UK Cyber Security Strategy: the next big export

BiP DPRTE 2014The UK Government has set a national target of exporting £2 billion of cyber security goods and services annually by 2016. This goal was established following publication of the UK Cyber Security Strategy in 2011, which detailed a plan to capitalise on the country’s burgeoning cyber sector. Here, MOD DCB features writer Julie Shennan takes a closer look at cyber security exports.

In March 2011 the UK Government published its Plan for Growth, stressing the urgent need to secure long-term sustainable economic growth through a renewed focus on exports. The Plan for Growth was followed in November 2011 by the UK Cyber Security Strategy.

The UK Cyber Security Strategy aims to tackle cyber crime and make the UK one of the safest places in the world to do business online; this includes developing a strategy to promote the capabilities of the UK cyber security industry to international markets.

This promotion has involved exploiting the domestic sector’s strengths, including its support of technical innovation, skilled workforce, sound legal and regulatory environment, and incorporation of ‘the internet of things’ in the economy.

All of these strengths were recognised by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which ranked the UK number one in its Cyber Power Index.

Capitalising on this ranking, the UK Government has continued work on its £650 million National Security Strategy, launched in 2010, by making its Cyber Essentials accreditation mandatory for certain government contracts and establishing an Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance. This office works to co-ordinate security measures between different government departments, as well as public and private sector bodies.

To further co-ordinate engagement between government and the supply base, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) formed the Cyber Growth Partnership, composed of representatives from academia, government and industry. The Partnership works on behalf of the wider sector to increase access to the export market, develop the UK cyber presence abroad and undertake a market analysis campaign.

The market analysis campaign is currently gathering feedback from UK Government posts overseas – particularly those in Brazil, India, the Gulf States and South East Asia – to give an overview of their local and regional drivers in cyber security, high-value projects and export risks.

Meanwhile, UKTI is also working with government stakeholders to develop bilateral relationships and pursue cyber export opportunities. This work will take the form of trade trips, exhibitions and seminars both in the UK and abroad.

UKTI events will showcase UK cyber security solutions, such as network surveillance, advisory services (including cyber security accreditation schemes), endpoint technologies (such as firewalls), social media analytics, mobile device security, encryption technologies, and cyber security education.

These services have potential applications in both defence and civil technologies, such as intelligence gathering systems, communications infrastructure, transport infrastructure, energy smart metering, large ICT systems, financial services systems and research capabilities.

Explaining these opportunities, UKTI Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) Army Adviser for Cyber & Communications, Lt Col Tim Cooper, addressed the recent Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) 2014 conference.

Lt Col Cooper said: “The UK is good at cyber security; as a nation we have been doing it for around 70 years – GCHQ and CESG have a long history of its innovation. The Government has structures in place that have matured over time to support cyber security.

“We have some of the best universities in the world – 11 of which are recognised as Cyber Centres of Excellence – and they take this academic thinking and transform it into innovative products, which they develop quickly.

“We also have strong political leadership and a legal framework that supports cyber security.”

Lt Col Cooper continued: “The UK offer is about advice, access and assurance; providing a triple A rating of cyber security. We will provide advice to people, helping them recognise threats in the cyber world; provide access to HMG representatives and UK companies to combat these threats; and provide assurance schemes to reduce future risks.”

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