Words by Harry F
Posted 1 year ago

In the last month, I feel as though I have learnt more about the tech field and developed myself through these exhibitions and projects that Ada has provided us with - which, in the last 12 years of education, I have never experienced before.

Another week, another opportunity to develop ourselves as digital pioneers at Ada. The theme of this week? Cyber security - an issue faced ever so often amongst nearly all organisations in modern society - with the main threat faced being breaches of data.

To introduce and prepare us for the project, Ada invited a variety of speakers from Universities talking of encryption to Industry experts talking of the use of biometrics, to discuss how Cyber Security is tackled and what may need to change in the coming years to secure ourselves from these threats. By this, it opened our minds to probable solutions to the risks faced on an international scale.

As a new educational institute, Ada is one of the main targets, as with any other organisation, of this issue of data breaches, thus, with this newly gained knowledge, we were challenged: find a way to make ada secure from this threat and create a pitch to present our solutions.

From here, we were assigned into groups; each diverse with its own variety of skills and personalities that allowed us to be assigned roles that we can fulfill effectively; each group having a Project Manager (Mourad L), Graphics Lead (Hazel A), Business Lead, Pitch Lead (Catalin S) and Technical Lead (William G)

Based upon my experiences and knowledge of business, I took the role of Business lead within my group- which entitled me to think of how our PR Campaign would emphasise the importance of the issue and our solution's intended effect on making the college safer.

So our challenge had begun. 2 days of finding, developing and presenting our ideas in preparation for our exhibition; having to work as a team to produce a successful pitch in the short space of time provided - requiring us to embody the core Ada Values (Primarily resilience and rigour) to overcome the issues we faced along the way, such as finding unique ideas or finding ways to express our ideas into comprehensive and concise forms of communication.
After analysing the current cyber security state of Ada, and using this given knowledge from experts, we found that our main point of securing Ada was the verification of people coming in and out of the campus; how it is possible for unauthorised persons gaining access to the college's resources and servers by misplaced or stolen passes. Our solution? After taking account the information we gained, we found that biometrics could be the solution; fingerprints, particularly, due to them being entirely specific to each individual. This means that we can have greater control and awareness of who is entering the college, for we identified the difficulty of replicating a fingerprint accurately.

Once we found our main point, we continued to develop from there - and the day comes. At the first part of the day, we eagerly finalise our presentations and set up our stands, ready for presentation. In the second part of the day, fellow students from years above and industry partners flock into the hall - curious to hear of our solutions and how Ada can be protected from these threats.

Interest lingered amongst arrivals to the stand and, even in times of difficulty, our team came together as one to support each other to answer to their questions of curiosity.  Based upon our presentation, visitors received a score sheet and scored us to decide the top 3 teams to go and pitch in front of all of the attendees.

Our passion for this matter pulled through, and we were successful in ranking in those to pitch to all of the attendees. A feeling of tension came over us, seeing fellow students demonstrating detailed diagrams and detailed and astounding ideas we did not think of. But we knew that if we went up there with the same optimism that we have held over the duration of the challenge, the judges would see this passion and interest for this issue - in the end, this became evident and we came out as victorious amongst all of the groups.

Winning was a highlight of the challenge, but I feel as though I, and many of the other students that took part, earned far more than pride.

Throughout the duration of this project, I came to realise the exact uniqueness of Ada as a college on a whole. With this hands-on experience in choosing our own ideas, we not only broadened our skillset during the project, we furthermore broadened our knowledge on cyber security with support from industry professionals, and promoted to do independent study to fulfill our curiosity.