UK Government Vows to Invest More in IT Security Skills and R&D

UK Government IT Security skils

The UK Government has announced plans to provide more funding to address the IT security skills crisis and improve hardware and IoT security. 

The UK Government has announced it will make an investment of £70 million via the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to fund R&D into more secure-by-design hardware and chips.

It is the government’s ambition that the UK will become a world leader in “designing out” cyber threats, this funding is meant to help achieve that goal. In addition, there will be further investment from industry, however, no details on this were provided.

To improve IoT security, a further £30m will be made available for the Ensuring of the Security of Digital Technology at the Priphery program.

“We want the UK to be a safer place to live and work online. We’re moving the burden away from consumers to manufacturers, so strong cybersecurity is built into the design of products,” said digital minister, Margot James.

“This funding will help us work with industry to do just that, improving the strength and resilience of hardware to better protect consumers from cyber-attacks.”

However, leading industry figures have expressed some scepticism at the announcement. Joseph Carson, chief security scientist at Thycotic, said: “The announcement that the UK will become a leader in cybersecurity resulting from a small investment in research is highly unlikely as hardware and research alone is not going to solve cybersecurity threats.”

“The solution to reducing cybersecurity threats is a balance between both technology and people. If we are really going to reduce the threats then it needs to start with an investment in education along with a strong investment in technology that is simple, easy to use and does not require a highly skilled workforce to use it.”

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The government also announced that it had earmarked £500,000 as part of the next round of Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund, to help improve diversity and to address the skills shortage in the information security sector. Other projects that are to receive funding include Crucial Academy, which aims to retrain veterans: focusing on women, neurodiverse and BAME individuals.

QA: Cyber Software Academy for Women and BluescreenIT’s HACKED program, which helps to train candidates with special needs, from disadvantaged backgrounds, and those classed as neurodiverse are also set to benefit from funding.

Sarah Armstrong-Smith, head of continuity and resilience at Fujitsu UK, said: “With cyber-criminals becoming more creative and savvy in their approach to cyber-attacks, a cybersecurity team which lacks diversity is more likely to leave a company vulnerable to attacks.

“Different groups of people bring a variety of ideas and ways of thinking, which means that a more diverse and inclusive cybersecurity team will be key in facilitating a broader range of ideas and perspectives about how to prevent an attack from taking place.”

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