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Collaboration key to success of UK’s Cyber Security Council

The founders of the UK’s Cyber Security Council have been setting out their plans to professionalise the cyber sector at the NCSC’s CyberUK 2021 event

Collaboration in the cyber security sector will be critical in meeting the goals of the UK’s new Cyber Security Council, according to its founders, who formally launched the initiative – designed to professionalise the security trade and drive new talent towards the sector – at the end of March 2021, despite some well-publicised hiccups along the way.

Speaking during a panel session at the virtual CyberUK 2021 event, Claudia Natanson, the inaugural chair of the council’s board of trustees and herself a long-time cyber expert, said the formation of the council was a “truly historic” moment.

“It’s a great thing for the profession, and timely,” said Natanson. “As a council we are honoured and humbled to be the voice … that the government will look to for advice and standards of excellence.

“It’s a great task for us and we are humbled to be a part of delivering that, and part of the vision for the country to be one of the safest places to do business and work online.”

Natanson said that collaboration was foundational for success because of the amount of moving parts that will need to come together over the next few years to establish the cyber security profession in the UK at the same level as other tightly regulated, professionalised sectors, such as accounting, engineering and law.

She said the council hoped to engage with other professional bodies as it conducts its work.

“These are important components. There are so many things happening to bring together to make a profession, and for us, I think, collaboration is going to be very key in making sure that we are relevant and we are underpinned in terms of what we do,” she said.

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Digital minister Matt Warman, who introduced the panel discussion, said that the need for an increasing number of skilled cyber professionals from across the UK, and all walks of life, coupled with the fact that half of UK businesses lack the confidence to implement effective, basic cyber security policies, demonstrated the need for the council’s work.

“The council has been built through extensive consultation with practitioners and organisations across the cyber security landscape,” said Warman. “We know that the profession is complex and difficult to navigate for individuals and employers alike.

“There’s a huge range of degrees, apprenticeships, standards, certifications and qualifications that exist and have been regularly developed. Now this all needs to be brought together – the knowledge, skills and experience required across the workforce needs to be clearly defined and articulated to support employers, develop and retain the right talent, to ensure their organisation’s resilience. The council is essential to this,” he said.

“I’m keen that DCMS, the NCSC and wider government work with the council to build on the success of the National Cyber Security Strategy, which has seen £1.9bn invested in new capabilities and programmes, many of which inspired, trained and supported individuals into a cyber security career,” added the minister.

“So we will look to the council to develop the professional infrastructure of standards and pathways to help inspire interested young people, and our current workforce, to enter and develop in cyber roles, providing more confidence for UK organisations to understand their needs and recruit accordingly.”

Warman said the council’s work could be transformative, and encouraged the cyber sector to work with and support it as it grows and develops.

The full panel discussion, along with other sessions at CyberUK 2021, is available to watch on YouTube.

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