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UK Cyber Security Council set to be official governing body on training and standards

10 February 2021

THE DEPARTMENT for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)-funded UK Cyber Security Council will provide a single governing voice for the cyber industry to establish the knowledge, skills and experience required for a range of cyber security jobs, bringing it into line with other professions such as the law, medicine and engineering.

The UK Cyber Security Council will boost skilled job prospects around the country by giving budding and existing workers a clear roadmap for building a career in the cyber security sector and focus squarely on increasing the number and diversity of people entering the profession.

The body will work with training providers to accredit courses and qualifications and also afford employers the information and confidence they need to recruit effectively in order to ensure their cyber capability.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman announced the new body on Safer Internet Day. Each year, this dedicated awareness event promotes the more responsible use of online technology around the world. In 2021, it comes as the £8.3 billion cyber security sector continues to grow despite the COVID-19 pandemic. With it, so does the demand for more talent, and particularly so from underrepresented groups.

Warman commented: “The fact that we’re launching an independent professional body for cyber security shows just how vital this area has become. It makes a huge contribution to our thriving digital economy by safeguarding the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure, commerce and other online spaces.”

He added: “The UK Cyber Security Council will ensure that anyone interested in an exciting career tackling online threats has access to world-class training and guidance. It will also champion diversity and inclusion, driving up standards while at the same time helping the nation to build back better and safer in the wake of the pandemic.”

Public consultation

This latest move from the Government follows on from feedback received as the result of a 2018 DCMS public consultation process looking at the issues facing the profession, which showed overwhelming support for a new body.

Working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the UK Cyber Security Council will strongly support the Government’s £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy, itself designed to make the UK the safest place in which to live and work online.

Chris Ensor, the NCSC’s deputy director for cyber growth, observed: “Cyber security is a growing industry in the UK. In terms of high standards of practice and technical expertise, it’s vital that digital security is at the very heart of the profession as it develops.”

Ensor added: “We look forward to working with the UK Cyber Security Council to help ensure that future generations of cyber security professionals have the skills and support they need to thrive and make the UK the safest place in which to live and work online.”

Board of Trustees

The UK Cyber Security Council has appointed its inaugural Board of Trustees, the constituent members of which will guide the organisation as it establishes itself over the coming years.

Chair of the Board is Dr Claudia Natanson, a cyber security expert who was previously CSO at DWP, managing director at BT’s Secure Business Service and CISO for Diageo plc.

Vice-chair is Jessica Figueras. Figueras is a tech market strategist, chair of the NCT and a former chief analyst at GlobalData.

Carla Baker (senior director for policy and Government affairs in the UK and Ireland at Palo Alto Networks) is a trustee, with Mike Watson (CFO at Marston Holdings and former member of staff at Dell, HP and BAE Systems’ cyber security divisions) takes on the role of treasurer.

Dr Natanson explained: “Having spent many years in the cyber security arena, I’m very aware of the excellent work done by many varied organisations, but I’m also conscious that the time for an umbrella organisation has come in order to drive the profession forward in a unified way.”

In conclusion, Dr Natanson said: “It’s a privilege and a challenge to be part of the leadership of the UK Cyber Security Council knowing that the future security and prosperity of the UK depends at least in part on the body succeeding in its mission to develop the profession.”

The UK Cyber Security Council will be formally launched on Wednesday 31 March.