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Dev-Bank Wales MBO
17 November 2023

Fintech Awards Wales Exclusive Interview: Prof. Pete Burnap Professor of Data Science & Cybersecurity – Cyber Innovation Hub 2023


In the wake of the 2023 Fintech Awards Wales, Matt Hyde, Director of Recruit121 and the Fintech Awards Wales, engages in exclusive interviews with the sponsors and prominent figures at the forefront of the FinTech sector in Wales.

The Fintech Awards Wales serve as a platform to acknowledge and honour the remarkable accomplishments of individuals, companies, and academic institutions within the Welsh FinTech landscape.

In this special series, Matt introduces you to the key figures driving innovation and progress in this dynamic industry.

This week Matt speaks to Prof. Pete Burnap Professor of Data Science & Cybersecurity – Cyber Innovation Hub 2023

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Fintech is a rapidly evolving industry, and Wales has shown remarkable progress in this domain. From your perspective, what unique opportunities or challenges does the Welsh fintech ecosystem present, and how does your organization contribute to its development?

The opportunities are vast as the sector is so creative and rapidly moving – in terms of taking an idea from concept to reality. Given the fundamental digital element to Fintech, there is always going to be a need to focus on the cyber threats to the industry as it evolves. Something to be mindful of is that cybersecurity is difficult to retrofit – it needs to be baked into new processes and technology as they are developed. At Cyber Innovation Hub we are running bitesize and affordable upskilling courses for technical people, and well as complete newbies to tech, to learn more about how to be secure and how to develop technology-driven systems with cyber security designed in. We see this as a multi-sector offering, but a huge contribution to Fintech in particular.

What motivated your organization to become a sponsor of the Fintech Awards Wales, and what do you see as the significance of supporting events like these within the fintech industry?

Cyber Innovation Hub aims to increase awareness of cyber threats, and particularly, that all organisations need to have people in their teams who take responsibility for cyber security. Most if not all organisations will hold personal data, and if this is lost or stolen in a cyber attack – there is a monetary and reputational damage that will follow. We are sponsoring the Best Cyber Team award to encourage Fintech companies to think about this, and to develop cybersecurity cultures, policies and awareness within their organisations – and to raise awareness in the cyber sector of Fintech, including the rapid technological advancements the sector is making, so they can think about how their businesses and cyber solutions can adapt to support the growth of a secure Fintech sector.

As a sponsor, what specific role does your organization play in promoting innovation and growth within the fintech sector in Wales? Can you share any initiatives or programs that align with your sponsorship?

Innovation is literally the Cyber Innovation Hub’s middle name! Our vision is centred around growth. Growth in terms of the number of cyber companies anchored, built and grown in South East Wales; and growth in terms of the number of cyber-skilled people ready for work across all sectors, including Fintech. Our bitesize and affordable cyber upskilling courses address the latter point, while our unique venture building programme addresses the former. If you have a big idea for a new “secure Fintech solution”, but are lacking the knowledge, team or funds to develop a new commercial venture. We can help you there – so get in touch!

The UK has established itself as a global hub for fintech innovation, with London being a prominent fintech centre. How do you see the Fintech Awards Wales contributing to the overall growth and visibility of the UK's fintech ecosystem, and do you believe that regional fintech events, such as the Fintech Awards Wales, play a role in nurturing collaboration and fostering connections within the industry across the country?

In my view, post-Covid – people don’t want to travel all the time, and they don’t want to spend all their time in big cities. Regional activity is key. However, for growth, you do need a critical mass of people and access to facilities and resources to deliver and grow your business. Cardiff is perfectly placed as a smaller-sized City, located in a beautiful part of the World, and with easy access to London. It takes about 90 minutes now on the train. The Fintech Wales Awards showcases the outstanding activity and rapid innovation happening in Cardiff, and puts the place on the UK-map, supporting the awareness of the sector activity and the development of activity from Cardiff to the rest of the UK and beyond.

Looking ahead, how do you envision the future of fintech in Wales, and how will your organization continue to support and collaborate with the local fintech community beyond the awards ceremony?

More growth! Fintech Wales do an amazing job of promoting the activity, and the number of companies actively engaged seems to grow almost weekly! I’m sure we’ll see a lot of them on parade at the Fintech Wales Awards! Cyber Innovation Hub is here to help all of them grow securely via our cyber upskilling offerings, and make sure they all have people in the organisation who can take ownership of cybersecurity, to make the sector one of the most secure places to do business in a Digital era

We've explored some interesting developments and insights in the fintech space today. On a lighter note, with all the innovative trends in fintech, if you had a magic wand and could bring one futuristic fintech concept to life right now, what would it be and why?

A Fintech automated cyber insurance app? Stick it on your device / IT network, and it would automatically price up your cyber insurance based on how secure (or insecure) it is! Why? It would make cyber insurance more accurate and real-time – which would help make it more affordable for the good cyber secure companies, and profitable for the insurers. A bit like telematics did for young drivers. Cyber Innovation Hub is building a prototype of this product if anyone is interested

 



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