The government has launched a UK Cyber Security Council to serve as the governing body for training and professional standards.
Funded by DCMS, the government said the new body will bring the booming sector in line with other professions such as law, medicine and engineering.
The council will boost skilled job prospects around the country by giving budding and existing workers a clear roadmap for building a career in cyber security and focus on increasing the number and diversity of people entering the profession.
The body will work with training providers to accredit courses and qualifications, and give employers the information and confidence they need to recruit effectively to ensure their cyber capability.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman makes the announcement on Safer Internet Day, which promotes more responsible use of online technology around the world and comes as the £8.3 billion cyber security sector continues to grow despite the pandemic and with it the demand for more talent, particularly from underrepresented groups.
“The fact we are launching an independent professional body for cyber security shows just how vital this area has become – it makes a huge contribution to our thriving digital economy by safeguarding our critical national infrastructure, commerce and other online spaces,” he said.
“The UK Cyber Security Council will ensure anyone interested in an exciting career tackling online threats has access to world-class training and guidance. It will also champion diversity and inclusion, driving up standards while helping the nation to build back better and safer.”
Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET, welcomed the move.
“The UK Cyber Security Council sounds like it has the potential to make a real impact in helping the country understand the threats and risks they face when engaging in online activity – and, crucially, what to do to mitigate these,” he said.
“Any extra awareness goes a long way, especially when it comes from a trusted source. The real proof of the council’s efficacy will be in its longevity, as unfortunately initiatives like this can fall apart just as quickly as they are created when they lose focus or momentum.
“If it can remain relevant and up-to-date moving forwards, the Council could make a lasting change to cybersecurity in the UK.”
The launch comes after a feedback from a 2018 DCMS public consultation looking at the issues facing the profession, which showed overwhelming support for a new body.
Working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the council will strongly support the Government’s £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy aimed at making the UK the safest place to live and work online.
Chris Ensor, the NCSC’s Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, said: “Cyber security is a growing industry in the UK and it’s vital for high standards of practice and technical expertise to be at the heart of the profession as it develops.
“We look forward to working with the Council to help ensure that future generations of cyber security professionals have the skills and support they need to thrive and make the UK the safest place to live and work online.”
The council has appointed its inaugural Board of Trustees to guide the organisation as it establishes itself over the coming years.
This includes chair Dr. Claudia Natanson, a global cyber security expert who was previously CSO at DWP, MD at BT Secure Business Service and CISO at Diageo Plc.
Vice-Chair Jessica Figueras is a tech market strategist and chair of NCT, previously chief analyst at GlobalData.
Dr. Natanson said: “Having spent many years in cybersecurity, I’m very aware of the excellent work done by many varied organisations – but I’m also conscious that the time for an umbrella organisation has come in order to drive the profession forward in a unified way.
“It’s a privilege and a challenge to be part of the leadership of the Council, knowing that the future security and prosperity of the UK depends in part on the Council succeeding in its mission to develop the profession.”
The Council will be formally launched on March 31.