DCMS blog

Cyber Security Month

Margot James

by

Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries

October is Cyber Security Month – but what is cyber security and why is DCMS involved?

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is leading the Government’s digital agenda. Over half of our policy and delivery work now covers the digital sectors, including telecommunications, emerging technologies, data protection, internet safety and, of course, cyber security, which plays a vital role in those other areas.

Cyber security is the cornerstone of the UK’s digital economy, providing the trust and resilience required to enable online businesses across all sectors to start-up, grow and prosper in the UK. As our partners in the US and across Europe have celebrated Cyber Security Month, I wanted to set out how DCMS is helping the UK become the safest place to live and do business online.

Working alongside partners

DCMS is working with our partners across Government to ensure all UK organisations are secure online and resilient to the ever-increasing, and evolving cyber threat. This ranges from providing guidance and advice, to implementing key regulatory measures such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Network and Information Systems Directive (NIS), which helps to protect our essential services.

We are working alongside the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to promote their Small Business Guide which sets out the simple, low-cost actions small businesses can take to protect themselves online. We are also collaborating with the tech industry and academics to make sure the rapidly growing market of internet-connected home devices, such as ‘smart’ TVs and personal assistants, are “secure by design”, with security built-in from the start. We have recently published a new Code of Practice to advise industry, and have developed some guidance to help consumers secure their products.

Vital to this work is the UK’s booming cyber security industry. Hundreds of firms across the country are developing innovative products and services to help protect our data and ensure our essential services are kept safe from cyber attacks.

Delivering programmes

My Department is boosting growth in the sector by delivering programmes to help people start and grow cyber security businesses which address real-world problems. Our newly opened London Cyber Innovation Centre, “LORCA”, is a dedicated space for cyber security innovation, helping to create a new hub of cyber security businesses in the heart of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Our academic start-up programme is enabling experts to commercialise their cutting-edge research and maintain the UK’s position as a world-leader in cyber security innovation. One of the firms graduating from the programme, GraphicsFUZZ, was recently acquired by Google to help improve their graphics technology.

Our work is helping to drive growth in the cyber security sector which, in turn, provides crucial support to growth right across our digital economy; a cyber secure digital economy enables innovators to take greater risks and develop products and services faster.

Skilled people

However, none of this can be done without skilled people. We need more people coming into the industry. More young people, more women, more people with diverse backgrounds. I have made it one of my priorities to close the cyber skills gap. Earlier in the month we opened bidding for our expanded Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund which will help identify, train, and quickly place untapped talent from a range of backgrounds into cyber security roles.

Cyber Discovery, our extra-curricular programme for students aged 14-18, teaches cyber skills in innovative, game-based and challenging ways. It inspired over 20,000 young people in its pilot year to test their skills and explore future jobs in the industry. Registration for year two of the programme, which launches in November, is now open.

The CyberFirst programme, a girls-only competition to inspire and encourage more females into the profession, attracted hundreds of students. DCMS will also be supporting Europe’s biggest cyber security careers show, Cyber Re:Coded, designed to show young people what a job in cyber security looks like and connect them with with future employers.

Over the course of this month, the Government has been saying more about our work on cyber security and how we’re helping the public and industry. To see what we’ve been up to, follow DCMS or myself on Twitter.