Welsh Government Cyber Trade Mission to Brussels 2018

Wales and Belgium Flag PinWe had the pleasure of being one of the invited Welsh organisations at the Welsh Government Cyber Trade Mission to Brussels on the 28th February 2018.

After some difficult train journeys in different countries the day before which were full of delays, cancellations and strikes, we were very pleased to be representing Wales and Welsh Business in Belgium.

The day itself was packed full of presentations from the likes of the Welsh Government Office in BrusselsWelsh Cyber Cluster/Ecosystem, the Belgian Cyber Cluster/Ecosystem, the fintech cluster B-Hive, the Belgian CERT, the NATO NCI Agency, the European Commissioner for Security (Sir Julian King), the Welsh Assembly Minister for Finance (Mark Drakeford AM), the British Ambassador to Belgium (Alison Rose), representatives from 3 of the Welsh Universities, and then all the invited SMEs from Wales including Awen Collective.

We heard about progress being made in the public and private sectors in regards to a variety of subjects including: GDPR, NIS Directive, Penetration Testing, Cryptography, Cyber-Crime Law, Certification, Digital Forensics & Incident Response, IoT, Industrial Control Systems and much more.

The day finished with an enjoyable reception at the British Ambassadors Residence to celebrate the eve of St David's Day, who is, of course, the Patron Saint of Wales. Thankfully inside was warm, while the night air in Brussels reached around -9°C.

The whole day has enabled us to make new connections with people in Wales, Belgium, France and elsewhere, and we shall be following up on those new contacts to transform those connections into collaborations.

One particular subject was raised throughout the day, and that is the exit of the UK from the European Union (i.e. "Brexit") and how that might impact cyber-attacks, the cyber-security market and the economy in general. Awen Collective has decided not to raise any particular official opinion on the matter of Brexit, but what I will say here is that events such as this trade mission and the resultant actions prove that it is through collaboration that real solutions can be developed, and not through isolation or egotism.

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! Happy St David's Day!


Awen Collective: The Blog, The Story

Awen Collective, like all great businesses started off as an idea about how to solve a particular problem.[Daniel Lewis at DCMS ASI Showcase Day in October 2017]

Via the University of South Wales we received some funding (January 2017 - October 2017) to start to research into the viability of creating either spin-out company or a start-up with spin-out intellectual property, this was thanks to being in the 1st Cohort of DCMS Academic Startups Initiative for Cyber-Security (part of the National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021).

In the meantime, Andrew and I, outside of the university, began to really commercialise the idea, develop it into a commercially viable proposition. We established and registered Awen Collective Ltd in September 2017, as a start-up to be a vehicle in which we place our personally developed intellectual property. The value propositions we have developed are specifically focused on providing and developing digital forensics & incident response software-based solutions to owners of industrial control systems (in particular critical infrastructure & manufacturing) and to cyber-security, digital forensics and incident response service providers.

Our solutions are not developed based on "technology-push" or "market-push," but are genuinely based on "market-pull". We want to prepare people and organisations for incidents, and we have the expertise to be able to help do that. We are not only developing a products which will be made available on the market, but, more short-term, we are working on project-based contracts to ensure that companies are ready and so that we develop software tools for real-world problems. [Awen Collective Logo]

We acknowledge that we, as solution providers, are on a journey, as are those who have the problems and pains. We hope to be able to walk with you on your journey, and we hope that you will walk with us on ours. We believe that collaboration is vital for effective and efficient digital forensics and incident response.

That is why we have started this blog, and will shortly be starting an email newsletter. We ask you to engage with us, and we will endeavour to engage with you also. We also suggest following us on Twitter or LinkedIn, so that we can begin to discuss.

I want to leave you with two books which I would highly recommend to entrepreneurs, executives, business strategists and solutions providers out there. They are both by Alex Osterwalder:

These books are not specifically related to DFIR, however they do contain a lot of ideas and structure for creating a start-up business or designing business/organisational change processes. Their approaches are particularly applicable to technology businesses, and those approaches have been around for a while now, are well-known and are tried-and-tested. I truly believe that the Business Model Canvas should be placed at the same importance as things like Lean methodology, Six Sigma, Agile and so on.


Thank you for reading, and we hope to discuss problems and solutions with you again soon. Don't hesitate to contact us if you need us, either by email, the contact form or through social networks such as Twitter.

Daniel - CEO & Cofounder

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