Cyber attacks against Ashley Madison, eBay and Yahoo revealed that no organisation is safe against data breaches. Fortunately, the government has acknowledged the risk to businesses and has unveiled its new National Cyber Security Strategy to keep these shores safe against cybercriminals.
The strategy will be funded by a £1.9bn investment until the end of 2020 and will be spent on training and infrastructure to safeguard Britain against attacks from both organised criminals and foreign powers. Additionally, the government will allocate money to recruit more than 50 specialists to the cybercrime unit at the National Crime Agency to tackle organised gangs and make hi-tech crime more expensive – and therefore less attractive. The strategy also sees the creation of the Cyber Security Research Institute, a virtual network of British universities that will collaborate to find ways of upping the security of connected devices like smartphones, laptops and tablets.
Security-based startups will also get help via an innovation fund that will commercialise work on novel security solutions.
Speaking at Microsoft’s The Future Decoded conference, where he presented the new strategy, chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond said: “If we want Britain to be the best place in the world to be a tech business then it is also crucial that Britain is a safe place to do the digital business.”
While the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed the government’s scheme, the organisation called for a more proactive approach from the country’s leaders to keep SMEs safe and help them build up their resilience against cyber threats. “It’s an absolute necessity for businesses and government to work together to increase the resilience of the small business community to help them get back on their feet after an attack,” said Mike Cherry, national chairman at the FSB.
Given that a survey by the FSB of its members found that cybercrime costs SMEs £5.26bn each year and that the National Crime Agency has revealed that the number of reported data breaches nearly doubled in 2016, the strategy hasn’t come a minute too soon.