New UK Government funding will help smaller businesses in the UK cyber sector to grow, collaborate and develop innovative solutions aimed at tackling today’s cyber threats.
Speaking at the first ever UK-US Global Cyber Security Innovation Summit in London, business secretary Vince Cable has unveiled details behind a £4 million competition for UK cyber businesses designed to help them develop ideas for tackling myriad cyber security threats.
The minister also announced the appointment of a cyber security ‘small business champion’ in addition to funding for specialist projects that will help drive growth and innovation in the sector. The competition will be run by the Technology Strategy Board (the Government’s innovation agency) in 2015 and subsequently award funding to those firms delivering the best ideas.
The Technology Strategy Board’s goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help construct the future economy.
Vince Cable: Secretary of State for Business
“The growth of the cyber security sector in the UK is a great success story,” urged Cable. “Indeed, that sector is now worth over £6 billion and employs around 40,000 people. Building a strong and resilient cyber space for the UK is central to ensuring that our companies can make the most of online business opportunities while also avoiding potentially costly threats to the information they hold and the services they provide.”
Cable added: “Maintaining innovation and growth requires continued investment. Committing a further £4 million will help businesses of all sizes turn their ideas for countering cyber threats into reality. Partnering with industry experts will also increase the opportunities for the UK’s smaller cyber companies such that they might work together and grow their businesses.”
Mapping cyber security businesses
Andy Williams (an industry expert from techUK, the UK’s largest technology Trade Association) has been appointed cyber security small business champion. In this role, Williams will be responsible for mapping cyber security small businesses and establishing a UK-wide growth project designed to encourage them to work closer together.
Williams’ role will also involve working to showcase the capability of small and medium-sized cyber businesses at UK and international events, delivering business advice and establishing an online portal for sharing information about national initiatives with the cyber business community.
“Given the rapidly evolving global cyber threat landscape, the emergence of highly innovative and agile new companies with specialist cyber capabilities will be vital to ensuring the future safety and prosperity of the UK,” explained Williams. “The extra funding that BIS is providing to support cyber start-ups and small businesses will be absolutely key to ensuring the UK’s position as a global leader in cyber security.”
In parallel, Dr Emma Philpott (managing director of cyber and technology catalyst Key IQ) will lead a project to actively work with local volunteers on establishing regional clusters of small companies operational in the cyber security space. This network of clusters will link the small and medium-sized businesses to national opportunities and events while also affording them a collective voice.
Philpott brings considerable expertise to this role as the founder and manager of both the Malvern cyber security cluster and the UK Cyber Security Forum. The latter links cyber security-focused small and medium-sized enterprises across the UK.
“Smaller companies working in cyber security are active right across the UK,” stated Philpott. “The clusters we’re helping to establish will meet on a monthly basis, be free to join and afford their members an opportunity to network and partner with each other. There’s enormous enthusiasm for this move. Groups are already planned for five new regions.”
Both projects will be delivered through the Cyber Growth Partnership which is a forum of Government representatives, academia, cyber security companies and trade bodies working to boost the UK’s global market position in terms of cyber security products and services. techUK co-ordinates business and academic involvement in the Partnership while the high-level Board is co-chaired by Ed Vaizey (Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy) and Gavin Patterson, CEO of the BT Group.
New UK Government funding will help small businesses in the UK cyber sector to grow, collaborate and develop new solutions to tackle cyber threats
The Cyber Growth Partnership’s excellent work has realised the development of a Cyber Security Suppliers’ Scheme. Businesses in the scheme can show that they supply cyber security products and services to the UK Government and use the Government logo in their marketing material.
The Security Information Network (SINET) Global Cyber Security Innovation Summit
The business secretary made these announcements in front of 250 senior members of Government and industry who attended the two-day Global Cyber Security Innovation Summit at the British Museum. The Summit was supported by the UK and US Governments and brought together representatives of both the British and American Governments as well as business leaders to encourage the creation of new partnerships and projects centred on tackling threats in cyber space.
In essence, the Security Information Network (SINET) Global Cyber Security Innovation Summit focuses on building international public-private partnerships that will improve the protection of the UK and America’s critical infrastructures, national security and economic interests.
The key objective is to orchestrate and maintain international communities of interest and trust that foster vital information sharing, broad awareness and application of the most innovative technologies of both nations to enable a safer and more secure homeland for the United States, the United Kingdom and their trusted allies.
The US Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate supports this event along with Her Majesty’s Government as the UK representative.
Representatives attending the 2014 Summit included Sir Iain Lobban (director of GCHQ), Douglas Maughan (Cyber Security Division director at the US Department of Homeland Security) and senior members of leading cyber companies from both the UK and the US.
Cyber security: key facts and figures for the UK
*One in six businesses are not confident they’ll have sufficient security skills to manage their risks in the next year
*81% of large organisations have suffered from an information security breach in the past year
*60% of small businesses experienced an information security breach in the last 12 months
*Anywhere from £600,000 to £1.15 million is the average cost to a large organisation of its worst security breach of the year (up from £450,000 to £850,000 a year ago)
*£65,000 to £115,000 is the average cost to a small business of its worst security breach of the year (up from £35,000 to £65,000 a year ago)
BBC News: Business secretary Vince Cable warns of cyber vulnerabilities for Britain’s essential services