offers guidance to SMEs who require an entry point to cybersecurity. The services are delivered by the top talent from universities in the regional area for each CRC. Students are recruited and progress through training via our masterclasses. They are mentored by their senior ethical hackers, who are mentored by me throughout the process.


Why is Student Cyber Services beneficial?

SMEs often don't have sufficient budget to go to a consultancy when they’re initially considering their cybersecurity needs. Even if they do have the budget for consultancy, they may not be confident in navigating buying services, some simply want to become more educated before they commission private sector work to ensure they make informed buying decisions.


Student Cyber Services bridges the gap and allows SMEs to gain knowledge, insight into cybersecurity while accessing up-to-date guidance. For small businesses, the importance isn’t on being “unhackable” (something that isn’t possible) but on establishing baseline security, based on risk management relevant to the scale, nature and turnover of their business. This will drastically reduce their chance of being compromised.


Additionally, there is a benefit to the wider economy. As the programme is giving top students additional training, they graduate into the UK security industry as ready-made consultants with experience in academia, policing and the private sector. This ultimately results in supporting the UK’s cyber resilience and is where our student talent pipeline mentioned earlier becomes so valuable.

Student Cyber Services bridges the gap and allows SMEs to gain knowledge, insight into cybersecurity while accessing up-to-date guidance. For small businesses, the importance isn’t on being “unhackable” (something that isn’t possible) but on establishing baseline security, based on risk management relevant to the scale, nature and turnover of their business. This will drastically reduce their chance of being compromised.

How are students recruited for Student Services?

Each CRC builds a relationship with universities in their area, particularly universities who offer courses with a strong vocational focus. Practical skills are invaluable and are required for working with SMEs and upon graduation too.


Whether this is a practical application module, industry year placement or volunteering, this practical experience is invaluable. Our selected students are also proven at time and workload management as they are working alongside their university course.


We carry out an extensive recruitment process which includes university endorsement, an interview, profiling and onboarding. We then move on to the masterclass program where they are taught everything they need to begin working with SMEs.


What are the benefits to the students?

They gain real-world, hands-on experience that they wouldn’t get simply from studying at university. They also have exposure to large companies, how they work and how their skill set fits in there. As an added bonus they will have experience working with law enforcement and projects that require national delivery.


It’s an amazing addition to their CVs when completing their studies and gives them an advantage when entering the competitive job market. It also enables them to experience the difference across a variety of industries before committing to an early career choice.


This is a part-time job for our students, most of whom need to support themselves at university. Having the option to earn money doing something related to your degree is scarce and our programme is a great enabler of this too.


Want to hire an ethical hacker?

From affordable cyber resilience to profiling your team members and assessing risk for them or your organisation why not support the Programme of the talent pipeline and make an enquiry today? We can connect you to your local team.


About Paul:

As a former consultant for her Majesty’s Government and a highly recognised technical consultant, working for international regulation bodies including the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), Paul is an experienced security company Director and former consultant to Her Majesty’s Government.


A Chartered Engineer and former CLAS and CHECK team, Paul is a specialist in Information Security Management Systems, Anti-Bribery, Asset Management, Supply Chain Security, and Business Continuity management systems.

His background as an OSINT and Dark Web trainer brings additional expertise to the talent pipeline that is of exceptional value to National Policing and the role out of the Cyber Resilience Centres.