Securing Britain's networks—the government's plan

Future-proofing the UK's digital economy

August 29, 2019
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Nearly every day we see a new cyberattack or data breach reported in the news. The threat is on a global scale and shows no sign of abating. As our tech sector goes from strength to strength and our economy depends more and more on digital technology and connectivity, we are stepping up our approach to cybersecurity.

We are investing £1.9bn to help millions of people and organisations become more secure. Our National Cyber Security Strategy was published in 2016 and since then we have set up the world leading National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). This is the frontline of our defences and has dealt with more than 1,500 significant cyberattacks in the UK, while helping to take down 140,000 scam websites in the past year.

We continue to support industry in other ways. Our new Board Toolkit provides resources to help board members take responsibility for cybersecurity and manage the risk to their organisation. The NCSC recently launched a new free online training resource, for employees to learn the basics of how to protect themselves online in just 30 minutes.

But we know there’s still more to do, because our “Cyber Health Check” of leading firms shows progress has not been quick enough.
“The National Cyber Security Centre has dealt with more than 1,500 attacks”

We need to make sure our digital environment is more difficult to attack and good cybersecurity is being delivered by the market as a norm. We have launched a comprehensive review of the UK’s cybersecurity regulations. We want to understand the best way of encouraging organisations to improve their cybersecurity, whether this is a mixture of laws, rules or other incentives.

For example, we know the new GDPR and data protection rules brought in last year have had a positive impact, with around a third of organisations improving their cybersecurity as a result—but we need to go further than rules which just cover personal data.

Improving cybersecurity and securing our digital networks also relies on having a skilled and diverse workforce.

Just this week we announced a third round of the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund, which is increasing the number and diversity of people entering this field of work, and the Institute of Engineering and Technology has been announced as the lead for the new UK Cyber Security Council, which will help to make cybersecurity a well-structured and easy to navigate profession.

These measures will help to ensure we have skilled people from a range of backgrounds represented, increasing our resilience for the future.

Good cybersecurity is at the heart of the government’s digital strategy. It enables businesses to seize the opportunities of a connected world. We see future-proofing our digital economy as an absolute priority, to help us achieve our aim of making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

This piece features in Prospect’s new cyber resilience supplement