Michelle Sherrard

Michelle Sherrard

Director, Consulting Services - Northern Ireland

We live in a highly computer literate world, yet the number of cyber-attacks, data breaches and internet scams we see on a daily basis suggests that more needs to be done to educate people to protect themselves in a digital environment, be that at work or at home.

Even with technological advancements, it is not enough to simply implement the latest technology to effectively protect from cyber-attacks. In the realm of cyber security, staying ahead of adversaries and allowing for human failings and vulnerabilities necessitates constant innovation and education.

As the cyber threat continues to evolve, the process of identifying these threats and taking appropriate steps to resolve and mitigate them is paramount and it should be everyone’s responsibility.

Cyber attacks that target individuals mainly consist of compromised emails and social media accounts, whereas organisations are seeing an increase in malware, ransomware and phishing attacks due to the wealth of personal and confidential information they store. All this information is extremely valuable to a cyber-criminal, but knowing how to prevent or foresee potential attacks is achievable by better understanding that IT security needs to be a regular consideration at work and at home.

As a global leader in IT and business consulting services, we understand that cyber security is a collective responsibility and education is the best approach to keep everyone safe and aware in a digital environment.

Introducing Cyber Escape 2.0

The Cyber Escape experience stands as an excellent example of CGI’s innovative approach to cyber security awareness, and demonstrates how immersive experiences can empower individuals and organisations to navigate the complexities of the digital landscape with confidence.

Developed in collaboration with cyber security experts, this 40ft long shipping container provides a fun and memorable way to learn the basics of cyber security and help control the risks associated with cyber.

Participants are tasked with solving a series of cybersecurity-related puzzles and challenges within a simulated environment, requiring them to apply their knowledge of cyber security concepts and techniques to progress and escape the clutches of the cyber-criminal within an allotted timeframe.

Through this engaging and educational experience, participants learn critical skills such as protecting data privacy, creating strong passwords, safely navigating social media and robust device and document handling. They obtain an understanding of cybersecurity risks, empowering them to practice safe cyber techniques at home and in the workplace.


Belfast Bound

Northern Ireland is an established global cyber security hub, with a cluster of international cyber security investors already involved in the marketplace. Firms in this region deliver solutions on national security, government, automative, legal, e-learning, online shopping and child safety. It is thereforeno surprise that Northern Ireland is renowned for having an abundance of talent within the cyber security sector and a key reason as to why firms, like CGI, have set-up their Centre of Excellence in Belfast.

However, having such a wealth of expertise on your doorstep doesn’t stop cyber-crime. Latest Action Fraud figures suggest that in the last 13 months there has been 5917 reported cases of cyber-crime in Northern Ireland resulting in a huge financial loss of £24m across individuals and organisations.

Records show that that the highest number of cases reported came from the 20-29 year old age group, however the highest average financial loss per report was from the 70-79 year old age group. This highlights the need for all ages to be educated further on the importance of cyber security and what to be aware of.

With this in mind, CGI is keen to play its part in raising cyber security awareness in Northern Ireland and empowering people to protect themselves online. Their award-winning Cyber Escape experience will be visiting Belfast for the first time from Monday 25 - Thursday 28 March 2024. The escape experience will be located in Custom House Square and is open by appointment only to various stakeholder groups. This visit demonstrates innovation and collaboration between diverse audience groups, including schools, higher education organisations, vulnerable groups, businesses and the wider community.

CGI aims to instil a sense of responsibility and vigilance when it comes to cyber security and the Cyber Escape experience presents a unique opportunity for individuals to hone their skills in a safe environment while learning more about protecting themselves online.

Individuals are their own first line of defence in keeping personal and private information safe from cyber-attacks. As attacks become more prevalent and sophisticated, there is an increasing need for people to be aware of what to look out for and what to do when faced with a potential attack.

While some people are more vulnerable and susceptible to cyber-attacks, the skills learned in the CGI Cyber Escape experience will hopefully help them to have an improved chance to escape the efforts of the cyber criminals.

Want to know more?  Contact me directly or visit our CGI Cyber Escape page.

This blog was originally written for techUK Nations and Regions Northern Ireland Impact Day, read it here.

About this author

Michelle Sherrard

Michelle Sherrard

Director, Consulting Services - Northern Ireland

Michelle joined CGI in February 2022, following a successful 25-year career as an IT Sales professional within the ICT industry. Michelle began her career as a Software Developer before moving into Sales and Account Management 20 years ago. ...