Move security from IT up to boardroom, says Francis Maude

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maud has urged businesses to make IT security a boardroom issue

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has urged businesses to make IT security a boardroom issue.

The minister warned that security was no longer just an issue for IT departments alone.

Speaking at the launch of GCHQ’s Cryptoy cryptographic educational app last week, Maude said: "It is an issue for the boardroom. If you sit on the board and you don't have your chief information security officer's number on your phone, now is the time to add it."

The app, which is available as a free download on Google Play, showcases famous codes from history, and is designed as a teaching aid for pupils aged 14 plus to develop interest in code making and code breaking.

Maude urged organisations to put security high up on the boardroom agenda.

He highlighted the CEO of Target Group in the US, who resigned in May following the loss of the personal data of millions of shoppers.

Maude said: "No government can hope to have all the answers. Cooperation in crucial for our success. Three years on and the threat is as serious as ever. All companies, large or small, face threats from vulnerabilities on a daily basis. The attack on Sony Pictures - a global entertainment giant with turnover in the billions - left it with no option but to send staff home."

Following the opening for Cert UK earlier this year, the cyber security information sharing partnership (Cisp) now enables 750 organisations to date to exchange information on threats and vulnerabilities in real time.

The first regional Cisp node in the Midlands will be joined by a second node in the South East in 2015.

The minister pointed to GCHQ data, showing that 80% of attacks could be prevented by following best practice.

Building skills in cybersecurity

There are now six certified GCHQ masters degree programs, together with two centres for doctoral training and three research institutes and 11 academic centres. In addition, Maude said 25,000 people have enrolled on the free online Open University introductory course on cyber security since October. 

"We are also announcing new grant finding for colleges and universities in Newcastle, Birmingham, London and Liverpool to develop and demonstrate new resources to improve cyber security education," he said.

To help Computer Science graduates gain practical experience, the minister also unveiled a cyber mentoring scheme where people in the cyber security industry will act as mentors to student interested in a cyber security career. The Cyber Security Challenge will also run cyber security camps to recent graduates.

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