The U.K. government has published its new National Cyber Strategy which is the first major milestone following the publication of the government’s Integrated Review earlier this year.
The strategy builds on the significant progress made on cyber over the last five years which has seen the U.K. cybersecurity sector grow rapidly, with over 1,400 businesses generating revenues of £8.9 billion last year, supporting 46,700 skilled jobs, and attracting significant overseas investment.
Through the strategy, the government is calling on all parts of society to play their part in reinforcing the U.K.’s economic and strategic strengths in cyberspace – this means more diversity in the workforce, leveling up the cyber sector across all U.K. regions, expanding offensive and defensive cyber capabilities and prioritizing cybersecurity in the workplace, boardrooms and digital supply chains.
The Government is announcing a new “Cyber Explorers” online training platform which will teach young people cyber skills in classrooms, and is taking steps to improve diversity in the cyber workforce through a new adult scheme which will ensure that people from all backgrounds have access to these high skill, high priority jobs. In addition, a new “Royal Charter” for the U.K. Cyber Security Council has been approved by the Queen, which will help improve cyber careers and bring the cyber workforce into line with other professional occupations like engineering.
To promote growth and innovation in the U.K. cyber industry the government is investing in the Cyber Runway scheme which is helping 107 innovators grow and develop their businesses, with the majority of member companies outside of London and the South East, 45% led by women and 52% run by founders from black and minority ethnic groups.
Funding for these growth and skills programs will be reoriented away from large, often London-based initiatives to a regionally delivered model which will mean more jobs and better opportunities for people across the U.K.
The strategy also sets out the government’s plan to keep citizens safe in cyberspace and stamp out cyber crime by:
- Bolstering law enforcement with significant funding so that they can ramp up their targeting of criminals;
- Increasing investment in the National Cyber Force which represents the U.K.’s offensive capability to counter, disrupt, degrade and contest those who would do harm to the U.K. and its allies;
- Expanding GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre’s research capabilities, including the new applied research hub in Manchester;
- Implementing the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill to enforce minimum security standards in all new consumer smart products; and
- Investing in public sector cybersecurity to ensure that key public services remain resilient to evolving threats and can continue to deliver for citizens who need them.
The strategy recognises the vital role of the private sector in ensuring the U.K.’s cyber future through the establishment of the new National Cyber Advisory Board (NCAB) which will bring together senior leaders from the private and third sectors to challenge, support and inform the government’s approach to cyber.
This new body comes alongside the creation of a National Laboratory for Operational Technology Security which will bring government, industry and academia together to make sure that the U.K. economy is built on the highest level of cyber resilience.
Further support will also be made available to help regional firms to become world class exporters including through a new online “Export Faculty” Hub for SMEs in the defense and security sector.
All of these plans are supported by the £2.6 billion investment in cyber announced in this year’s Spending Review.