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Getting serious about cyber security

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Matt Hancock

Minister of State for Digital and Culture

This week some of the UK’s leading minds in cyber security are coming together to discuss one of the greatest threats faced by UK businesses and innovative ways to fight it.


The inaugural Security Serious Conference will see experts outline why UK companies need to think like hackers in order to beat them, and how companies can cope with the ever-changing legal landscape around cyber.

The conference will also launch the second annual Security Serious Week, which runs from the 3rd to the 7th of October, and will feature a series of free webinars hosted by cyber security experts to help others become more security savvy. These webinars are open to everyone, and last year around 2,500 people took part.

I’ve been involved in cyber security for some time – both in my previous role as Paymaster General, with responsibility for tech inside Government, and now in my role as Minister for Digital and Culture, responsible for tech and digital across the wider economy.

Matt Hancock

I’ve seen first hand that while the Internet is helping to drive the UK economy by making it easier to start a business and nurturing creativity and innovation, the success of our digital economy also makes us a target. The sheer amount of money and data moving over the web means our future security and prosperity depend on our ability to secure our digital networks.

That’s why we’re supporting Security Serious Week and encouraging UK businesses to take part in tackling this growing threat to their firms.

Government investment

Protecting our country from cyber threats is a top priority for this Government. Our latest research shows one in four businesses experienced a cyber attack in the past year – and of those a quarter of large firms are hit at least once every month. These attacks cost thousands each time, with some costs running into millions.

But rest assured, much is being done to keep you and your businesses safe with Government investing £1.9 billion in the protection of UK cyber space, and setting up for the first time a single agency responsible across Government for cyber security: the National Cyber Security Centre.


Our 10 Steps to Cyber Security guidance is now used by around two thirds of the FTSE350 and you can find out more about our cyber security guidance for business which helps organisations of any size take the necessary protective measures.

We also have the Cyber Essentials scheme to protect against common cyber attacks. It is now mandatory for all central government contracts handling sensitive data, and every organisation which relies on the Internet for business should have Cyber Essentials as minimum protection. With Government working to tackle cyber threats, we expect businesses to take the threat seriously and act to protect themselves and their customers. It is the equivalent to putting your takings in the safe and locking the door to the office and can be an important selling point for businesses.

Then there is the Cyber Growth Partnership, a joint initiative between industry and Government to promote the UK cyber security industry.

More recently we are building stronger partnerships between Government, business and academia. Our new Cyber Innovation Centres will help UK start-ups grow and, through access to GCHQ’s world-class expertise, take the lead in producing the next generation of cyber security systems.

We are contributing £50 million over the next five years to deliver the two centres and the first is on track to open in Cheltenham later this year, with the second opening in London in 2017. They will bring together business, government and academics to help grow our already thriving cyber security sector.

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