SECURING THE SUPPLY CHAIN – THRIVING BUSINESS AT THIS YEAR’S Infosecurity Europe
By Yvonne Headington
Providing the Keynote address at this year’s Infosecurity Europe, Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith was heartened to see the cyber security sector ‘thriving.’ Over 12,000 delegates visited the three-day exhibition at London’s Earls Court (23 to 25 April 2013) which profiled some 320 exhibitors from 15 countries.
Chloe Smith noted that there are about 2,380 companies in the UK cyber security sector supporting over 26,000 jobs and exports worth some £800m. “Cyber security global growth is forecast, over the next four years, to be over twice that of the security sector as a whole – as economic constraints bite in traditional Defence and security markets,” said the Minister. “So it is clear that this is a growth sector and one which we should encourage and nurture.”
As part of the National Cyber Security Programme, the Government is supporting measures to enhance skills, education and growth within the sector. Initiatives include a Cyber Growth Partnership led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) with Intellect (the UK industry association for the information, communications and technology (ICT) sector). The Partnership, announced in December 2012, is currently looking at ways in which cyber security suppliers to the UK Government can use this endorsement to promote export products and services. CESG (the information security arm of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)) has also established a CESG Certified Professional programme in order to assist with the recruitment and career of those working in Information Assurance (IA).
In order to promote ‘real-time’ sharing of information and intelligence on threats to companies, a Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) between Government and Industry was launched in March 2013. The scheme includes a Fusion Cell bringing together experts from the security services, law enforcement agencies and industry. The CISP currently addresses Critical National Infrastructure issues (CNI) but it is planned to extend the facilities to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Small Business Focus
David Willets, BIS Minister for Universities and Science, released the results of the Government’s 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey during the first day of the exhibition. The survey, conducted by Infosecurity Europe and analysed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, reveals that 93% of large businesses experienced a security breach during the past year. Significantly 87% of small businesses recorded a security breach, up from 76% reported in 2012. The Government is responding to this trend by extending its Innovation Voucher Scheme for small firms to include a cyber security element.
The Innovation Voucher Scheme, delivered through the Technology Strategy Board, was launched in September 2012. The scheme provides companies with a grant to cover investment in challenging ideas or problems (such as protection from cyber threats) for which specialist support is required. The cyber security part of the scheme is to fund 100 companies with Innovation Vouchers worth up to £5,000 each.
Defence Industrial Base
As outlined in the 2011 UK Cyber Security Strategy: ‘Cyberspace has now grown to become a domain where strategic advantage – industrial or military – can be won or lost. It underpins the complex systems used by commerce….and the military.’ As a consequence, the Government is raising the standard of cyber security required from suppliers for ‘sensitive’ Defence equipment. But in evidence to the House of Commons Defence Committee’s Inquiry on Defence and Cyber-Security, the MoD’s Chief Information Office confirmed that he was not convinced that, “we have got this quite right yet.”
The Defence Committee reported in January 2013 that much remained to be done within the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on securing its supply c