The British government is setting up a ‘National Cyber Security Centre’ (NCSC) to act as a one-stop-shop for businesses seeking advice and support when dealing with cyber security issues.
The centre will be managed by GCHQ, and was revealed today by the Minister for Cabinet Office Matt Hancock MP in a speech to a cyber security conference in London.
“This matters because we are one of the world’s leading digital nations,” he said. “Twelve and a half percent of our economy is now online. No other country does more e-commerce.”
And he pointed out that the government has begun uploading the state, using technology to build more responsive, user-centric public services.
“But to deliver on that promise we have to be able to defend our digital society from those who wish it and us harm,” he said. “A strong cyber defence requires three things.”
Firstly Hancock accepted that government and businesses have to work hand-in-hand to tackle cyber security. He pointed out that the vast majority of the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure is operated by the private sector.
And to this end, the NCSC will help the business community.
“We’ve created the UK’s first systematic National Cyber Security Programme, and we’re almost doubling the funding with £1.9 billion over the next five years,” he said. “We’re setting up a National Cyber Security Centre under GCHQ.”
“The centre will provide a single point of contact for businesses in need of advice and support,” said Hancock. “I want it to become a hub of world-class, user-friendly expertise: a global leader under the steady hand of Ciaran Martin, bridging the gap between the worlds of government and industry.”
He also said that the government has now published the centre’s prospectus, setting out how it’ll work ahead of its full launch later this year.
The government wants to hear the thoughts from the business community about it thinks and how it can help their business.
“I strongly recommend that you feed back to us, so we can design the National Cyber Security Centre around your needs,” he said.
Hancock also talked about the need for relevant computer skills and pointed out that the government has implemented better ICT teaching in schools, and has opened new routes into cyber security, with schemes like the new Trailblazer apprenticeship.
It has also supported the new Extended Project Qualification, which the Cyber Security Challenge just created.
“This level 3 qualification, equivalent to an AS Level, teaches the basics of cyber security in three months, and can be studied in schools, colleges or through the Challenge itself,” he said.
Hancock said that the businesses community had to play its part here and offer improved training and sponsor apprenticeships for example.
Hancock also urged the creation of a cyber economy in the UK, with the country becoming a major cyber security player in the world.
“We’re already one of the top 5 exporters in the world, and the global market is growing by 20 percent a year,” said Hancock. “A strong cyber security industry means a safer Britain. So we’re funding test labs where cyber start-ups can refine their prototypes.”
This includes a cyber security fund to scale the established players, and a cyber security innovation centre in Cheltenham.
The government also apparently has a dedicated cyber specialist in Washington, who’s been supporting the UK’s engagement with cyber businesses in the US.
“Our goal is to create a commercial ecosystem where cutting-edge research is backed, start-ups get scaled, and British companies win business around the world,” he said.
Last month the Ministry of Defence (MoD) revealed plans to spend more than £40 million on a new Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) to defend the MoD’s network from attack.
The centre is expected to be based at the MoD’s Information Systems and Services (ISS) operation at its military base at Corsham in Wiltshire, which currently handles the military’s communications.
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