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November 27, 2014updated 21 Oct 2016 5:19pm

Top Ten Things about UK cyber security

How the UK ranks, how much do breaches cost, the real skills gap and more from the IET

By Sam

1) The UK is ranked top of all the G20 countries in its ability to withstand cyber attacks.

2) Cyber security breaches cost the UK economy around £27bn per year.

3) The Government estimates that the Cyber Security sector will be worth £3.4bn in 2017, up from £2.8bn in 2013.

4) 20% of cyber security revenues currently come from exports, the Government wants total export revenue in this area to grow to £2bn.

5) There are 600 UK headquartered cyber security companies – the leading cluster is based in Malvern, Worcestershire.

6) On the publication of its Cyber Security Strategy, the Government made a commitment to spend £650m of taxpayer’s money to support the National Cyber Security Strategy, which aims to improve the cyber security skills and capability in the UK. In 2013 the Cabinet Office announced an additional £210m through to 2016 so that the UK could make faster progress in protecting its cyber assets.

7) This year IBM said it had developed a partnership of 200 universities across the world to help fill the cyber skills gap.

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8) BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, is offering a ‘military grade’ security solution, primarily aimed at enabling operators of critical infrastructure – such as power and oil pipelines networks and automated manufacturing plants – to protect their assets and in particular their industrial control systems. The Internet of Things describes the way machines and devices connect to each other in order to share information and manage performance. This connectivity, without the need for constant human control and interface, is transforming the way we manage our homes, factories and even human bodies. In medicine, connected devices allow the remote monitoring of blood pressure or heart rate. Devices which monitor heat, humidity, pollution and climate allow more effective management of buildings and environmental spaces – and will be critical to the development of smart grids.

9) While demand for cyber skills is set to grow by 13% per year between 2013 and 2017, according to a 2013 study for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, there is already a shortage of people with the knowledge and expertise required by industry and the public sector.

10) According to the National Audit Office, this gap could take 20 years to fill.

Source: The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Chris Sullivan, VP Advanced Solutions at Courion which looks at how organisations can address the shortage of cyber security skills with a better use of technology.
"To put the scale of this problem in perspective, try feeling that one pound coin in your pocket. You would need a stack of them 2,000 miles high to cover annual cyber security losses. Now that’s hard to imagine but I wouldn’t recommend trying it to see because the international space station might crash into it before you got even 1/10th that high.
Of course you can, you should and you must train people to help cope, but it is also important to leverage intelligent tools to automate security and assurance tasks to improve speed, accuracy and efficiency (remember, it’s a big and complex problem). A fundamental step in this direction is to continuously mine for and eradicate excessive access. Excessive access comes in many forms like privileged, orphaned and abandoned accounts that are consistently leveraged by our adversaries. Managing these down will reduce your complexity and your threat surface and ease administrative overhead."

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