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UK government’s new National Cyber Strategy focuses on workforce diversity, cyber offense

News Analysis
Dec 15, 20213 mins
Critical Infrastructure

The UK government’s new National Cyber Strategy outlines plans for protecting the UK from cyberthreats and solidifying its position as a global cyber power.

Team member extends all hands in for a huddle. [unity / teamwork / trust / diversity / inclusion]
Credit: Prostock Studio / Getty Images

The UK government has today released a new National Cyber Strategy which sets out how the UK will solidify its position as a global cyber power. The new strategy outlines plans for protecting UK interests from cyberthreats and is the first major milestone following the publication of the government’s integrated review earlier this year.

The government has committed to reinforcing the UK’s economic and strategic strengths in cyberspace, with particular focus on encouraging more workforce diversity and expanding offensive cyber capabilities. It also seeks to prioritize cybersecurity in the workplace, boardrooms, and digital supply chains along with levelling up the cyber sector across all UK regions. All plans put forward are supported by the £2.6 billion investment in cyber announced in this year’s Spending Review.

UK government prioritizes workforce diversity and cyber offense

Two key areas on which the new strategy is focused are improving diversity in the cyber workforce and strengthening the nation’s ability to counter cybercriminals. A new Cyber Explorers online training platform will teach young people cyber skills in classrooms and offer an adult scheme to ensure that people from all backgrounds have access to cyber-related jobs. Furthermore, a royal charter has been approved for the UK Cyber Security Council to help improve cyber careers and bring the cyber workforce in line with other professional occupations.

As for improving offensive capabilities, law enforcement will receive significant funding to ramp up their targeting of criminals with increasing investment also going to the National Cyber Force to disrupt, degrade, and contest those who would do harm to the UK and its allies.

Minister for media, data and digital infrastructure Julia Lopez, stated: “This ground-breaking strategy will help secure the UK’s position as a leading cyber power and ensure people right across the country have the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe online.”

Private sector’s role in protecting the UK’s cyber position

The strategy also recognizes the role the private sector plays in ensuring the UK’s cyber future with the establishment of the new National Cyber Advisory Board (NCAB). The NCAB will bring together senior leaders from the private and third sectors to challenge, support, and inform the government’s approach to cyber. This comes alongside the creation of a National Laboratory for Operational Technology Security which will unite government, industry, and academia to ensure the UK economy is built on the highest level of cyber resilience. Regional firms will also receive further support aimed at helping them become global exporters.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said, “Cybercrime ruins lives and facilitates further crimes such as fraud, stalking, and domestic abuse. Billions of pounds are lost each year to cybercriminals who steal or hold personal data to ransom and who disrupt key public services or vital sectors of the national economy. We all have a part to play in protecting ourselves from cybercrime. It is important that as a society, we take this threat seriously.”

Additional plans set out in the new strategy include:

  • Implementing the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill to enforce minimum security standards in all new consumer smart products
  • Expanding GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre’s research capabilities, including the new applied research hub in Manchester
  • Investing in public sector cybersecurity to ensure that key public services remain resilient to evolving threats
  • Promoting growth and innovation in the UK cyber industry with the Cyber Runway scheme, which is helping 107 innovators grow and develop their businesses
UK Editor

Michael Hill is the UK editor of CSO Online. He has spent the past five-plus years covering various aspects of the cybersecurity industry, with particular interest in the ever-evolving role of the human-related elements of information security. A keen storyteller with a passion for the publishing process, he enjoys working creatively to produce media that has the biggest possible impact on the audience.

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