cybersecurity Colorado Springs

Cybersecurity experts from the United Kingdom and Colorado Springs discussed challenges, ideas and potential partnerships at a cybersecurity roundtable hosted Feb. 6 by the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC.

Vinnie Persichetti, director of cybersecurity programs for the Chamber & EDC, said the British Consulate in Denver had approached the chamber about hosting a British cybersecurity group visiting the United States. The delegation made only three stops, he said: Colorado Springs, Denver, San Diego and Seattle.

He said the visit and roundtable discussion helped boost Colorado Springs’ global perspective on cybersecurity.

“This really is one more way to highlight the cybersecurity ecosystem that we have here in Colorado Springs and the appeal that it has not only nationally but internationally, as well as the potential to help grow and partner with our allies across the globe,” Persichetti said.

The Chamber & EDC arranged the Colorado Springs itinerary for the U.K. delegation, which was led by Jacqui Chard, deputy director for defense and national security at the Government Communication Headquarters/U.K. National Cyber Security Centre.

The group visited Peterson Air Force Base, where it received cyber-related mission briefings from Air Force Space Command and NORAD NORTHCOM, before attending the cybersecurity roundtable discussion, called “Bringing Colorado and the U.K. Together: A Knowledge Exchange with Industry, Defence and Policy Officials,” at the Penrose House.  

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“We discussed issues of mutual importance, and had a knowledge exchange talking about workforce development challenges that are being seen both here and in the United Kingdom, including how to address that K through 12 youth space to make them more cybersecurity aware,” Persichetti said. “And part of the focus from the U.K. side for this visit was diversity, so they wanted to highlight and push diversity amongst the workforce and the business community as it relates to cybersecurity.”

The discussion included cybersecurity curriculum, working with educational institutions, developing cybersecurity internships and boosting the involvement of girls and young women in the cybersecurity industry through school programs like Girls Who Code, Persichetti said.

The British delegation also visited the National Cybersecurity Center, where they were hosted by NCC interim CEO Vance Brown — and the visit may yield some international partnerships.

“We feel that that may lead to some partnerships between the NCC and that group,” Persichetti said. “They discussed a U.K. cybersecurity conference that they’ll be hosting in April in Manchester, [England] for which Vance had discussed … potentially traveling over there to partner with them in some aspects for their conference and then having them tie into the NCC’s conference in October with potential partnerships.”

About half the British delegation was made up of industry representatives who met with cybersecurity industry leaders from the Colorado Springs area at the roundtable, Persichetti said.

“There were discussions about potential partnerships … in the future between businesses in Colorado Springs and the U.K.,” he said.