Britain to boost cybersecurity with £1.9 billion investment

Spending over the next five years set to double
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Finance minster Phillip Hammond is expected to announce details of the UK’s new £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy. The investment will bolster the UK’s technology workforce while ensuring businesses and the rest of the population are protected from online attacks. Some funding will also be reserved for the development of national online security. 

It is also expected that Hammond will also outline details of the government’s new Cyber Security Research Institute that will work in conjunction with Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre. The centre opened back in October of this year as part of the security agency GCHQ.

The institute will combine Cheltenham’s Innovation Centre and academics from leading universities who will support cyber startup businesses. The growing threats on connected devices or smart devices linked to the Internet of Things (IoT) are most likely to be the main driving force behind the government’s decision to move forward with its efforts to address online security. Hammond issued a statement saying: “We must now keep up with the scale and pace of the threats we face. Our new strategy will allow us to take even greater steps to defend ourselves in cyberspace, and to strike back when we are attacked."

There have recently been calls for more companies to play a pivotal role in cyber defences, as Christine Andrews, managing director of data governance, risk and compliance consultancy DQM GRC, said: “Whilst we welcome any boost in spending by the UK government to improve cyber security, unfortunately real progress will only occur when the organisations themselves start taking data governance seriously, and consider cyber security as a boardroom issue – not a problem that can be resolved in a backroom department.”

Despite her criticisms of businesses for failing to address the threat of cyber crime, she has welcomed the government’s plans to make online security a priority: “Assistance from the government is a supportive step in the right direction, but it is vital that the organisations themselves implement an engaging staff training programme to ensure all employees are aware of the need to manage data securely. The most common and destructive mistakes are often due to human error – not state-sponsored, powerful cyberattacks.” 

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