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Cyber Action Plan for Wales launched

The devolved Welsh government has set out four priorities in an action plan designed to foster cyber resilience, talent and innovation across the country

The Welsh government has today launched a Cyber Action Plan for Wales, outlining four priorities to bolster the country’s cyber security resilience and industry, and bringing together government, industry, academia and law enforcement.

Part of the Digital Strategy for Wales, which set out to create more user-friendly services and a stronger digital economy, the plan – set out by economy minister Vaughan Gething – sets out how the Welsh security community can support the wider economy and help Wales prosper through “cyber resilience, talent and innovation”.

The Welsh government said the Covid-19 pandemic had accelerated the prominence and importance of digital across Wales, bringing with it a rise in cyber attacks of all stripes.

“Cyber is already a great strength for Wales, and we boast one of the strongest cyber ecosystems in the UK. We are excited about cyber’s potential to offer careers for young people from all backgrounds, who can plan their future in Wales with real ambition,” said Gething, who today visited Cardiff-based secure comms specialist Itsus Consulting to launch the plan.

“The Cyber Action Plan I am launching today builds on the success we’ve seen already and sets out how we will work with our partners to grow the sector even further. We are committed to shaping a more diverse sector that is driven by talent and not held back by glass ceilings, and Wales already sets a strong example with one of the most active ‘Women in Cyber clusters’ in the UK.

“The innovation across our sector makes Wales an attractive offer for those working in cyber and a great place to build businesses in the industry. As well as creating opportunities and jobs, it stimulates the development of cyber skills, which in turn makes our businesses and public services more resilient to cyber threats,” added the minister.

“By uniting around the priority areas of the Cyber Action Plan, we can win a more prosperous future for Wales through resilience, talent and innovation,” he said.

The four pillars of the strategy Gething outlined today are as follows:

  1. Security and Resilience – to ensure public and private sectors alike take steps to reduce the risks they face, and better prepare to face, deal with and recover from incidents.
  2. Economy – to create high-quality jobs within the Welsh cyber sector that support the growth of the economy and encourage young people to plan their futures in Wales.
  3. Skills – to ensure Wales has the talent needed to support organisations with needed cyber skills.
  4. Cyber Ecosystem – to develop and promote Wales as a cyber innovation hub and attract inward investment.

At the same time, a Cyber Innovation Hub is opening in Cardiff, bringing together a group of partners from the security and defence industries, academia and government to grow the Welsh cyber sector.

First announced in May 2022 at the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC’s) annual CyberUK event in nearby Newport, the hub has received funding of £9.5m – £3m from the Welsh government, £3m from the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) investment body, and £3.5m of in-kind match funding from partners – and is supported by, among others, Cardiff University, Airbus, Alacrity Cyber, Thales NDEC, Tramshed Tech and the University of South Wales.

The hub’s backers hope it will train more than 1,000 new cyber security professionals in the coming years, and are targeting a 50% expansion of the country’s security sector, attracting investment of £20m.

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