In the wake of Brexit, it seems like there has never been a more important time to attract businesses to the UK. There are still plenty of reasons for multinationals to set up shop here. While it has experienced setbacks in recent times, London has retained its status as one of the world's financial hubs. We also have the fifth largest economy in the world according to GDP (Nominal), and despite the current uncertainty, there are still solid strategic reasons for companies basing themselves in the UK.
Up until recently, however, foreign companies may have been put off coming to the UK by the lack of measures taken to tackle cyber security risks in the private sector. Only last year, more than 60 per cent of businesses in the UK had experienced a cyber attack, with nearly a quarter being breached once a month or more. With a population that engages in more e-commerce per head than any other, it is high time that the problem was tackled by the government, and thankfully, it appears they are doing so.
Closing the gap
Perhaps predictably, the UK government concentrated on addressing cyber security worries in public organisations first, before moving on to focus on a private sector in need of some assistance. In the National Security Strategy of 2015, they introduced new approaches to tackling cyber threats and underlined their significance as a growing problem. The National Cyber Security Centre was set up to be the hub of this kind of activity and has performed some of the duties previously undertaken by the Centre for Cyber Assessment, GCHQ's Information Security arm, and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure.
Time for action
With the National Cyber Security Centre taking the lead, attention has now been given to tightening up cyber security across the board, and the investment of £1.9 billion over a five-year period has been announced as part of the National Cyber Security Programme. It is this kind of initiative which IT support London, and the rest of the country, needs. It can convince overseas firms that they are not putting themselves at significant risk of cyber attacks by setting up a UK presence - no more than any other European country, in any case.
The National Cyber Security Centre is a way of the government showing its support for UK businesses with more than just words - it acts as a support base which can offer advice and assistance. While the Centre is not charged with the responsibility of protecting companies in the UK directly from threats, this sounding board can be seen as a welcome addition and allows UK companies to educate themselves more effectively, before entering into dialogue with an IT support provider. This has a welcome benefit for all parties - the saving of time and money for both IT support experts and their customers, thanks to the basic knowledge of cyber security threats which companies can gain from the Centre and related initiatives.
Progress picking up pace
The awareness campaigns as part of the National Cyber Security Programme appear to be making an impact. Recent research shows that two-thirds of senior managers have placed cyber security as a priority. This only looks set to grow as the practicalities of the digital business era are made all the more important.
The next generation
The only way for the UK to develop and maintain a position as a 'cyber safe' nation for business is to ensure the next generation of computer users are brought up with good habits. Government initiatives are now making cyber security part of education in primary schools. Security is fast becoming accepted as a basic computer skill, much like using a word processor or operating a Windows desktop.
But what about the top of the pile? Where will the British cyber security experts of IT services come from in years to come? Thankfully, much has been done to encourage talent development at secondary education level, with coding now being taught in schools. This is alongside initiatives for girls to develop an interest in IT, sponsorship programmes for the most promising youths, and more advanced cyber research techniques being introduced to young people. Both universities and schools in the UK now offer an Extended Project Qualification in cyber security.
The government has now made its intentions known to support cyber start-ups and is throwing financial support behind cyber security innovators. A GCHQ Cyber Accelerator was set up in January, giving seven cyber security start-ups the chance to enhance their expertise and enjoy support. Recently, the first of these companies 'graduated' from the three-month programme, and another extended version is currently in the offing.
Britain's cyber space appears to be a lot more secure than it was two to three years ago, and this can only be good for business. But if you'd like to know more about how you can make your IT more robust, contact the experts at HTL Support. We can help future-proof your tech with IT support services prepared for the latest cyber risks.