Our cyber future – HCR’s Cyber Conference covers the whole picture

27th September 2021

Providing expertise on cyber security from the FBI to start-up tech companies, alongside risk management and commercial law specialists, HCR’s cyber conference has drawn in 250 delegates for online sessions tackling the issue from all angles.

Using Cheltenham’s cyber ecosystem as its springboard, but drawing in experts nationally and internationally, the event has covered the issue in real depth and breadth.

Speakers and industry experts have advised on everything from the most basic solutions, such as the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) to the use of artificial intelligence to monitor emails and texts to expose insider threats.

Former FBI agent Jerry Bessette, Professor Pete Burnap of Cardiff University, Blacksmiths Group and ethical hacker Mike G led sessions, as did the firm’s own specialists, including our Head of Technology Nicola McNeely and Professor Dan Hyde.

Cyber issues affect both companies and individuals – getting policies right, finding the right cyber insurance and making sure that your data is safe are key for businesses. They also affect anyone who has digital assets such as bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

Tackling these issues, as well as giving tech businesses a platform to showcase their innovations, the conference assembled over 45 speakers across 25 sessions, ending with an in-person event at Gloucestershire College’s Advanced Digital Academy (ADA).

Krissy Scott, head of HCR’s Cheltenham office and conference lead, speaking at the conference’s final event, said: “As part of the local cyber eco-system, it has been an invaluable experience to work with 27 partner organisations through our conference, demonstrating the benefits of working together and wider collaboration; we very much want initiatives like ADA to succeed.”

The technology showcase, supported by Cheltenham cyber community organisation CyNam, brought together four exciting start-ups as part of the event.

Showcasing their innovation and expertise were George B of PORGiESOFT, Ryan Heartfield of Exalens, Bruno Bossola of Meterian, and David Notley of Enclave, all introduced by Rob Kearney of Plexal. Delegates also had the chance to meet the speakers virtually during the conference drop-in networking sessions. More information on each organisation can be found below.


Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Harrison Clark Rickerbys has more than 800 staff and partners based at offices in Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Hereford, London, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Thames Valley, Worcester and the Wye Valley, providing a complete spectrum of legal services to both business and private clients regionally and nationwide.

The firm has a number of highly successful teams specialising in individual sectors, including health and social care, education, technology, agricultural and rural affairs, finance and financial services, defence, security and the forces, and construction.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ work in all aspects of law is nationally and internationally recognised. Clients’ comments about the quality of its work has led to the firm being listed in Tier 1 of the prestigious Legal 500 and Chamber and Partners directories of the major law firms in England and Wales.


Meterian’s platform prevents the enterprise’s own software application assets from becoming an Achilles’ heel. Developers and security officers can rely on Meterian to automatically and continuously prevent risks buried in their software apps from causing financial and reputational damage – like the $600M disaster Equifax experienced in 2017 due to an open-source security hole that lost over 140M customer data records in the US and UK. Their SaaS subscriptions are used by developers in the financial, tech, health, and cybersecurity sectors at enterprises that want to ensure their software applications are secure by design.


Digital transformation in manufacturing has led to excessive cyber risk across the sector. With deep roots in AI-driven cyber-physical security research, Exalens introduced the concept of cyber-physical security AI to combine the capabilities of a human cybersecurity analyst with an engineer’s understanding of physical system behaviour and processes. Codifying their knowledge and automating it at machine-speed, allowing detection and response to threats in seconds without the need for an in-house security team.


PORGiESOFT is on a mission to use AI to make every day time-consuming tasks in cyber-fraud detection easier and faster, building smart machines like that can quickly carry out routine tasks and adapt in the process. Founded in 2018, they are a remote-first tech start-up based in Cambridge, but actively deploy their AI products across several countries.


Complex networks can be a security risk, and a major barrier to getting things done. Enclave’s mission is to give IT professionals a simple way to rapidly build connectivity between any application, computer system, device, or infrastructure – regardless of the underlying network.