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UK cyber skills in demand, says Dorset firm C3IA Solutions

UK cyber security skills are in demand and there is a bright future in exporting them, according to Dorset-based firm C3IA Solutions

One of the first UK firms to be certified by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has returned from the Gulf after completing a major project, and expects to see future opportunities in the overseas market. 

C3IA Solutions, based in Poole, is an NCSC-certified cyber security consultancy service, and the company leadership believes there is a big future in exporting the UK’s cyber skills worldwide.

A team from the company spent two weeks inspecting a newly created major fibre optic system for a government in the Middle East.

“The UK is one of the leading nations in cyber security,” said Matt Horan, security director and cofounder of C3IA Solutions.

“We have some of the best people, and it is no surprise that they are in demand around the world,” he said.

C3IA Solutions has 84 personnel on contract, of which 33 are employees and 51 are associates, working in the defence and security sectors, for government departments and within industry, serving both small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and multinational firms.

According to Horan, the company is sending its experts in a number of cyber security fields to an increasing number of countries in the face of a worldwide skills shortage.

Demand is also being driven by the fact that a growing number of governments and businesses are accepting the need for cyber security and are understanding its growing importance.

“This latest project was about analysing a new network and ensuring it came up to a defined and recognised security standard – and where it didn’t, we provided advice and guidance on system and network improvements,” said Horan. “The team created a set of framework policies, processes and procedures and trained the personnel.”

Cyber is a growth sector for the UK, said Horan, adding: “Being at the forefront of it, we are excited about the future from a business point of view.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a nation state or a small business, leaving yourself open to cyber attack can have devastating results. If every individual, business and government addresses their cyber security, then everyone is safer,” he said.

NCSC focuses on security innovation

According to the NCSC, its certification scheme is aimed at giving organisations confidence in suppliers of cyber security expertise, products and services.

The certification scheme is part of the NCSC’s efforts to work with UK industry to build a national cyber security community and capability.

Getting cyber security innovation to market is also an important area of focus for the NCSC, which runs a cyber accelerator programme.

Getting innovative cyber security ideas to market in a “sensible way” is important, but challenging, in a crowded market crammed with buzzwords that make it difficult for organisations to make informed purchasing decisions, NCSC technical director Ian Levy told Computer Weekly at the CyberUK 2018 conference in Manchester.

There is a lot of cyber security innovation around because the UK is particularly good at it, but Levy said the nation is “missing a trick” in helping people to get into the market and in helping the market identify good solutions to real problems.

This is one of the key aims of the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator programme, but he said this operation is relatively small. “We need to find a way to scale this so that it is self-supporting and does not always require government intervention,” he said.

In April 2018, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced it is to set up a £13.5m cyber security innovation centre in East London, bringing together industry, researchers and investors to identify new security challenges and develop innovative startups to help address them.

Read more about security startups

  • Cloud security startups are popular acquisition targets, as cloud providers and third parties seek to address corporate IT concerns across multiple platforms.
  • Container security concerns are the latest frontier in enterprise container management, and early settlers, such as NeuVector, have turned heads.
  • Insurance startups that use the latest IT are gaining customers but still face challenges around trust, security and consumer awareness.

Read more on Hackers and cybercrime prevention

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