When an organisation experiences a cyber-attack, the time it takes to recover could be expensive and damaging for business. Company data could have been stolen, hardware broken or processes disrupted, which can have severe knock-on effects on the company’s reputation and consequently, business.
A cyber-attack can also have detrimental effects to those outside of that organisation. Awen Collective, an innovative software company based in Cardiff, are developing software to help reduce the time that manufacturing and utility companies suffer from a cyber-attack, helping them get back up and running, fast. Their particular focus is on the critical infrastructure sectors including water, energy, rail and road, whereby a cyber-attack on these utility companies would create a knock on effect to the rest of society.
Their efforts were rewarded early this year as Awen Collective became Cyber Den Champions 2018 in April. To hear more about their work, the ESTnet have been in touch with CEO and Co-Founder, Daniel lewis.
Awen originated from an identified gap in the market spotted by Daniel and his business partner Andrew Blyth. As researchers for the University of South Wales, the pair worked on a number of digital forensics and cyber security projects. Whilst also having experience working commercially with the police, military as well as the private sector. After investigating cyber-crimes on digital devices, Awen Collective was established. Daniel Lewis explains;
“There’s a lot of software in the market for hard drives and phones, but we received an increasing number of requests for factory investigations for example, there appeared to be a potential in this area of software development so we targeted this.”
Awen Collective aim to release a road map of tools which will help form part of their larger platform with the hope of creating a complete lifecycle of digital forensics and instant response. Daniel and the team aim to release this platform to the market in 2019. Daniel tells the ESTnet;
“Our pre-incident software will assist an organisation so they will know exactly what to do before and after an attack takes place. Our post-incident plan extracts data, analyses it and builds a report which can be forwarded to the police or military (if it’s a state based attack).”
Since May, Awen Collective began the development of their first product which will be released November of this year, ‘Profile by Awen Collective’. A software that checks compliance against the NIS Directive, which is an EU directive regarding our critical infrastructures in Europe. ‘Profile’ checks the policies that utility companies should have in place for managing the risk of cyber-attacks.
Awen Collective have showcased their incredible work at three major exhibitions including, Digital Festival (Cardiff), InfoSec (London) and Automatica (Munich). Their exploits have also established a relationship with a major defence company which has resulted in an additional three month project looking at instant response plans with supporting software.
When discussing Awen Collective’s future plans and Daniel’s perception on the technology industry within Wales; Daniel replied;
‘’We’re developing everything with internationalisation from the start, so we know one day we will be selling overseas’’
‘The Cyber Security ecosystem is very strong in Wales, and it will only improve. With the increase in robotics systems, AI and Automation systems, there will not only be a need to create but also maintain and secure these systems, in a sustainable way. In education, we need to give a special focus on STEM subjects, and how they holistically work in the real world, which of course feed into advanced engineering training & careers to ensure we have the workforce to match our technological advances.’’
Having expanded their team, Awen Collective continue their drive to support organisations in Wales, the UK and soon to be globally. We look forward to following the work of Awen Collective, Daniel and his team in the near future.