News: All-New National Cyber Security Centre Opens
The UK’s cyber defences are more vital than ever. As more and more of the population log on to access online services, it is critical that the UK is a safe place to live and do business online. As well as an online population, the UK is one of the most digitally dependent economies. The digital sector in the UK is estimated to be worth more than £118bn a year. So while an attack that prevents us all getting onto Facebook would be bad, a loss in confidence in the UK’s digital security could be economically disastrous.
On February 14th 2017, the Queen unveiled the new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which aims to tackle the mounting threat of cyber security. Britain’s national security is threatened by dozens of cyber attacks every month, with criminals attempting to steal government secrets. The NCSC acts as the nerve centre of data security for the UK, ensuring that cyber attacks are foiled at all levels of the country’s digital landscape.
Shortfall in cyber security professionals
The opening coincides with a survey suggesting that the UK is crying out for security specialists. The survey from ISC², an organisation for security professionals, found that 66% of British companies are “chronically” understaffed and do not have enough specialists to deal with the number of threats online. Analysis of IT job adverts by the Tech Partnership found an 18% annual increase in demand for cyber security specialists, with average salaries for permanent positions also rising to £57,000. In addition to traditional IT security skills, employers are also increasingly demanding knowledge of topics such as cyber crime and big data.
The NCSC is tackling this problem by engaging with organisations across industry, the public sector and the public to leverage home-grown talent. The NCSC hopes to open more doors to the industry and in particular, inspire women to join the fight against cyber crime. Across the world, only 10% of the IT industry is female.
Educating the next generation of security specialists
In January, the NCSC launched the CyberFirst Girls Competition as part of a program to spear-head the growth of the next generation of cyber security professionals.
The CyberFirst Girls Competition encourages teachers to train a group of girls to compete in a 2 stage series of challenges. The first is a set of online puzzles and online challenges covering various cyber security topics, while the second part is a live head-to-head investigation into suspicious cyber activity, then to present their findings and solve who’s behind the crime.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is providing £20m for lessons educating children in cyber security. 5,700 school children aged 14 and over will spend up to four hours a week learning cyber security over the next five years in a pilot scheme.
Taking cyber security seriously
Cyber security is an issue that we come across regularly with our clients and peers in the IT industry. In the UK, 60% of all SMEs are victims of a cyber attack every year. Yet despite this, more than a third consider themselves too small to be worth the attention of hackers. The steps being taken by the National Cyber Security Centre and the government are positive steps on the road to protecting British businesses. Acting as a hub of cyber security knowledge, the NCSC is committed to investing in people as much as protecting our digital lives online. A focus on education is paramount, as 95% of security breaches involve human error somewhere along the line. This can range from using the same password for everything, opening an infected email or simply forgetting to log off from a work station. Now that the next generation is getting education on cyber security, businesses need to invest time in internal cyber security training.
If you would like an initial conversation about threats to your business and how you can combat threats affordably, get in touch today.