The UK’s new National Cyber Security Strategy was announced on Tuesday by Chancellor Philip Hammond, a £1.9 billion investment plan over the next five years with the goal of making the UK the safest place to do business.

This new investment is certainly groundbreaking, and nearly doubles the amount of money invested in the previous strategy. This strategy is set out to protect the government, but also protect the wider UK digital economy, since cyber-attacks would directly impact confidence in the latter.

The plan was announced at a Microsoft event in London where Hammond said the UK will be building partnerships with both private and public organizations, including Microsoft, to develop technology to fight back against cyber-attacks.

Cindy Rose, the UK CEO of Microsoft said, “The mobile first, cloud first world holds enormous potential for organizations and individuals to generate new and exciting growth opportunities. However, there is a corresponding risk that as people increase their technology usage they also increase their exposure to cyber security threats. It is critical for all organizations to strengthen their core security hygiene as well as creating a pervasive security culture through education and awareness. The Chancellor’s announcement is the kind of initiative that the UK needs to protect British citizens from the growing threats we face. We welcome the government's focus on tackling this significant issue which affects business and individuals alike.”

There are three key areas the government will be targeting:

  • Defense will be about the government reorganizing its own defenses and investing in systems of large utility based industries that come under the regulatory remit such as energy and transport, as part of the Critical National Infrastructure Strategy.
  • Deter covers enhancing law enforcement's capabilities to fight cybercrime in the National Cyber Crime Unit and strengthening international relations.
  • Develop focuses on research and development and education. A new Cyber Security Research Institute will be “a virtual collection of UK universities which will look to improve the security of smartphones, tablets, and laptops through research that could one day make passwords obsolete.” In addition, a new cyber security Innovation Centre will be developed in Cheltenham and next year the UK will launch a Cyber Innovation Fund to generate funds for new technologies.

Hammond said, “Britain is already an acknowledged global leader in cyber security thanks to our investment of over £860m in the last Parliament, but we must now keep up with the scale and pace of the threats we face. Our new strategy, underpinned by £1.9 billion of support over five years and excellent partnerships with industry and academia, will allow us to take even greater steps to defend ourselves in cyberspace and to strike back when we are attacked.”

It’s vitally important that organizations and individuals alike maintain good security hygiene to protect against potential cyber-attacks. From an organization standpoint, having solutions like File Integrity Monitoring implemented in your IT environment will ensure that even if a cyber-attack proves successful, you will be notified of it in real time and be able to respond immediately.


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