Cyber-Security fine dining event at City College Norwich

By Jordan Domin, Customer Experience Team

On Thursday 10th January I had the absolute pleasure of spending the evening at City College Norwich’s Debut restaurant for a Cyber-Security themed dinner. It was an intimate affair with the option of a mojito mocktail or prosecco on arrival, I opted for the prosecco of course. With around 20 people in the room it was easy to speak to a number of different people most of whom had never been to the restaurant before and were looking forward to it as much as I was.

Reception part of the evening over we were called to our seats for dinner to begin, I have to admit I was rather excited by the prospect of a mystery dinner and it did not disappoint. The food was absolutely outstanding, especially given that the entire thing was executed by the college’s Hospitality Apprenticeship students. It was a four-course affair with a pea and mint soup amuse bouche; crispy goats cheese, beetroot texture, and French salad starter; duck breast with parsnip, red cabbage, and potatoes; and a salted caramel and chocolate tart for pudding. Every single course was outstanding and presented to a very high standard, the students serving us were very professional and I’m sure will go on to have fantastic careers in the hospitality industry. I had the pleasure of being seated next to one of the degree apprenticeship officers from the college who explained that many of the students go on to work on cruise ships, in high level kitchens, and private yachts and I can certainly see why! Before the speakers took their place on the stairs (in lieu of a stage) we were presented with truffles and tea, which went down an absolute treat. I even joked to some of the people on my table that I have had worse food and service in a restaurant!

The evening was focused on cyber-security and made possible with the help of Cyberfen so after we had finished our outstanding dinner came the presentation portion of the evening. First up with Peter Cubbin who’s main message was for us to forget the technology, something you don’t expect to hear at a cyber-security evening, or at least I certainly didn’t. He highlighted that often when organisations experience disruption to their processes it’s usually because they are collateral damage of a larger attack, his example was the Wannacry virus which put large swathes of the NHS on lockdown in 2017. He argued that this could have been avoided if organisations had updated their systems to take on a security patch released by Microsoft in the months running up to the attack.

Next up was Deborah Cubbin who explained to the room that businesses need to be considering the wider repercussions of an attack on the business as a whole. She said that too often the onus is put on the IT and Security team to fend off an attack whereas business leaders should in fact be involving themselves in security. When a business experiences an attack it can have a detrimental impact on their reputation and therefore should be considered a business issue as opposed to a technical issue.

Finally Paul Maskell took to the stage with the message that organisations need to be taking people’s data more seriously. He used the hypothetical situation of me asking to borrow his car, he would be happy to lend it to me but he had previous experience of doing so to Kieren who had not treated it very well and in turn leant it to his friend who had taken it for a jolly down to London. His point was that when I asked to borrow his car, where he previously would have agreed, due to his negative experience with Kieren he would be less inclined to do so. He said the same is true for customer’s data, they trust us as businesses to look after it and do the right thing when they give it to us, companies that betray this trust make customers more wary of sharing it in future. We should be protecting data as if it is the most important thing to us.

The evening closed with a short introduction to the new Information Technology and Computing, Level 3 City College are running from September 2019. The course has been designed alongside employers and teaches students both the technical and soft skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

I was absolutely delighted to be invited to such a great evening and will definitely be attending the next one, assuming I get an invite of course!

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