Initiatives to digitally transform the UK government are happening across the board. The NHS, for example, is preparing to become paperless by 2020 and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been granted £1.3 billion in funding to initiate digital transformation. Meanwhile, the Department for Work and Pensions is investing heavily in big data technologies to drive automation, identify errors and tackle fraud.
Yet, while these innovative programmes undoubtedly have their benefits, they do unfortunately make the government an increasingly attractive target for a growing number of malicious hackers who seek to put national security at risk.
Recent data revealed that the UK government suffered 188 cyber-attacks in the last three months of 2016. A significant number of these attacks were designed to hack into government cloud systems to compromise data and disrupt public services. The threat of attack is clearly real - and growing.
So as more organisations – both public and private – digitise, the practicing of cyber security best practices needs to be at front of mind.
A collaborative approach
It has never been more important for the private and public sector to work together to raise awareness of cyber security. And that’s why we are fully supporting the launch of the new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). We believe this is a major boost for businesses in terms of support, training and resources for those who may well feel overwhelmed by the threat of cyber-attacks.
In fact, our recent research revealed that the majority of UK businesses (55%) want the government to offer much, or a bit more, support with regard to resources to tackling cyber threats and the steps needed to become compliant with impending regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The NCSC sets out to do just this, and the organisation has received significant backing from the cyber security industry. Yet, our research has shown that 41 percent of UK businesses have never heard of the NCSC. Therefore, more needs to be done to educate the private sector on the role of this important organisation.
At CyberUK this week, we will be discussing how cyber security companies should do more to promote the capabilities of the NCSC to businesses and to act as a bridge between the two.
We are calling for the public and private sector to work together to raise awareness of cyber threats to organisations across both sectors, and promote education around how best to prevent and manage the growing number of threats. In this ever more precarious threat landscape, there needs to be a proactive approach to cyber security defences and more joined up thinking if we are to stand a chance in the fight against cybercrime.