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Industry and government must unite to fend off cyber attacks

The conclusions of a discussion led by Equinix about cyber security are that government and industry can work more closely to protect users

The channel and vendors need to work more closely with the government to ensure that customers get the best protection they can from the ever growing number of cyber threats.

If there has been one constant this year it is the likelihood that firms of all sizes are the target for cyber attacks, which has been supported by the various high profile breaches that have grabbed the headlines.

In an attempt to get an insight into where things currently stand Equinix pulled together a panel of both industry and government experts to discuss the way cyber protection can be improved.

The debate took place against the backdrop of Equinix’s recently published Enterprise of the Future report, which included the revelation that 70% of UK IT decision makers still felt inadequately protected against the threat of cyber attacks.  

Russell Poole, UK managing director of Equinix, said that the burying heads in the sand was not an option and businesses needed to make it a top priority.

“I welcome the recent government cybersecurity initiatives and actions which are being taken to ensure that our industries and businesses are prepared for cyber-attacks. This lack of preparation is alarming and we recently found in our Enterprise of the Future report that only 29% of UK CIOs feel that they are adequately protected against security risks," he said.

The government has been vocal about its commitment to fending off cyber attacks and has been backing its efforts with sizeable sums of cash.

“Protecting the UK in cyber space is a top priority - that's why we're investing £1.9bn in cyber security initiatives including a new National Cyber Centre and an ambitious new skills programme. To make sure we have skilled people to address future cyber security challenges, we've provided £500,000 to universities across the UK to improve cyber security education and training," said Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and Digital Economy.

"Overall we want cyber security not to be seen as just an IT issue you leave to the IT department - it's got to be at the top of the agenda in the board room too. Government, business and academia all have a role to play to improve cyber security and we'll be setting out future plans in our National Cyber Security Strategy next year," he added.

The pressure to step up the defences is increasing as a result of the increasing number of devices that are connecting to the internet.

Julian David, CEO of teckuk, said that across the economy there was a drive for more digital transformation and it was growing strongly.

"Right now, the Internet economy is growing at pace. It is the third largest by size in the UK, just behind retail and property. With this growth come associated cyber security risks and challenges.  The protection of data, of both customers and consumers, requires real collaboration between industry and Government through initiatives such as the Cyber Growth Partnership," he said.

Poole also highlighted the expansion of the connected world as a major source of concern for those trying to reduce the risks of being hit by a cyber threat.

"The internet is inherently insecure and the attack surface is increasing, as more devices connect to the internet for hackers to attack," he said.

"We would ideally like to see a more joint approach from various governments to tackle this issue ensuring that jurisdictional compliance is not burdensome but provides adequate cover for this critical issue. We will do our part to help the UK government and business work together to keep IT infrastructures compliant, safe and under control," he added.

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