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UK Government Enhances Cyber Security Measures

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At IA14 last week, the British government's main event for discussing Cyber Security and Information Assurance, implementing stronger cyber security measures was explained as being an opportunity for economic growth.

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said that "[cyber security] is a growth business in its own right and can be a strength for the UK."

He also advised that "cyberspace is simply too big for any organization to have sight on everything that's going on and so there is a massive need to pool our information for mutual benefit."

This comes at a time when the UK government is preparing to collaborate with The Open University to offer a course on cyber security, bringing real-time data and progressive strategies to 200,000 potential students.

"At the moment we are working very hard to develop a pipeline of cyber talent," says Natalie Black, deputy director of Cyber Defense and Indictment Management for the Cabinet Office."

She illustrates the importance of working together "through industry and academia" in order to prepare the workforce to better combat cyber-crime.

The UK government has invested 860m over a five-year period; an endeavor reviewed by Francis Maude during his IA14 discussion, in which he drew attention to initiatives such as the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-UK) - a first for the nation - and the Cyber Essentials Scheme (CES), which was initiated on June 5th.

Bletchley Park, the once-clandestine base of operations for code breakers during World War II, has been taking its own steps in teaching British citizens about online safety: it signed a five year deal with McAfee to provide workshops for children late last year.

A representative of McAfee expressed that the effort will "engage, inspire and educate visitors about the ever-evolving cyber threats."

As the UK persists as one of the world's fastest-growing economies, informing its citizens and companies about cyber security solutions is a crucial step in remaining at the forefront of progress and growth. It has pioneered new highly sophisticated telecoms technology by UK MPLS providers in its commitment to the digital economy.

The Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (OCSIA) states that "the internet-related market in the UK is now estimated to be worth 82 billion a year while British businesses earn 1 in every 5 from the internet." With "81% of large corporations and 60% of small businesses [reporting] a cyber breach in 2013", defense against these types of crimes is now more important than ever.

The key to preventing cyber attacks, however, may come from private sector organizations, as opposed to government agencies.

"One of the mistakes government agencies make is trying to protect all their digital assets all the time and this approach is unlikely to produce any meaningful results", explains Mark Brown, Ernst & Young head of cyber security assurance for the UK and Ireland.

"Private sector organizations focus on the most critical 5% of their data and streamline security controls, reducing their operational burden," he said.

This focus on cyber security comes at a time when the UK government is planning to more than double the nation's exports of products and services to 2bn by 2016. In order to continue its financial growth, the UK will need to prevent as many breaches in cyber security as possible, and offering courses and workshops are the best way to start.

Khurram Aziz is a freelance writer and entrepreneur with over 10 years' experience in publishing. Please feel free to add him on Twitter @khurramaziz1981. Read more stories by Khurram Aziz.

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