Freedom to Learn at Vertical Structure

Written by: Gillian Colan-O'Leary on Sep 30, 2021

At Vertical Structure we are passionate about freedom to learn. We’ve introduced “Research Time” for our cyber security consultants. One day each month they are free to shake off the yoke of work to investigate and learn new things while taking part in "bug bounties" or other useful ways of improving their skills.

Using platforms such as HackerOne, they can help find defects that may be missed by conventional security tools and teams, in applications and platforms we all use, across industries such as health, finance and retail.

It gives our team the opportunity to make the internet safer, by approaching a target from the same perspective as a potential attacker and also a chance for them to work on things outside of our usual scope of work.

This research time is in addition to the extensive training and certification that we encourage our people to undertake, the more experienced they are, the better for everyone.

Why we're doing this:

  • Practical learning – seeing how things work outside of our usual sphere of influence
  • Practising skills - learning new ones
  • Fun – finding a bug is thrilling!
  • Compensation and recognition – the individuals receive Bug Bounties, kudos and/or swag for discovering, resolving and reporting security exploits and vulnerabilities (bugs). We will also recognise their achievements internally.

We’ve taken our time, and sought extensive legal advice from the brilliant Anna Cartwright at Turley Legal whilst getting Research Time set up. Ours, and our team members’, reputations, livelihoods and freedoms could be jeopardised.

This is, in part, because the UK’s cybercrime laws are an outdated collection of pieces of legislation, some 30 years old and pretty much all have failed to keep up with technological advances.

This hopelessly outdated and legally ambiguous regime creates barriers for the UK’s cyber security industry. We are a proud part of the CyberUp, a campaign calling for reform of the UK’s cybercrime laws.

By preventing cyber security professionals from carrying out threat intelligence research against cyber criminals and geo-political threat actors without fear of prosecution, the system leaves the UK’s critical national infrastructure at increased risk.

The government must seize the opportunity to reform the outdated Computer Misuse Act 1990, develop 21st century laws to allow the industry to flourish, and make the country and its citizens safer and more secure.

Cyber Up

We're delighted to be in a position to support our team in their continued education and growth whilst also helping them play a part in making our online world safer for all.

Simon Whittaker - CEO, Vertical Structure

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